Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [25th June],
That, in the opinion of this House, the operation of "The Criminal Law and Procedure
(Ireland) Act, 1887,' and the manner of its administration, undermine respect for Law, estrange the minds of the people of Ireland, and are deeply injurious to the interests of the United Kingdom."—(Mr. John Morley.)
§ Question again proposed.
§ Debate resumed.
§ MR. W. O'BRIEN (Cork Co., N.H.)
Sir, I hope the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) who registered that terrible vow to place his heel on our necks, will not be offended with me if I say that the speech we listened to last night seems to me not to demand any very protracted attention except from persons in search of amusement. Whatever else may be said of the Irish Question, I think we are pretty well agreed on both sides of the House now that it is no laughing matter any way. The hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) did deliver a very clever speech, a highly artful composition, and I am sorry to have to think that the hon. Member was engaged in not uncongenial work in attacking an absent man and in fixing, or in attempting to fix, the stigma of successful villany upon the name and upon the work of John Dillon. The hon. Member had one other characteristic, and that is that somehow or other he always attacks the Tory Government when he can do them no harm, and always comes to their rescue whenever his services are of the smallest value. The hon. Member's speech last night was stuffed with two topics. He abused the Plan of Campaign, of course, and he trotted out once more the two stock horrors from the County of Kerry, which had already done duty in the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and in the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Armagh. Why two alone? It seems that nobody can exceed that number even in the County of Kerry. I claim that we on these Benches are at least as honestly disgusted with these abominable things in Kerry as Gentlemen opposite or the hon. Member for South Tyrone. I confess that it sometimes strikes me that the Unionist orators seen to be not at all disinclined to dabble their sleek hands in the blood of those miserable creatures in Kerry. When I saw the crocodile tears shed over Norah Fitzumurice by the hon. Gentleman and by hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House, 1292 I could not help thinking of the thousands and hundreds of thousands of Norah Fitzmaurices whom Irish landlordism has flung out to die on the roadside or to meet perhaps a worse fate in the streets of New York, without one word of protest or one tear for their fate from hon. Gentlemen opposite. Is it candid, is it honest for the Member for Tyrone to mention the Plan of Campaign, and these crimes in Kerry in the same breadth, as if there were some connection between them? The hon. Member knows as well as I do that there was no more connection between the two things—[Cries of "Oh!"]—yes, I repeat there is no more connection between the two things than there is between the proceedings of this Parliament and a murder in the New Cut. Hon. Members opposite may jeer who can do nothing else. I tell them that they will not conceal from the English people the fact that the one county in Ireland from which they can produce even their two horrors, to work upon English feeling, is the one county in Ireland where the Plan of Campaign has never started. Let them jeer as they like. I tell them that the County of Kerry is the one county where the influence of the National League has at all times been weakest and most paralyzed. Not one great public meeting has been held in that county for years. Not one prominent Member of the Irish Party has set foot in Kerry for years past. Kerry has been left in the undisputed possession of the Moonlighters and Her Majesty's Government, and a pretty Arcadia they have made of it. Instead of our having anything to blush for in connection with the crimes, horrors, and the atrocities in Kerry, it is our highest testimony. It is the withers of Her Majesty's Government that are wrung by them and not ours. Kerry is the one county in the whole South of Ireland where the Plan of Campaign was never started, and yet it is the one county in Ireland where murder and Moonlighting are most ripe. In every part of Ireland where for the last year or two we have been carrying on our operations, we defy Her Majesty's Government to trace to us any crime or stain of blood. Yes; no campaign of ours has been stained with blood. There was the case of an armed emergency 1293 man who was superintending an eviction, helped by Her Majesty's Government, and shot down an unfortunate tenant. But Her Majesty's Government have confessed their crime, and agreed to give compensation in an action brought by the relatives of the murdered man. They confess that they were trespassers, and went there to commit a murder. If the man they killed had arms, and had known that he had the power of England at his back, he would have been perfectly justified in killing his assailants. But, Sir, I will pass from that. All this disgusting claptrap about crime in Ireland is what American politicians call the policy of the "bloody shirt," and its object is to bring war and hatred between people who desire to live at peace. Thank God, at home as well as in America that policy is seen through and discredited, and it is played out. To come to the Plan of Campaign, I should have supposed that the conscience of the hon. Member for Tyrone would have twitted him with reference to the Plan of Campaign. The hon. Member told us that the Plan of Campaign is responsible for the passing of the Crimes Act. I retort on the hon. Member that he is responsible for the passing of that Act more than any man living. If, when the Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) introduced a Bill to suspend evictions in Ireland under certain conditions in the Autumn Session of 1886, the hon. Member for Tyrone had adopted the same tone which he took a few months afterwards towards the Tory Land Bill of last Session, he and his Liberal Unionist Friends, powerless for all else, would have easily prevailed on a Tory Government to legislate that autumn, and the Plan of Campaign would never have existed. What did the hon. Member do? He scoffed at the hon. Member for Cork's statement that there was any urgent crisis to be dealt with, and in the name of the farmers of Ulster he denied there was any special emergency such as there was in 1880–81, and said that the farmers were perfectly well able to meet their engagements. A few months afterwards the hon. Member came cringing to this House, declaring that the landlords would repeal the Union as sure as fate. Let them read his hysterical letters to The Times, crying out "God help and save the unhappy 1294 people." Is that a trustworthy guide in the affairs of the farmers? He will learn better, no doubt, next Session, and the Tory Government will learn better. But it has been the Plan of Campaign that has taught them better. I think it was the hon. Member for South Tyrone and those he acted with who were directly responsible for leaving the farmers of Ireland defenceless that winter, and who, therefore, were more directly responsible even than the hitherto unsuspected author of the Plan. It was the Plan of Campaign which first taught you wisdom, and the hon. Member for South Tyrone tried last night insidiously to conceal that the men the Government are endeavouring to crush in Ireland to-day are the men who have taught them that lesson. I will dwell for a moment on the speech of the hon. Member, because he looked upon this point as one of vital importance. With all the artifice, and among all the tricks, and not very creditable tricks, of which I have to complain is the speech of the hon. Member for South Tyrone. What did the hon. Member say? In the first place he had the audacity to talk—and I noticed that right hon. Gentlemen opposite cheered enthusiastically the compliment—of the Land Courts being opened under the Act of last year by Her Majesty's Tory Government. The hon. Member knew as well as I know that they were opened in the teeth of the views and grimaces of Lord Salisbury. Then he told us that the Plan of Campaign on the Massereene Estate was indefensible, because the judicial tenants could get their abatements and the non-judicial could go into Court to have their rents fixed under the Act of last Session. I ask, again, was it honest of the hon. Member to give uninformed persons in England an impression which he knew to be diametrically opposed to the fact? He knows that not merely the Massereene dispute, but every prominent dispute that is still outstanding under the Plan of Campaign, arose before the Tory legislation of last Session, and arose out of a state of circumstances which this House and the Government had solemnly, and on the Statute Book, declared to be oppressive and indefensible. Let me dwell on this point for a moment, for I consider it to be of the utmost importance. This fallacy 1295 underlay the hon. Member's speech last night, from beginning to end, and ought to be completely and speedily demolished. What was the fact as to the Massereene dispute and all the other disputes which were outstanding and which have been enumerated? Every prominent dispute under the Plan of Campaign which the hon. Member enumerated with such glee—the Ponsonby dispute, the Massereene dispute, the Coolgreaney and Lugganstown disputes, arose before the Government legislation and because they refused to legislate. I defy the Chief Secretary—I dare say he will pick himself up to answer me in the course of the evening—I defy the Chief Secretary or any hon. Gentleman to point to any single great estate where the Plan of Campaign has been put in operation on which the tenants were free to take full and free advantage of the Act of last year. I defy him to name one. I am sorry to emphasize these things, but I feel bound to do so, and I challenge the right hon. Gentleman now to deny that; in point of fact, the Plan of Campaign is now being used, not to extort concessions in the future, but in order to secure the advantages which the House conceded last year to the general body of tenants in Ireland—to secure those advantages to the tenants on those very estates whose courage and whose self-sacrifice wrung the concession from a reluctant Tory Government, and from the sceptical Member for South Tyrone. I hold that what the right hon. Gentleman is doing in Ireland at the present moment is not dealing with crime or any widespread conspiracy against rent. There is no such thing; he is engaged in victimizing and crushing, if he can do it, a couple of dozen bodies of tenants in Ireland whose struggles have forced Lord Salisbury to swallow his views as to the finality of judicial rents. They are the object of vengeance because they are right and because they are unconquerable. Whatever ridiculous and vague abuse may be showered upon the Plan of Campaign by persons who know nothing of its operations— and if the Plan of Campaign were crushed out of existence to-morrow morning I defy anyone to point out what the right hon. Gentleman would have succeeded in doing except to ruin and exterminate this couple of dozen of bodies of Irish 1296 tenants, whose courage and self-sacrifice won the Act of last Session. What all the detestable cant about the crimes of Irish Members and the successful villany of John Dillon comes to is this—that they have refused to desert those men, and that they have declared that, so long as they live, they will not stand by and see them struck down and ruined or offered up victims as a holocaust to the vindictive feelings of the landlords because they won the Act of last Session, and because the Plan of Campaign has proved too much for them. That is the work, the brave work, that the right hon. Gentleman is engaged upon in Ireland, and for doing which he is lauded as the modern Quintius Curtius. It is at the bidding of the Irish landlords that the right hon. Gentleman is engaged in crushing out of existence poor unarmed Irish tenants because they have shown themselves to be more than a match for him. That is the tremendous task which the right hon. Gentleman's soldiers and police and removable magistrates are engaged in, and it is a task which, up to this hour, they have most absolutely failed in accomplishing—so resolutely and ignominiously failed in accomplishing that the right hon. Gentleman, or his agents, have been obliged to skulk over to Rome to invoke the good offices of the Holy Inquisition to strengthen the Imperial arm of England. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer asked me last night whether there would be any Plan of Campaign under an Irish Parliament, and I venture to tell him that there would not, and I will go a little further and make bold enough to say, that if, when the Tory Government found it necessary to pass the Act of last Session, they had honestly insisted that the Campaigners should be entitled to the benefits of that Act instead of excluding them from the pale of the law, the Plan of Campaign would have disappeared long ago. But instead of taking that course, the right hon. Gentleman preferred to show an iron hand, to hunt down like wild beasts those tenants who had been too much for him in playing Quintius Curtius, and for the landlords, and to lend himself to abominable methods of government as impotent as they are cruel. I am in a position now to repeat my challenge to the right hon. Gentleman four months 1297 ago, to point out one single instance where he has conquered the Plan of Campaign with all his bayonets and all his plank beds. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his forlorn hope speech of last night, ventured upon a half-hearted hint that the Plan of Campaign has broken down on the Massereene estate. But if that is the case, what is the meaning of the 25 writs of ejectment, which have been issued by Lord Massereene during the last few days, and of the Rob Roy Macgregor raids which have been made upon the tenants' cattle. The hon. Member for South Tyrone, who held a better brief, did not venture to follow the right hon. Gentleman to that extent. He was content with taking up the more modest position that the Plan had not yet, and he appeared to derive some consolation from the fact, actually succeeded in every single instance. The fact is that the Plan has only succeeded in 19 cases out of every 20. The hon. Member, however, did not point out that the landlords have not succeeded in crushing down the Plan in any single instance. The hon. Member has expressed great sympathy for the sufferings of the tenants who have entered upon the Plan of Campaign. I may console the hon. Member by telling him that the Plan is getting on, and that its supporters may use with regard to it the famous Italian phrase, which used to be so popular among the "No Popery" Party in England, "Epure si muove." Let me mention this. Even since Mr Dillon's imprisonment last week rents have been reduced under the operation of the Plan of Campaign from 6s. to 9s. in the pound in Roscommon and in Galway, while obnoxious agents, such as Mr. Kendal, who acted in a merciless manner, have been dismissed. As the hon. Member has wasted so much compassion upon the tenants who have been evicted it may soothe his feelings to learn that after nearly two years' operation there have only been 280 tenants evicted upon Campaign estates out of more than 60,000 who have fought and won under the banner of the Plan of Campaign, that every one of those 280 evicted tenants is now in a comfortable home, and that everyone of them will yet go back in triumph to their old homes before the landlords have done with their successful villany. I de- 1298 sire to refer briefly to the facts of the Massereene estate. The hon. Member for South Tyrone had the hardihood last night to describe the occupiers on that estate as quite a thriving lot of tenants. Sir, the hon. Member on one occasion described the harvest of 1886 as a beautiful one, and yet, within a couple of months afterwards, he came down to this House to complain of the action of the landlords in enforcing their claims for rent and threatened to break down the union. I admire the hon. Member's courage in running away much more than I do his antics as the jumping cat in politics. There is only one intelligible theory with regard to the hon. Member's oscillations and gyrations on the Irish Land Question, and it is that while be always abuses the landlord in safe generalities, he invariably betrays the tenants when the question is a practical one. The question before the House is—Are the Massereene tenants right or wrong—is their claim to a reduction of rent an honest or a dishonest one? I must apologize for referring to the subject after the clear and lucid statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Shaw Lefevre), who went over and investigated the facts on the spot. The Irish people will always hold the courage of the right hon. Gentleman in grateful remembrance. The evidence I have on the subject is a triumphant vindication of the honesty of the tenants and of my hon. Friend John Dillon. Lord Massereene has dismissed his agent for proposing that the rents upon his estates should be reduced, and he then placed himself body and soul in the hands of a firm of Orange emergency solicitors, who added to their business of solicitors the business of common bailiffs. But even those persons informed Lord Massereene that he was wrong in refusing to make the abatement proposed by his agent, and that the tenants were right in insisting upon demanding it. The hon. Member for South Tyrone told the House yesterday that Lord Massereene is now willing to make reductions all round upon the scale of the reductions which are being made in the Land Court.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
said, that what he had stated yesterday was that Lord Massereene was now dealing with the arrears upon his estate 1299 upon the same scale as the Commissioners were dealing with the rents.
§ MR. W. O'BRIEN
I will come to that point of the arrears presently, and probably in a way the hon. Member may not anticipate. What I am dealing with now is the undoubted fact that Lord Massereene has now agreed to give abatements on the scale of those given by a Land Commission appointed, picked, and packed by a Tory Government for the express purpose of discrediting the Plan of Campaign on the Massereene property. Those Commissioners found themselves obliged to award reductions of rent at least equal to, and, in some cases, greater than, those the tenants were asking for under the Plan of Campaign. Here, then, we have the landlord, the agent, and the Land Commissioners vindicating the tenants. In face of facts like these, how can any man have the hardihood to talk to the Irish Representatives of dishonesty or immorality, or affect to treat as an injured innocent this degraded lord, against whom Sir Redvers Buller—I challenge that officer to deny it—was obliged to warn the Castle officials as a drunken and disreputable sot? "These be your gods, O Israel." These are the cherubim and seraphim from whom the Irish Representatives and Irish people are asked to learn morality. Those are the men whom the Government honour while they put a felon's garb on John Dillon. The hon. Member for South Tyrone is anxious that I should attack the question of Lord Massereene's offer as to arrears. Certainly it was one of the crafty devices by which the hon. Gentleman sought to delude the House and evade the real question. The hon. Gentleman spoke last night as if Lord Massereene's present offer as to arrears was a matter antecedent to the Plan of Campaign. Why has Lord Massereene agreed to score out the arrears? Because the Plan of Campaign has taught him wisdom. What are the terms of that settlement? Lord Massereene is, indeed, now willing to make the abatement which he refused point blank to make when the Plan of Campaign was adopted on his estate. He is only willing, however, to make it on condition that the unfortunate tenants, whose demand he now acknowledges to be just, should be crushed to the earth with law costs that 1300 were incurred in teaching him to be honest. But, worst and most cruel of all, he insisted, and now insists absolutely as a term of settlement, that a certain list of prescribed men—whom, as it were, he sets out in a schedule—shoud be exempted from all the benefits of the settlement. What is the meaning of that? The settlement is the price Lord Massereene is prepared to pay in order to get these particular men into his power—to ruin them, to make examples of them, to root them out, and to evict them. Why? Because they are what he calls the ringleaders—that is to say, because they are the bravest and most self-sacrificing tenants, who risked everything in order to stand by their poorer brother tenants, and to compel Lord Massereene to do through the Court what he had refused to do under the Plan of Campaign. The object is to visit vengeance upon these men, to drive them away, and to terrorize every weak creature in the country-side; to cause these men to desert their poorer neighbours, in order that the Chief Secretary may be able to brag of one victory over the Plan of Campaign. This is the plot which John Dillon frustrated by his speech at Tullyallen; and and I think that Mr. Dillon might safely stake, not only his liberty, but his life, upon the verdict of any 12 Englishmen as to whether all this villany—luckily unsuccessful villany—and all the injustice of the landlords and the officials who concocted the plot, were not worthily baffled by the man who infused his own brave and indomitable spirit into the campaigners. I am sorry that I should have occupied the time of the House so long, and that I should have spoken with so much heat; but as long as my voice can be heard, neither John Dillon nor the Plan of Campaign will lack a defender. All the proceedings of the Chief Secretary in Ireland, as enumerated by the right hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley), in his speech last night, remains to this hour unanswered and unanswerable in every particular. It now becomes a matter for the attention of Englishmen, Scotch-men, and Welshmen, rather than of Irishmen, to say how they like the policy of the Chief Secretary in Ireland—to say whether they are proud of the policy, the black vans, the bread-and-water diet of the Representatives of the Irish 1301 people. They have now to say whether they are satisfied with the results of the right hon. Gentleman's system of government by gibes and gendarme Judges, and with his candid and ingenious method of answering plain questions. Judging by the honest and hearty words uttered by the hon. Member for the Ayr Burghs (Mr. J. Sinclair), I am inclined to think that the Scottish people are not quite satisfied. I doubt very much whether the right hon. Gentleman is altogether satisfied himself, or whether he is as self-satisfied as the House could remember him to be once upon a time. I confess that when the Chief Secretary took the extraordinary course last night of entrusting the reply to the damning indictment of the right hon. Member for Newcastle to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, I could not help thinking of Achilles bestriding the prostrate form of Patroclus. Achilles was not in particularly good form last night. He was happy to think that Patroclus would revive that evening. No doubt he had made a last and gallant rally for this debate; but he thought the most devoted admirer of the right hon. Gentleman would own that he was not altogether the sort of man he used to be when he first took up the Crimes Act, and when he used to make those brilliant sarcasms at the expense of the Irish Members and the Irish people. There is one infallible test as to what is thought of the right hon. Gentleman's success in a quarter best qualified to judge—the Irish landlord party. The other day The Dublin Daily Express got hold of a rumour that the right hon. Gentleman was going to resign. The Dublin Daily Express instantly jumped to the conclusion that the rumour must be true, and forthwith preached a handsome funeral oration over the right hon. Gentleman's body. When the news reached Castlerea, where a Crimes Court was sitting, one of the removable magistrates, Mr. Beckett, immediately said to the Crown Prosecutor—"Mr. Burke, do you propose to proceed any further? "Mr. Beckett was one of the gentlemen of whose legal competency the Lord Lieutenant is sufficiently satisfied. Mr. Beckett thought it was high time to "hedge." He evidently has his doubts about the promised 20 years of resolute Government. The Chancellor of the Exche- 1302 quer has advised the friends of the Government not altogether to despair, but Mr. Becket is evidently not even so sanguine a man as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. There is one subject to which I must allude, though it can only be one of pain, and perhaps I have said more than I ought to have said on the subject; but I cannot altogether forget that it is not so long ago that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary roused the merriment of the Tory Gentlemen of England by delicate allusions to the weak hearts and sensitive nerves of some of us. I might possibly retort that, on the whole, our hearts and nerves have stood the strain as well as those of the right hon. Gentleman. At all events, I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman can altogether conceal his own feelings in this matter. I congratulate him, at any rate, upon this—that he has learnt at last that the government of Ireland is, at all events, a serious matter. I desire to speak in no vindictive spirit of the right hon. Gentleman; because, unfortunately, we have seen too many Chief Secretaries for Ireland pass along that same miserable path, and my feeling is one of sorrow for them, for they are attempting a fatal and an impossible task. It is not their fault, they are not to blame; they have been set to do the impossible, and, sooner or later, with the measured certainty of a Greek tragedy, they will find that out. The right hon. Gentleman is an able man and a clever man; but I think that the right hon. Gentleman is a beaten and a broken man to-day. He has been beaten from pillar to post through every clause of his Crimes Act, from the Star Chamber clause to the newsvendor, and from the newsvendor back again, and has almost ceased to attempt to suppress the National League, has almost ceased in the suppressed districts to continue to annoy the League which two months ago he told this House was a thing of the past, but of whose influence the Chancellor of the Exchequer last night declared to be ubiquitous. If worse things have not happened in Ireland it is because the right hon. Gentleman has not dared to lot loose the landlords upon those 8,000 or 10,000 tenants who are at their mercy at this moment under the existing clauses of the Laud Act of last year. His Crimes Act has not 1303 frightened one small boy in Ireland—not even one small girl. The hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh bragged last night that he would have the majority when the debate was over. Of course he will; he is bound to have it. The Liberal Unionists are in the position of men in a condemned cell; they will naturally vote for abolishing capital punishment; they are, at all events, in favour of postponing the day. As far as the Irish people are concerned, they stand exactly where they stood in the beginning—where they and those who went with them will stand to the end. Chief Secretaries may come and Chief Secretaries may go; but the Irish cause goes on for ever. We have confidence in God and in the future, in our leaders, and in the Irish people and their undying aspiration; we have confidence in the great human heart of the British masses and the British millions, who have only to know the working of coercion to loathe and discard it for ever. Every day that confidence is growing, every day the common struggle in which we are joined as comrades is knitting the two nations together by bonds which nothing can sever, and in that firm confidence the Irish people will go on, cheerfully suffering, holding their ground and biding their time until the hour—the inevitable hour—when the ill-assorted majority who condone the horrors of coercion here to-night will have to face the judgment and the condemnation of every man who believes that Ireland can be united to England for ever by sympathy and trust, but never by a bungling and hateful tyranny.
§ MR. CHAPLIN (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)
Whatever anxiety we may have entertained as to the strength of the hon. Member's heart and nerves when he commenced his passionate declamation, there can be no doubt as to the strength of his lungs. The hon. Member commenced his observations by informing the House that the speech of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) last night was not deserving of any reply except in the opinion of those who desired amusement. I am not surprised at the hon. Member expressing that opinion, because, for my own part, I venture to say that a more powerful and able speech than that of the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh has 1304 never been delivered upon this subject, and this is no doubt a very convenient excuse on the part of the hon. Member for abstaining from replying to it. It affords another illustration—if further illustration is wanted—of the manner in which the Nationalist Party whenever they are challenged in this House invariably shirk the issues placed before them. The hon. Member has directed an unworthy taunt at the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell). He would have us to believe that it is because Mr. Dillion is unable to be in his place that the hon. Member attacked him in a manner in which he would not have attacked him if he had been here. What right has he to make such a charge against the hon. Member for South Tyrone? No one who has watched the career of the hon. Member will be prepared to say that he would get up in his place and make charges against Mr. Dillon which he would not make if the hon. Member were here. It is a calumny on the hon. Member for South Tyrone, which I think even his opponents among whom he sits would repudiate with just indignation. The hon. Member for North-East Cork turned next to the pathetic description of the Boycotting of Norah Fitzmaurice, and there were no bounds to the hon. Member's scorn and the sneers in which he indulged at the "crocodile tears "in connection with this subject. Let me remind him of what happened. I think I may touch even the hon. Member before I have done. The hon. Member is one of the ardent supporters of the National League, and I do not wonder, therefore, that the hon. Member detests this "disgusting cant" with reference to the case of Norah Fitzmaurice. What has happened in this case? The father of Norah Fitzmaurice was one of the unhappy men condemned by the National League. We know, on the authority of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), that crime always dogs the footsteps of the League; and, undoubtedly, the knowledge which the right hon. Gentleman possessed about the state of the League has been justified on this occasion. On the 12th of June, 1887, the Lixnaw branch of the National League passed the following resolution:—Whereas James Fitzmaurice still persists in allowing his cattle to graze on the farm from 1305 which his brother was evicted and refuses to give any explanation to the League"—what right had they to ask for any such explanation from any free man in a free country, or what would be a free country were it not for the tyranny of National League. As he refuses to give any explanation to the League in extenuation of his conduct—We hereby call upon the public to mark him as a landgrabber of the most inhuman type.Then follows the usual thing that "dogs the footsteps of the League," and this man was brutally and inhumanly murdered. I hope the hon. Member will no longer sneer at the crocodile tears that have been shed over the case of Norah Fitzmaurice. But the hon. Member asked, what have you to say about hundreds and thousands of others who have been cast out to die by cruel landlords? No one has ever denied that there has been great hardships in past days imposed by the landlords of Ireland; but all that has been changed. ["Oh!"] Not changed? ["No, no!"] Then I suppose there has been no legislation, no judicial rents, no lowering of even judicial rents? What is meant by saying there has been no change? There has been change, and such change that Irish tenants are now in possession of advantages greater than are enjoyed by any other tenantry in the civilized world. Hon. Members opposite know well that what I am saying is perfectly true. If hard cases occur now they are owing to the tyranny of the National League, and the hon. Members who are its leaders. In illustration, let me call attention to a speech made by a certain Mr. Dennis Kilbride at a meeting of the National League in Dublin on the 29th of March, 1887, in the presence of the hon. Member for North-East Cork, who did not contradict the statement that was made. The incident shows what the real objects of the National League are. The hon. Member would have us believe that it steps in to prevent cruel hardships towards tenants; but what was it that Mr. Kilbride blurted out with the hon. Member by his side? He was speaking of the Luggacurran tenants, and he said they differed from most other tenants in this respect—that they were perfectly able to pay their rents. If the hon. 1306 Member is unable to deny this, he stands convicted out of the mouth of his own associate. The hon. Member professes to wish for peace; but the conditions of the peace he desires are evidently an Irish Parliament doing by legislation what is sought to be done by the Plan of Campaign, and satisfying one class by plundering another. No doubt then there would be peace; but that is a peace which I hope the House of Commons and the English people will never consent to for a single moment. Let me now turn to the observations of the hon. Member in reference to the Plan of Campaign. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle told us last night that there had been a great deal of loose talk about the Plan of Campaign. We have to-night heard the opinion of the hon. Member for North-East Cork, and I would like to contrast it with other opinions. The Plan of Campaign has been judicially declared to be distinctly illegal by the Judges. It was condemned by Mr. Justice O'Brien, and Mr. Justice Johnston, who was Solicitor General in the Administration of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, entirely concurred in that condemnation. Hon. Gentlemen opposite knew perfectly well that it has also been denounced by the head of their own religion. I will say nothing of the Pope to-night but this—that when the hon. Mr. O'Brien, talks of my right hon. Friend having gone skulking to the Pope for his assistance, that, as a matter of fact, what happened was this—So far from the Government sending anyone to the Pope, it was the Pope who sent his own agent to Ireland to make his own inquiries for himself. Dr. O'Dwyer has declared that the Plan of Campaign is a violation of a moral law of justice and charity, and its practice a breaking of the Commandment—"Thou shall not steal." That being so, why is it that Mr. Dillon wears a felon's garb? Mr. Dillon, or any man who receives or orders the reception of rents taken under the Plan of Campaign, is in the position of a receiver of stolen goods, and deserves all he gets. The only note of dissent came from the hon. Member for North-East Cork, and the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, on the 17th of February, said something in the House which greatly surprised me, and 1307 I took down his words as the tine. My hearing of it was confirmed by the reports in The Times and Daily News. The right hon. Gentleman said—Far be it from me to assert that, necessarily, such a Plan in the abstract is an evil.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE (Edinburgh, Mid Lothian)
There is a slight error in the reports caused by the omission of the word "not."
§ MR. CHAPLIN
I am afraid the memory of the right hon. Gentleman is not strictly accurate. I am well aware of what occurred. I was so struck by the remark—so horrified at it—that the very next day I spoke about it at a meeting connected with the Doncaster election; and I know it was afterwards corrected in Hansard, and this morning I have referred to Hansard, and I find the passage corrected in this way—Far be it from me to deny that, necessarily, such a Plan in the abstract is an evil."—(3 Hansard,  770.)
§ MR. CHAPLIN
But there is a wide difference between an assertion and a denial. If this corrected version is the true version, why did not the right hon. Gentleman correct the newspaper reports on the following day?
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I am not in the habit of reading the reports of speeches on the day after their delivery; but I availed myself of the first opportunity of correcting this speech for authentic publication, and then I was astonished to find this error, which is absolutely absurd to anyone who will read the context.
Then I am to infer that the right hon. Gentleman is now prepared to admit that the Plan of Campaign is an evil which he condemns. I am very glad to think so, because it was always a marvel to me how the right hon. Gentleman could abstain from condemning in the most emphatic terms a system of sheer plunder. I am glad to have obtained a remarkable and gratifying admission, because we now know now the attitude of the right hon. Gentleman towards the plan of Campaign. The difficulties of the right hon. Gentleman in this matter must have been very great; his struggles to escape from 1308 this terrible position have been sometimes almost pitiable. How did he try to get out of it when addressing the Nonconformist ministers. He said that the real authors of the Plan of Campaign were the present Government, because they refused Mr. Parnell's Bill and his own modest proposal, and he added—"Then came distress, then evictions, then Bodyke, and then the Plan of Campaign." But unfortunately in the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, as a matter of fact the plan was issued on the 17th of October, 1886, and the Bodyke evictions were not till May, 1887, or eight months after the Plan of Campaign first saw the light. Instead of Bodyke causing the Plan of Campaign, it was the Plan which caused the Bodyke evictions, because from the first there was every disposition to deal fairly with the tenants to the extent of not requiring any rent from those who were too poor to pay any, and satisfactory settlements would have been arrived at if it had not been for the mischievous interference of outsiders. I am anxious to say a word now upon the Motion before the House. I am not one of those who in the slightest degree regret the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman. On the contrary, I am glad that right Gentlemen opposite have at last taken courage to themselves, and have ventured to arraign the Government in this House, where they can be met and answered on the spot, instead of adopting a plan which is much more usual with them. That plan is a very simple one; it is to try and blacken the character and reputation of the Government and of their supporters, who sit behind them, by every kind of false assertion and by every species of unscrupulous misrepresentation, repeated upon platforms over and over again all over the country, not only with regard to the Government and the administration of Ireland, but also with regard to the pledges by which their majority was obtained, and the way in which those pledges are being carried out, or rather, as they say, have not been carried out, from that time until now. We have tonight a Resolution which is as sufficiently clear and sufficiently distinct, but it neither charges the majority of that House with having broken their pledges, nor is there any such charge supported by the terms of the Motion. We have 1309 been told that the passing of the Crimes Act, and its administration in Ireland by my right hon. Friend, was undermining respect for law in Ireland. But what is the test, what is the measure of respect for law in any given country? The test is surely the way in which law is being observed or broken in that country. When was the highest average of crime in Ireland of late years? From the month of September, 1881, to May, 1882, the Administration of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian enjoyed the high distinction of having the highest number of crimes that had been recorded in Ireland for many years. In those nine months there were 4,389 crimes, which culminated in the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish, in May, 1882, for which I have always thought that the Leader of the Government of that day must be held more responsible than any other man in England. [Cries of "Withdraw!"] Over and over again appeals had been made from that side of the House—[Cries of "Order!"and "Withdraw!"]—to the right hon. Gentleman to ask Parliament for powers to strengthen the hands of the Government of that day, and in so far as the right hon. Gentleman refrained, until that terrible calamity occurred, from asking for powers which Parliament would have immediately accorded. I place more responsibility upon the Head of the Government than upon any other man in the Ministry. [Cries of "Oh!"] An Act giving further powers was introduced and carried immediately after the event; and now, when hon. Gentlemen talk of the Crimes Act undermining respect for the law, I would ask them to consider what happened. From the moment of the passing of the Crimes Act in 1882, the number of crimes decreased from 4,389 in the previous nine months to 1,130 in the following eight months, and the monthly record also steadily diminished from 401 in May to 85 in the month of December, 1882. That is our experience of the effect of the Crimes Act in the past. What is the position now? The last Crimes Act was passed in July, 1887. In the six months prior to the passing of that Act, there wore 484 crimes; in the six months since there have been 399 crimes; and a similar declension will be seen to have taken place in the following 1310 months for which we have the accounts. If those figures show anything at all, they show that under the administration of my right hon. Friend respect for law is gaining rather than losing ground in Ireland at the present time. I acknowledge that the improvement is not as great or as rapid as we could wish, but it is quite as rapid as can be expected, when we remember the exceptional difficulties in which my right hon. Friend was placed. Hitherto, thank God, all parties in the State have united in giving their best support to the Government of the day in the first elementary duty of maintaining law in every part of Her Majesty's Dominions. The right hon. Gentleman would not deny that when he sat on the Treasury Bench he received the warm, loyal, and cordial support of every Member of the Conservative Opposition in fulfilling the difficult task which he had then before him in the government of Ireland. What is the position to-day? The Leaders of the Opposition, and their supporters on the other side of the House, so far from giving support to my right hon. Friend, seem to be filled with one idea, and that is, how to thwart and hinder and embarrass him. And not only that, but they never cease to give encouragement by every means in their power to the opponents of the law in Ireland. It seems as if they felt sometimes positively afraid the right hon. Gentleman would be successful in making Ireland tranquil; it seems as if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian could not afford to see Ireland quiet, and that, if by any means whatever, my right hon. Friend should be successful in conducting the government of that country, there would be an utter destruction of the political schemes and Party of the right hon Gentleman. When we come to contrast the administration of my right hon. Friend with that of any one of his Predecessors in any Government of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and when we consider that the highest number of crimes was, as I have shown, 4,389 during the administration of the right hon. Gentleman, and that the highest under the administration of my right hon. Friend is not more than 1,000, hon. Members will, I think, come to the conclusion that there has been no undermining of respect for the law by the present Government, and 1311 that the right hon. Gentleman opposite was successful in undermining that respect at least eight times as much as my right hon. Friend. It is not the administration of my right hon. Friend that undermines respect for law in Ireland; it is something very different. It is the conduct of the Leaders and the Members of Her Majesty's Opposition. I will give an instance to the House of the way in which the game is carried on by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. I acknowledge it is peculiar and most ingenious. Everybody knows the enormous political influence which is wielded by the Nonconformist Ministers of this country. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian not very long ago met a large assemblage of these gentlemen and made a speech to them in London. What happened? Those poor, simple-minded, truth-loving gentlemen sat at the feet of their Gamaliel with the firm conviction that every word he was telling them was gospel truth. They swallowed everything he told them, and they in turn retailed the stories of the right hon. Gentleman to their flocks as soon as they returned to meet them. And so in all parts of the country the right hon. Gentleman is engaged in trying to undermine respect for the Government as well as for the law in Ireland. What was this doctrine which the right hon. Gentleman preached to the Nonconformist Ministers—what was the burden of his song? He had taken the right hon. Gentleman's own words, and it was this—That they, as the majority of the present House of Commons, have abandoned and forfeited all the pledges by which that majority was returned.He made that assertion, as he told them, "as a deliberate statement."Their pledges," he said, "have been cast to the winds, and I say now they have no moral title to represent England and no legal title to represent Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.I want to know what are the pledges that have been broken. I will give them in the right hon. Gentleman's own words—To renounce coercion and to promise, at any rate, a liberal concession of Home Rule was the platform on which the majority stood at the last election.And again the right hon. Gentleman 1312 stated in a letter addressed to Mr. W. Robertson, of The Ayrshire Post, dated the 4th of June,—"They had promised no coercion and plenty of local government."[Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE: Hear, hear!] He noticed that the right hon. Gentleman cheered that; but he did not know what was to follow, or he did not think he would have cheered so readily. These are the pledges which the right hon. Gentleman charged us with breaking. I deny them altogether. I say, and affirm it here in the House of Commons, that the charge is absolutely false; and out of the right hon. Gentleman's own mouth I will prove the absolute truth of what I am stating. I am not going to quote from some reckless speech made by the right hon. Gentleman; I am not even going to quote from a post-card or telegram written in a hurry, or from a letter written deliberately by the right hon. Gentleman. I am going to quote from the most solemn document which it is possible for any man in the right hon. Gentleman's position deliberately to have penned; I am going to quote from his manifesto to his constituents while still Prime Minister of England, and which is dated the 10th of June, 1886. That manifesto the House will remember was addressed not only to the right hon. Gentleman's constituents, but to the whole country, and to them and before them he put clearly the issue of the General Election. What did the right hon. Gentleman say now? I beg the House to recollect that the charge against us is that since the last election we have broken our pledges. [Mr. W. E. GLADSTONE: Quote.] I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. I wish to explain that since the General Election his charges were to this effect, that we had before the election promised, "no coercion and lots of local government." What did the right hon. Gentleman say before the election? These are his words—Two clear, positive, and intelligible plans are before the world; there is the plan of the Government, and there is the plan of Lord Salisbury. Our plan is that Ireland, under well considered conditions, should transact her own affairs: his planLet the House bear in mind the plan of Lord Salisbury, the leader and mouth-piece of the majority who were pledged to "no coercion"— 1313Is to ask Parliament for more repressive powers, and to enforce them resolutely for 20 years.What is the House of Commons to think of that to-night? What will England, and what will the people who love truth and fair dealing, think of that tomorrow? The right hon. Gentleman has heard the statements. I invite him to-night to reconcile them if ho can. [Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen opposite appear to think it a very easy thing. It is very easy for them to laugh, and they invariably do so whenever they find charges that are not easy to answer brought either against themselves or their Leader. If one of those charges were true, the other must be false. Our pledges could not be pledges of coercion and non-coercion at one and the same time. I wish to know which the right hon. Gentleman adopts at the present moment? [Cries of "Both!"] For my part, I do not hesitate for a single moment to affirm that the false charge is the one which the right hon. Gentleman makes against us now and has made against us throughout the country during the last six weeks—namely, that we have forfeited and broken all our pledges. Of course, I do not charge the right hon. Gentleman for one instant with deliberately making false assertions. I would be the last person in the House to do so. I am quite willing and quite ready to place a much more charitable construction on his words, and that is, that the right hon. Gentleman has forgotten that his memory has been failing him of late—[Cries of "Oh!" "Shame!" and interruption]—and that the right hon. Gentleman does not really remember—[Renewed interruption and cries of "Order!"]—that really he does not remember the statements he has made before and cannot be held responsible for what he says upon this subject. That is my charge against the right hon. Gentleman. I am well aware that the right hon. Gentleman fortified himself with regard to the charge of breaking their pledges on the matter of Local Government, by quoting the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Paddington (Lord Randolph Churchill) which he delivered in that House, and in which the noble Lord declared that the Party on that side of the House were pledged to give to Ireland, simultaneously with 1314 England and Scotland, any measure of Local Government that might be brought in for those countries. Now, I have myself already pointed out on a former occasion, although I have not been able to do so in this House for want of time, that there was absolute inconsistency between the pledges of the noble Lord and the attitude of the Government. Those pledges were given subject to two conditions—namely, that there should be the same fulfilment of legal obligations in Ireland as there was in England, and that there should be the same state of peace and tranquillity in Ireland. If that were so, I contend that I have successfully shown that the charges which the right hon. Gentleman has levelled against us before the Nonconformist Ministers of the country, of breaking our pledges in regard to coercion on the one hand, and in regard to Local Government on the other, are absolutely false. I have shown that out of the right hon. Gentleman's own mouth and out of his manifesto of 1886, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will do me the favour of attempting to show how both of his statements can possibly be true.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
Mr. Speaker, I do not feel my temper to be severely tried by the rather violent attacks of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, who says that I, more than any other man, am responsible for the dreadful crime which darkened the month of May, 1882, and who alleges that I habitually make in the country or here "false" charges—an epithet which I think I have carefully avoided on every occasion in speaking of my opponents. The avoidance of such an epithet is, if I may so say, a characteristic of civilized political controversy. I have, however, not the least desire to interfere with the liberty of the right hon. Gentleman; and if I felt inclined to be angry with him at all it would be with that large infusion of charity which induced him, after attempting to show that I had made inconsistent accusations, to explain them by a reference to the accruing infirmities of age. I shall not pretend to determine to what exact degree I am suffering from those infirmities; but I may venture to say that while sensible that the lapse of time is undoubtedly extremely formidable and affects me in more than one particular, yet 1315 I hope that, for a little while at any rate, I may remain not wholly unable to cope with antagonists of the calibre of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman has kindly and generously given me my choice between two accusations which he says are incompatible and contradictory. I decline to avail myself of the option so handsomely accorded to me. I adhere in the fullest sense of every word to both of those accusations. There is one qualification which the right hon. Gentleman did not mention. I made it clear in the speech which he has quoted that while I made against the majority as a body the distinct charge to which he has referred, I did not make it against every individual of that majority, because I recollected that there were exceptions. I think, if I remember right, my right hon. Friend the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. J. Chamberlain) was an exception. If my memory serves me, I recollect that at the period of the Election my right hon. Friend referred to coercion as a policy which he would be inclined under certain circumstances and under certain conditions to support. But as regards the body in general, I have made that charge, and, please God, I will make it again. I do not intend, Sir, to be drawn aside from the business of to-night. I meet the right hon. Gentleman fairly when I say that I hold myself responsible for both of these accusations, presuming to differ from him on what he thinks their contradictory character. In my firm conviction, of course, with all due deference to his superior judgment, they are both of them true, both of them historical, both of them rational, both of them within the facts. It is impossible within the narrow limits assigned to this debate for each speaker—perhaps for any speaker—to traverse the whole field of an indictment so wide as that which has been brought by my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) against the Crimes Act and its administration in Ireland. There is a general understanding, I believe, that the debate shall close to-night. In my opinion, for such a subject to have been fully and satisfactorily discussed, it would have required three times the period which is assigned to it. Notwithstanding that, I am making no complaint at the course pursued by Her 1316 Majesty's Government in this matter, although I did regret that the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) found himself in duty obliged to threaten us with what would happen in case the debate should be unduly prolonged. He has pointed to the consequences that would ensue in regard to the mutilation and the possible loss of a measure to which we attach great value. But that is a passing matter. I am aware it is desired in the present state of Public Business—and I think it does great honour to the Irish Members that they should concur in the arrangement—that we should be content with placing fairly, although inadequately, the charges which we have to make, and that we should then revert to the consideration of the great public matters that we have to dispose of. I state this, however, simply as an introduction to a separate statement. With the exception of one particular subject—namely, what I deem to be the extremely important case of Killeagh—I do not intend to enter into details upon the several portions of this matter. They were treated by my right hon. Friend (Mr. John Morley) in a manner which, if not complete—and complete it could not be—was wonderfully comprehensive, lucid, able, and concise, and I am ready in what I pass over to be bound by the statement which he made. Now, Sir, I am compelled first to reiterate the complaint, though I will not dwell upon it, that information has been withheld which ought to have been given to us. I found, in fact, upon that withholding of information, upon the manner in which information has been given, upon the illusory and inaccurate character of the statements of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour), a charge which I think we can sustain, and for which I make myself responsible—whether intended or not, it has amounted on the part of the Government to an endeavour to oust the House of Commons from its proper jurisdiction in watching the operation of exceptional laws, and in making provision, wherever circumstances seem to require it, for the maintenance of the sanctity of private rights. Now, Sir, I remind the House that we were refused information on the depositions connected with the imprisonment of Mr. Dillon. We have been ab- 1317 solutely refused wholesale information in the case of conspiracy. We have been refused information on the subject which of all others was best calculated to test the success of the policy of Her Majesty's Government—namely, information relating to derelict land. We obtained, it is true, a Return on the Motion of my right hon. Friend (Mr. John Morley) of the cases of persons tried under the Crimes Act. And what a statement it was which was presented to us. The right hon. Gentleman seems to think it is the duty of each Member for himself to compile statistics, and the duty of the Government to give every opposition they can to supplying us with knowledge in a state in which we can use it. So chaotic and so slovenly a Return on a subject of such importance, without dates of time, without notification of place, without classification of the 2,000 offences, so as to enable us to know how many there were of one class, and how many there were of another, I do not think I over knew presented to Parliament; and, when it is presented, it is at the beginning of a debate which is to terminate on the second night. A graver matter still remains. Information was refused in regard to the deplorable and disgraceful transactions at Mitchelstown. A less grave matter, but one which illustrates the position in which we are placed, was the refusal to give us any information with respect to the transaction at Ennis. And how are we placed? We hear statements made in this House. We recite them elsewhere. I heard a statement made in this House which I thought challenged and deserved inquiry—namely, that officers in command of Her Majesty's Forces, and especially of Cavalry, sent into a certain yard, which the Government described as densely packed with people, a portion of that Cavalry. A more unwise, a more blameworthy proceeding, although there was no intention of charging, I could not have supposed. It was also stated that there was a charge of the cavalry in the yard. That was at the time not admitted by the Government; but that the Cavalry were sent into the yard they never questioned for a moment. I made the charge in a speech at a public meeting, that the Cavalry were sent into that yard, and I admit there were words of mine which might have been understood in the sense that I gave credit to the 1318 statement that the Cavalry did make the charge. That, however, was quite an incidental part; the substance of the charge I meant to make was, that the Cavalry were sent into the yard. For that charge there was no foundation. The Cavalry were not sent into the yard. A particular Hussar went into the yard and seems there to have misconducted himself to the injury of one or two perfectly innocent persons. What happened? Our prayer in this House was for inquiry. We made none of these charges as proved facts. They were reported in the newspapers. We, seeing them there, prayed for inquiry. We were refused all inquiry; and this officer, for whom I have a great respect, for I believe him to be an honorable and a liberal-minded man—that is, I believe him to have been an honourable and liberal-minded man—Colonel Turner—writes a letter to the newspaper denouncing me as a person totally void of the sense of truth and justice, because I had made a charge, which charge was made in this House and not denied by Her Majesty's Government. That is the position in which we are placed because of this almost systematic refusal of accurate information on the part of Her Majesty's Government in a case of this vital importance. I must point out in all fairness, that when he said that I had stated this matter in defiance of what had been stated by the Government in the House of Commons on the 12th of April, he completely admitted that the Cavalry had been sent into the yard densely packed with people. Well, sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) made a statement which I may take notice of in order that I may come nearer to the vital parts of this case. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of two cases of murder in Ireland in which the Crimes Act had been useful—one by the change of venue, and the other by the use of the private inquiry. Every man in this House rejoices in those two solitary cases in which the Crimes Act has been of use; but the right hon. Gentleman seemed to think, and seemed to wish the House to think, that these were the main matters for which the Crimes Act had been passed. Why, Sir, was there any difficulty in this House last year made by my hon. Friends near me or by myself on the question of properly 1319 criminal jurisdiction? Nothing of the sort. My right hon. Friend, I think in the very first speech he made upon the subject, said that he was perfectly ready to entertain the consideration of provisions for the bonâ fide corroboration of the Criminal Law. I expressed my concurrence with him, and I believe he actually pointed in principle to these very two questions, the change of venue and the clause of private inquiry. I know that that clause of private inquiry took a long time; but why did it take a long time? It was because of the bungling and inefficient manner in which it had been drawn, so that when it came into this House it consisted of 30 lines, and by the time it received the sanction of the House in Committee it consisted of, I believe, 120 lines. Sir, there should have been no difference of opinion between us on these matters; but what was our contention from the first? It was that this was not a Crimes Act at all. It was not framed for the purpose of putting down crime. It was a Combination Act. It professed to go against conspiracy. It was really aimed against combination, and we shall see how it has been applied in these matters. But when the right hon. Gentleman wishes the issue to be taken on the subject of the two murder cases, as to which there are not two opinions in this House, and wishes it to be supposed that this is the question now raised on which the House ought to decide—against these two cases of murder I point to the 2,000 cases in which Her Majesty's Irish subjects have been prosecuted by the Government and in which hundreds of them, unless I am very much mistaken—I believe I might say by far the larger majority of those 2,000—have had to suffer the anxiety of trial and the penalty of imprisonment, and you cannot, by pointing to two cases of murder in which particular provisions that nobody would have objected to on principle have been put in operation, escape the issue on the general administration of the Crimes Act. Now, Sir, I shall not attempt after the powerful speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien) to speak of the Plan of Campaign or Mr. Dillon, but I shall remark on the manner in which the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. Chaplin) treats me with respect to the Plan of Cam- 1320 paign. Having quoted a line and a-half from a speech of mine he thereupon expands it by his great power of paraphrase, and thus, making me responsible for the padding he puts in, he is good enough to express his lively satisfaction at my admission of fair and sound doctrines which are in reality the offspring of his own fertile brain. I was certainly not less than half-an-hour in the month of February in giving fully and carefully my views of the Plan of Campaign. I am not going to enter into it at large at present, what I am going to do is this, to state in one single sentence what I believe the right hon. Gentleman has not the smallest idea of, and, what I do not know, whether the Government thoroughty comprehend—namely, what is the real contention that hon. Gentlemen sitting on the opposite side of the House have to meet with respect to the Plan of Campaign? I shall state it without a word of comment, and the contention, as I understand it, is this—that the Plan of Campaign was framed when Parliament had refused to make any legislative provision for the necessities of the tenantry of Ireland in the year 1886, and that it met the case by making demands upon the landlords equal or inferior to those which, in the Act of 1887, the Land Commission had acknowledged to be just. That is the true state of the question. It is idle to travel round and round it as the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Chaplin) has done; it is idle to advance against it the naked doctrine that it is the law and that the law shall be obeyed. ["Oh, oh!"] I know there are those in this House to whom it seems to be a cardinal principle and a sacred duty to make no investigations of Irish history, no more than they think right, or of the general opinion of the world as to the relations between Ireland and England. But that is not so in Ireland. The recollections and the traditions of Irish history are burnt into the very soul of the people. We know how the traditions of Marlborough survived from generation to generation on the Continent, and you ought to know how the saying, "The Curse of Cromwell," has lived from generation to generation in Ireland. These things are known and felt there. The Irish people are aware what are the horrors, what are the atrocities almost incredible, that have been done in Ireland in the 1321 name of law—the tortures, the murders, the crimes of every description which when they have not been done under the name of law have been covered by subsequent acts of indemnity, and who can suppose that a people whose whole souls are full of these painful and grievous recollections can come to the consideration of the law in the same mind and the same spirit as the Judge sitting upon the Bench? In expecting it you show your ignorance of human nature, your incapacity for statesmanship. The principles on which you act have never guided wise legislative assemblies, which have always made allowances for those things and for the circumstances which determine the character of national emotions and recollections, and which have been aware that the cases in the mixed condition of human affairs are not unfrequent. Unhappily, Ireland is perhaps the most conspicuous country in the world where law has been on one side and justice on the other. You do not consider—you do not seem to think it worth while to consider—the facts of Mr. Dillon's case. I will not discuss the matter at large after the vindication he has received from the powerful statement made by the hon. Member of North-East Cork; but I will refer briefly to some of the incidents of Mr. Dillon's case, and first among them I must say that it is a strange irony of fortune that Mr. Dillon should be lectured on the subject of illegality by the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson)—the man who has announced that if Parliament think proper to pass a certain law he will lift his hand in violence to resist it and encourage his countrymen to do the same. If Mr. Dillon wishes to serve an apprenticeship in illegality I recommend him to the master opposite; but the apprenticeship will be long and arduous, and Mr. Dillon will have to mount the ladder step by step before he reaches the elevation on which the hon. and gallant Member has been comfortably planted long ago. I want the House to consider how it was that Mr. Dillon became amenable to the law, for, after all, our prime duty here is not to measure in scales of gold the wisdom or even propriety of every individual or his conduct, but to bring to account the Government of the Queen—those who are responsible, those who sway the 1322 majority in this House, those who have at their back the Army, and the Constabulary, and that other instrument of justice apparently in some cases not less pliable and effective—namely, the Resident Magistrates. I wish to examine, then, when Mr. Dillon became amenable to the law. Mr. Dillon, I feel bound to assume—I do not wish to go into the judicial decision—I do not know whether it is a direct judicial decision or not; but I shall assume that he was amenable to the operation of the law. He was amenable in County Louth, but he was amenable to its operation subject to going before a jury. Now, that is of all things what Her Majesty's Government most dread. Lord Spencer administered his Crimes Act from 1882 to 1885, and he administered it with all the success that can possibly attend such a measure, and in that Crimes Act we had taken powers for going past the jury in a straightforward, upright, and honourable manner, in the light of day, in case the necessity should arise. It never did arise, and the Act was administered without departure from the principle of trial by jury. What has been done here? An act is done in a county of Ireland, a county which has a pure and splendid reputation so far as outrage is concerned. I am told that as to Louth it may be said—as I am happy to say it may be said of many parts of Wales— that long years have passed since an outrage has been committed in that county. Yet Louth was subjected to the indignity of being proclaimed under the Crimes Act in order that Mr. Dillon might not have the benefit of a jury. These are the acts—this is one of the acts—which provoke men to say that they are not only harsh, not only are they cruel, but they are mean. Of them any Government ought to be ashamed, and if it were possible for the right hon. Gentleman by those researches of which he is so fond to find that something of the kind was done by a Liberal Government—[Cheers.]—Oh, yes, that is a delightful prospect, is it not? I say, if he could find such a thing, I would not stoop to apologize for such an act. If I had a share in it I would take a full share of the responsibility, and perform whatever penance you might choose to impose. The County Louth has been proclaimed in order that Mr. Dillon 1323 might be deprived of his rights as a British subject which he possessed at the time he made his speech. Is that the way in which you propose to propagate respect for the law in Ireland? Is that the way in which you think you will draw the heart of Ireland nearer? Nearer to what? Not to the heart of England, for these two great hearts, I rejoice to say, are already morally joined in one, but nearer to Dublin Castle, nearer to the Viceroy, nearer to the Chief Secretary, nearer to the Tory and Dissentient majority. It is necessary, under the high sense of duty that governs the administration of the right hon. Gentleman, that Mr. Dillon should be subjected to the indignity of being put into prison costume. What, says the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Lincolnshire (Mr. Chaplin)? "Serve him right." Serve him right! Is it right, then, to insult a Gentleman of his character? Suppose an accident happened to the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh in the contingencies which might arise, and which he has foreshadowed. I do not believe that, among his strongest opponents below the Gangway, there is one that would, for a moment, tolerate this indignity should be put upon him. But this has been done to Mr. Dillon. Why? On the ground of the high and inflexible morality which is so characteristic, as we all know, of the Irish Secretary that he cannot help observing upon the want of it in other people. His high morality will not endure the unequal treatment in two cases. Is it equal treatment? Is the prison dress for Mr. Dillon the same thing as the prison dress, for the man with the frieze coat? Is it? Is it the same thing? The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. A. J. Balfour) says it is. I say it is not the same, and I appeal to an authority better than myself, and better than the authority of the right hon. Gentleman, for if it is the same infliction, I put these two questions—Why did Parliament provide in England that every person for the offence of sedition should cease to be subject to this indignity, and should become a first-class misdemeanant? And why did the right hon. Gentleman, who is troubled with a stiff, unbending conscience, bend that conscience in the case of the priest? If the prison dress be the same thing for Mr. Dillon and the frieze coat, is it the 1324 same thing for Mr. Dillon and the priest? The right hon. Gentleman has not dared to put the prison dress upon the priest. He receded from it not because he was merciful, but because he was afraid. [Cheers and Laughter.] I hope the right hon. Gentleman enjoys that. I believe he has said he had no option—that the law prescribed it, and that the law must be obeyed. Then, I ask, why was the law violated by the right hon. Gentleman in the case of the priest? How can be reconcile his conduct to Mr. Dillon and other Members of this House with his conduct to the priests, or with the policy which has long ago dictated the adoption of a wise and gentle and humane, but perfectly protective, law for the treatment of prisoners committed for sedition in England? What did the Judge say in the case of Mr. Dillon? He inflicted the maximum sentence. But why? Because of Mr. Dillon's great influence. Therefore, he said—I will inflict the maximum sentence." But how has Mr. Dillon used his influence? Go back with me to the memorable and melancholy day at Mitchelstown. [Laughter.] I heard that laugh. It must have been involuntary, for it is shocking to suppose that it was anything else. Go back to the melancholy day at Mitchelstown, and to the great outrages of the officers of the Constabulary and the men under their command, and the deaths of three innocent men. It was Mr. Dillon, in my belief, who prevented, by the use of his great influence, a terrible accumulation of that disaster, and that use of his influence ought to have been recollected when he was taken to task by the Judge and the maximum punishment inflicted upon him, because in some other case, the Judge differed from the use he had made of the influence. I make no special complaint of the Judge in this case. I cannot say as much in respect of another case to which I shall come by-and-bye. But the Judge in this case said—"Mr. Dillon is a man of great influence over his fellow-countrymen." By that he meant over the Irish people. The Judge was perhaps hardly aware that Mr. Dillon's influence is not limited to Ireland. There are millions upon millions of people in this country—I believe the large majority of the people of England, as well as of Scotland and Wales—to whom there could be on the 1325 occasion of a public assembly no more welcome tidings than that they were about to be addressed by Mr. Dillon, and there is hardly one whose entrance among them would call forth more enthusiastic acclamation. Now, Sir, I will venture to say that it is a terrible state of things that a man of Mr. Dillon's character, his qualities, and his position is thus treated. It is a state of things which ought to bring about much reflection and which cannot be disposed of by a majority to-night in this House. Well, Sir, I am now going into the case of Killeagh. After the daring statement of the hon. and learned Solicitor General for Ireland (Mr. Madden) last night, and the yet more daring statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland on a former occasion, I wish to set out the whole case to the House. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer must not suppose that the slight reference to it with which he was provided has in any degree disposed of it. The hon. and learned Solicitor General came a little nearer to the point when he stated that the men who were imprisoned at Killeagh had been found guilty of conspiracy at Common Law for the purpose of starving the police. Found guilty of conspiracy at Common Law? By whom were they found guilty of conspiracy at Common Law?
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. MADDEN) (Dublin University)
I did not state that the men had been found guilty of conspiracy at Common Law. What I did state—and as my authority I refer to the judgment of the Court—was that the Judges of the Court of Exchequer said there was before them evidence upon which a jury might have found them guilty of a conspiracy at Common Law.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I read a report which has all the appearance of care and precision; but I am extremely glad to hear the statement of the hon. and learned Gentleman, and I at once withdraw what I intended to say on this subject. But if the hon. and learned Gentleman will have the goodness to refer to the newspaper to which I referred this morning—namely, The Times—he will find that he has been most seriously misreported, for the words I have used are precisely those which are to be found there. I will now pass altogether from that topic. Well, Sir, I come to what 1326 was said by the Lord Chief Baron, and I dwell the more readily upon this case because although, of course, it does not present the entire indictment to the House which it has made against the administration of the Crimes Act, yet it presents what I think is the most important part of the case and goes to the very centre and core of it, because our main contention in the debates of last year was that this Act was not a Crimes Act at all—that is to say, that crime was a secondary and partial subject within its purview; that it was really a Conspiracy Act, and under the name of a Conspiracy Act it was a Combination Act, and was intended to put down lawful and legitimate combination. Now, Sir, let us follow the legality of the proceedings, the competency of the tribunal, and the language of the Government in the case of Killeagh. The hon. and learned Solicitor General for Ireland has. I think, stated very nearly what was said by the Lord Chief Baron in the first part of his remarks. But he left out certain words of the Lord Chief Baron which I think may be accurately represented thus. The Lord Chief Baron was fully of opinion that common action had been proved, and upon this common action he rather thought—that was his expression—there would have been evidence from which a jury would have concluded that the real object was to injure the police, and that upon evidence of that kind an indictment might be brought and the jury might give a verdict. Very well, let us suppose that is so. Then I want to know what is the state of the law in Ireland? I accept it without question. It is not for me to attempt to affirm or deny it; my business is to accept it. The statement of the Lord Chief Baron is that if four men combine at Killeagh, where there is believed to be a conspiracy existing, and are proved by common action to have refused to deal with the constabulary, a jury might convict them of a criminal offence upon evidence which tended to prove as much as that. Now, suppose, not a case of four men who deal in goods and withhold their goods from the constabulary, but a case in England of 400 men dealing in labour and withholding their labour. I believe I might go a great deal further and say "who break their contract." Even that would not be an overstatement. But in the one case 1327 or the other—and I believe I may safely go to the more extreme supposition of a breach of contract—the 400 men would, every one of them, stand scatheless in a Court of Justice. The four men were sent to prison. Where is the equality of Irish rights? This is what we asked—what we pressed for last year, what we were called factious for pressing for. This is what the Government sternly refused. In England the artizan is protected by the law in respect of the disposal of the commodity which he has to dispose of. In Ireland you have refused to protect him by the law in respect of the very same thing, and at the same time you tell us you will not hear of an Irish Legislature to deal with Irish affairs; that the true principle is that which at Westminster and within the walls of Parliament consecrates the principle of equality of rights. Then the Lord Chief Baron goes on—because the part of his speech to which I have referred is entirely incidental—Another offence may possibly have been committed. But the question we have to consider is whether a certain particular offence, which we will go on to consider and define, has been committed or not.What they had to consider—these are the words of the Lord Chief Baron—was whether the common purpose was that this refusal to deal should be accomplished either by compulsion or by influence which he had called undue influence. I call the particular attention of the House to these words, because everything, in fact, turns upon them. I may dismiss altogether the word "compulsion" in this case, because there had been no charge of compulsion. I have been favoured, not by Her Majesty's Government, but by the labour and care of a Member of this House, with the bulky copies of the depositions, and I have read the whole of them; and they all of them charge in one and the same phrase that the offence was joining in a conspiracy to induce certain persons not to deal. Then, said the Lord Chief Baron—"that is the question we have to consider." What does he say upon it? He was bound to say that he did not find one shadow of evidence whatever in this case, and he did not find any evidence on which it could be argued except in the case of David Barry. What was the case of David Barry? Now, 1328 David Barry was sentenced, like the rest, for one month. By some process which I do not understand, but I am glad of it, the sentence seems afterwards to have been reduced to one fortnight, on the ground that David Barry had apparently, to the Judges, acted under intimidation; and, for having acted under intimidation, he was charged and sent to prison for a fortnight for a conspiracy to induce others not to deal. What says the Lord Chief Baron? It is simply this. To be a victim of a conspiracy was, in the view of those Judges, the same thing as to be the author of the conspiracy. The man who refuses to deal through intimidation and under a fright, which he describes in Court, that man is a sufferer already, and to send him to prison for an offence indicates either a weakness, or a perversity, or an ignorance, or all three combined, such as I could not have believed possible from anything calling itself a Bench of Justice. Of course, any language of the Lord Chief Baron cannot possibly be exaggerated in this case. There is no evidence whatever. Now, Sir, it has been represented by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer and by the hon. and learned Solicitor General for Ireland that there may have been a mistake in this case. Accidents will happen in the best-regulated families, and, consequently, there was a slight error of judgment, but not an error of judgment to form the basis of a charge on the part of the two Resident Magistrates, Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Redmond. What I have to show is this—that this was not an oversight on the part of the Judges. Their attention was expressly and repeatedly called to the distinction taken by the Lord Chief Baron. They did not suppose that the different kinds of conspiracy were confounded together, and that they in sentencing for one might just as well sentence for another. Here is the report, which I quote from The Cork Examiner of the 1st of June, of what was said on the occasion. Mr. Hodnett, who was acting on the part of the defendants, pointed out to the Judges that there was a total want of evidence, and that the Judges ought to dismiss the summons for want of evidence to show that the defendants entered into a criminal conspiracy to induce others not to supply goods. Observe that he put it before 1329 them in the clearest terms. What said Mr. Gardiner? "We are both against you, Mr. Hodnett." These are the men to whom, to the disparagement of Judges and to the disparagement of the Superior Courts, you have committed practically in the most delicate and difficult matters the government of Ireland. However, Mr. Hodnett was not discouraged, and he went on to say—"I have made an argument, and I hope something will be said." So Mr. Gardiner proceeded to give his view of the case. He said his view of the case was this—The evidence went to show that these parties entered into a criminal conspiracy with one another, inasmuch as their acts in the refusing in nearly all the same language and terms showed the conspiracy they had entered into.That is to say, he deliberately passed over what had been stated by Mr. Hodnett, who endeavoured to guide this blind man, and to describe to him the kind of conspiracy that was charged in the indictment. The patience of Mr. Hodnett was not yet exhausted, and he said—"That is not the charge. The charge is inducing other persons not to supply goods." Twice in the most distinct language that man could use these Judges were reminded that it was not a general charge before them of conspiracy, but a charge that they had induced other persons not to supply goods. Here is the final decision of Mr. Gardiner, and these are the Judges of whose legal competence the Government are satisfied. He said—"Each defendant should be taken with reference to the others." The Judge, having the case placed before him in the most distinct manner, did not pretend that he had the least scintilla of evidence to show that the defendants had committed a crime. He said that they might have committed a crime; and without any evidence and merely in consequence of an opinion in the sanctuary of his breast he condemned them. I have given you now what the Lord Chief Baron said and what the Resident Magistrate said. But what did the Government say? Observe, my point is this, and it is recognized on both sides. We are not dealing now with the Common Law of Conspiracy, which derives its criminal character from its being intended to injure a person or a class. That is not the offence charged. 1330 The offence charged by the Act is to compel or induce persons not to do certain things. I put a Question carefully framed in the sense of the Act. I asked first for the production of all these depositions in cases of conspiracy; and I then asked whether the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary could assure the House that in every case where an individual had been convicted under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act the conspiracy to compel or induce some person not to deal with or to work for some other person in the ordinary course of trade, business, or occupation, evidence had been taken to prove, not only the refusal of the individual to work or to deal as above, but to prove that he was implicated in a conspiracy for some one of the said purposes—that is to say, for the purpose of inducing or compelling not to deal with or to work for; and the right hon. Gentleman, in answer to that Question gave me the most positive and distinct pledge. He said—"In all the cases described by the right hon. Gentleman evidence has been taken to prove the conspiracy referred to." I presume that he had in his hands at that moment the judgment of the Lord Chief Baron and the judgment of Mr. Justice Andrews—Baron Dowse saying nothing on the subject. He had in his hands the judgment of the Lord Chief Baron, which said there was no evidence whatever, and with that judgment in his hands he told me that evidence had been taken in every case to prove—what? Not to prove conspiracy, but to prove the conspiracy referred to.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
The right hon. Gentleman has confused dates. The answer I gave him was before the judgment was delivered.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
The right hon. Gentleman had not the judgment in his hands but he had the depositions. I have read the whole of these depositions, and they do not contain one single sentence upon any subject except that of the refusal to deal, unless in one single instance. And what is that? It is the sentence in which the constable, O'Donaghue, states that there was a meeting on the 4th of March, which meeting is supposed to have had some reference to some combination or other 1331 for the purpose of exclusive dealing, and he deposes that he did not see any one of the defendants at that meeting. Was there ever such a case as this? The right hon. Gentleman had read the evidence. If he says there is evidence of the conspiracy referred to, let him produce it. It does not exist. He cannot produce it unless all the documents are falsified; and that which he made bold to state to this House, that the conspiracy to induce had evidence taken upon it, is totally contrary to the fact, and the right hon. Gentleman has to explain his conduct to the House. But the right hon. Gentleman, when we ask him why he has not fulfilled his pledges—this pledge and that pledge— his answer is—"Oh, that has been sufficiently threshed out already, and I cannot go over it again." Such was the language of the Government. Now, this is no question of a miscarriage or of a mistake of an inferior tribunal. It is not a question of mistaking the balance of evidence in regard to which human judgment may go wrong. Here there was no balance of evidence at all. There was, as we know now on the highest authority, no evidence whatever. There could not be any evidence, and there being no evidence, and the attention of the Judge having been called to the fact that there was no evidence, he deliberately refused to take notice of that call and went on to aggravate his conduct by refusing to state a case. Is this a specimen of the manner in which this Law of Conspiracy is administered in Ireland? I have to put Questions to the right hon. Gentleman besides that which I have put to him about himself. Are these two Resident Magistrates to continue to administer the Coercion Act? I presume that the Government have considered that subject. I do not undertake to say what is the cause of their misconduct—whether it is bias, whether it is bigotry—ignorance it cannot be, because the thing wits placed twice before them—or whether it was feebleness of character. I do not enter into these things. I look at the facts, and say it is totally impossible to place confidence in such a Bench. I say the people of Ireland would be unworthy of the name of men if the spirit of the country did not revolt against such treatment. I am told that this is only one conspiracy case. Only one conspiracy case! Well, 1332 it is the only one in which we have been able to get the particulars. How many more are there of such cases? I challenge the right hon. Gentleman, and I make an appeal to him to lay upon the Table the depositions in all conspiracy cases. He has heard the statement made by an able lawyer in this House that he and his Friends have examined 700 out of 2,000 cases, and the conclusion they have come to is that the proceedings were a travesty and caricature of justice. We have got that, and having extracted from the right hon. Gentleman some particulars with regard to this special case, we find it to be as flagrant and scandalous as any in the days of Judge Jeffreys. [Laughter.] The right hon. and learned Lord Advocate (Mr. J. H. A. Macdonald) has a great faculty for laughter. I know very well that these men have not the power of Judge Jeffreys, and that we do not live in the time of Judge Jeffreys. How far is that the fault of the right hon. Gentleman? What the right hon. and learned Lord Advocate ought to appreciate is, that the denial of justice, which is the same thing in the case of a farthing as of a £1,000,000, is as gross, as palpable, and as shameful as ever disgraced the time of Judge Jeffreys. I therefore beg the right hon. Gentleman to produce the depositions in these cases. I do not know precisely the number of cases. We have no aid from the right hon. Gentleman. We have to find our way through a lengthened paper with about 2,000 names, out of which there are, I believe, about 150 charged with conspiracy. I think that the particulars of the painful case upon which I have detained the House so long show grounds for the necessity of my demand. If the right hon. Gentleman does not give us the particulars of the other cases we shall be compelled to conclude that the other cases are like this case; and if he disputes it, let him give us the means of judging. If the right hon. Gentleman does not give us the means of judging, if he is determined that Parliament shall be excluded from forming an opinion in cases of this kind, that will sustain my charge that it is the policy of the Government to oust the House of Commons from the performance of one of its most sacred duties—that of defending the weak and maintaining the sanctity of private 1333 rights and private liberty. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his speech last night, contended that the policy of the Government was making progress, slow but sure. That I understand to be the upshot of the principal portions of his speech. What did he point to in support of that contention? He pointed to certain statistics about Boycotting about which I have to observe that those statistics are an invention of the Government. No such statistics ever were produced until the existence of the present Government. I entirely decline to accept them because I have no means of testing their accuracy. You might as well bring statistics from the moon as give us your statistics of Boycotting. There is no legal, moral, or social test by which we can judge them. You plead usage when usage is in your favour; but you depart from usage because your Returns have been prepared—I was almost about to have said manufactured for you—in order to show a considerable diminution of Boycotting. What the right hon. Gentleman really means is a diminution in the number of agrarian offences—not a very large diminution, but, I admit, a sensible and gratifying diminution. I will not enter into the question of the cause of that diminution. We do not believe that the cause is to be found either in the Crimes Act or in the mode in which it is applied. We think it is due to other and very different causes. I am not going to enter upon that distinct ground. If you like, I will take the fact upon your own showing, and upon your own argument, and assume that it is due to the Crimes Act. If that were so, would it be a proof of progress, would it be a proof that you were making your way to a settlement of the Irish question? I think not. Lord Spencer's triumph over agrarian outrage was tenfold what it has been under the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. I take it to have been, so far as external manifestations were concerned, one of the most complete ever brought about in the history of Executive Government. It was a marvellous reduction. I will not quote figures. The number of agrarian offences with which Lord Spencer had to deal was quoted as between 4,000 and 5,000, and it was reduced, I believe, to a figure below 1,000. But Lord Spencer did not think by that reduction he had made any 1334 way towards solving the Irish problem. And not only he did not think so, but the Tories did not think so. So far were they from recognizing in Lord Spencer's action a satisfactory condition of things as an argument for maintaining coercion that they declared that the policy of coercion had failed and ought to be abandoned. I know the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Sleaford Division (Mr. Chaplin) said that he never approved the abandoment of the policy of Lord Spencer, for he thought that the policy of coercion ought to be maintained. The right hon. Gentleman nods his head; but his disapproval was an extremely cheap disapproval, because the right hon. Gentleman shared the spoils of the victors and took Office from the Government which disapproved of that policy. But what we contend is that the diminution of agrarian offences does not solve the Irish Question. What is the situation? What is the general condition of Ireland now? Ireland is in the hands of three powers—the Army, the Constabulary, and inferior tribunals of justice, tribunals which I do not hesitate in describing as inferior after the specimen we have had to-night, and no country in that condition by the side of a great and powerful State can be said to have made the least progress towards a satisfactory settlement. We whose Empire rests upon the goodwill and affection of every other people of which it is composed ought to blush up to our eyes when we find that Ireland is only to be kept by such means as those which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has described as a slow progress towards the solution of the Irish Question. I should like to know whether the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has considered the position of the Constabulary. In many respects I look with very great respect on the history of the Constabulary. On most occasions they have performed their duty admirably well, making allowance for all difficulties; but I am by no means sure that that position is not getting undermined. I put this question to the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues—Have not collisions between the Constabulary and the people, have not the occasions upon which the Constabulary have resorted to force in their dealings with the people, been more numerous within the 1335 last 12 months than they have been for a long, long period before? Will the right hon. Gentleman give us a Return stating the number of cases in which, during the last 12 months, the police have used their batons, and other Returns with respect to the use of their batons during other periods? I own I am not without apprehension that something like exasperation has grown up in the minds of the people with respect to the action of this force. At any rate, I think there is evidence which must lead one to wish that the Government could emphatically deny any such a suggestion, and can assure us that the relations between the Constabulary and the people at large are as good as they have been at other periods. I never heard until within the last 12 months or thereabouts that shopkeepers were refusing to serve them. That may be a small thing in amount, but it is menacing and ominous in its character. I confess, so far as I can judge of it, and owing to the action of the Government we can judge of it only very imperfectly, the position of the Constabulary shows that the progress of which the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer speaks is a progress not forwards, but backwards, as to the solution of the Irish Question. What are the evidences of failure on the other hand? The right hon. Gentleman has, I think, a difficult task before him when he has to meet the charges of the hon. Member for North-East Cork, who in February last defied the Government to contradict his statement that the Plan of Campaign was still holding its ground. Does the Plan of Campaign still hold its ground? You have been distinctly challenged tonight to say whether you can point out an instance in which the two great powers, the Government and the landlords, have triumphed over the Plan of Campaign. The National League we were told some time ago was a thing of the past, but it is now described by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer as full of great vigour in every quarter of Ireland. I am told that the right hon. Gentleman used the word "ubiquitous" also. [Mr. GOSCHEN signified his assent.] Well, what has been their success with regard to the great purpose of this Bill? The charge of my right hon. Friend near me was that this Bill was introduced for the 1336 purpose of promoting and bringing about the collection of rent in Ireland and for the occupation of derelict farms. These are the two tests of the success of the Bill, and it will not be denied that they were the great objects of the measures. Nothing has been said, nothing has been told us, about the occupation of derelict farms, though something has been told us about the collection of rents. I will not quote the words used by the right hon. Gentleman on a former occasion in this House, but I think I do not misrepresent their general effect when I say that in general the landlords of Ireland would be happy to get rents even such as were offered by the Plan of Campaign, but that in most cases rent could not be collected. These are evidences of failure which it seems to me infinitely outweigh the assertions of slow and partial success made by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer—Now, Sir, I should like to know this: The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer has challenged the words of this Motion. Does he think that the respect for law has increased among the people of Ireland generally since the enactment of the Crimes Act? Does he think that the estrangement of the people of Ireland, which is so much to be lamented, not from the people of England, but from the system of government enforced upon them—does he think that the estrangement has diminished? He does not seem ready to accept either of these challenges.
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr GOSCHEN) (St George's, Hanover Square)
I do not wish to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, and would not interrupt him but for his invitation. The statement in the Resolution is that we are undermining a respect for the law which did not exist, and are estranging the affections of the people of Ireland which we did not possess, during the time when the right hon. Gentleman was in Office.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
What the right hon. Gentleman has said does not in the slightest degree touch either of my challenges. My question was not whether respect for law existed or did not exist or in what degree, or what estrangement there had been or was not. My challenge was this. I believe now very strongly that the right hon. Gen- 1337 tleman does not believe that respect for law has increased since the passing of the Crimes Act in the minds of the people at large, and that he does not believe that the people at large are less estranged now than before the passing of the Crimes Act.
§ MR. GOSCHEN
I do not wish again to interrupt the right hon. Gentleman, but he is attributing to me sentiments which I do not entertain. The right hon. Gentleman interprets my silence as assent. I dissent entirely from his statement. I believe there has been increased respect for law, and I believe that we should have begun to diminish the estrangement but for the persistent efforts of the right hon. Gentleman.
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
Of all the practices of a Government in difficulties there is none so shabby as throwing upon the Opposition responsibility for the state of public affairs in Ireland. They are in Office; they have the whole powers of the State, and they can do what they please; they have got an arbitrary Act in their power. They have sent to prison all these people; and with all the power in their hands, what is the meaning of saying that the Opposition—not the Liberal Party, but a wing of the Liberal Party—is responsible for the state of things which exists? What I say to the contradiction of the right hon. Gentleman is this. Against his assertion of success I have given him proofs of failure, and so far as the estrangement is concerned—against the increasing estrangement from the injustice of the present system of government we have brought into action another powerful influence in diminishing the estrangement of the affections of the Irish people—within the last two years we have revived in their minds a confidence with which they believe the people of this country will put an end to whatever wrongs they still suffer. What we think is this, that there never was a period when the opposition was so sharply manifested between what is known as Dublin Castle and the people of Ireland. On the one hand, if you look at Ireland you will see the Government and its agents—powerful agencies, powerful political agencies, judicial agencies, and social agencies. On the other side you see the mass of the population, and every organ for the expression of opinion over which the mass of 1338 the population have influence, the Representatives of the people in this House, and the representatives of the people—a rather high class of people—in Municipal Corporations, and in almost every elective body, there are returned men from whom rise a unanimous chorus of protestation against the system on which the government is now carried on in Ireland. Nothing has been more striking in this respect than the fact, as we are told, that 19 Members out of the 86 Members who represent the national feeling have been sent to prison since the passing of the Crimes Act. Do you consider how grave that is? There was a time, Sir, in the history of this country when a Bill was introduced limiting the Prerogative of the Crown in making additions to the Peerage. They were to be reduced to a fixed number. On the occasion of that Bill Sir Robert Walpole said that in the history of this country the road to the Temple of Honour had theretofore lain through the Temple of Virtue, but it was now to lie—I believe that was the substance of his statement—through the dark paths of political intrigue. I do not think Sir Robert Walpole foresaw what would be the case of Ireland in 1888 with respect to the Temple of Honour? What in Ireland is now, in the hands of the present Government, the mode of access to the Temple of Honour? We have either reached, or we are coming very near to, a state of things in which, in the estimation of the Irish nation, the road to the Temple of Honour lies through the prison door. Nineteen Members of Parliament have been put into prison within 12 months, and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer talks about progress towards the solution of the Irish problem. What does he think has been the effect of those imprisonments on the constituents of those 19 Members? Were you to give us the power of access to our constituencies, every one of those 19 Members, I venture to say, would be returned to this House with greater enthusiasm and larger majorities, because they have been the object of the wrath of the Government that now exists. Now, Sir, in making this Motion, we pay a debt of honour to the Government. I admit that we in this House should make known at least, if we cannot set forth in all particulars, the substance of the ac- 1339 cusation we have to make against them, and which we intend to make against them in the country. We deal, Sir, as my right hon. Friend said, as in former years, with the nation, and not merely with the House—we have an appeal which the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues cannot take away from us. To that tribunal we will go, and the verdict of that tribunal we can foresee, and we are satisfied with it, and we rejoice in the sentence which we know it will and cannot but pronounce.
MR. SYDNEY LEDGE (Stockport)
said, he wished to point out that although the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Midlothian did not appear to disapprove of resistance to the law when those who resisted it were the hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite, he was very wrath with the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson), because of his declaration that if the right hon. Gentleman's Home Rule Bill had been passed, they in the North of Ireland would certainly resist the law. But there was great difference between the case of the hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway and the case of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had broken the law; they had committed offences for which they had been, in accordance with the law, brought before the magistrates and tried, and having been tried and convicted, had been sent to prison in accordance with the law, in many cases with an appeal of which they had availed themselves to the County Court Judges, which appeal had ended in every case in the appeal being confirmed. Well, which was the graver fact, that 19 Members of Parliament had been put in prison, because the Government had so willed it in order perhaps to prevent them from breaking the law or because they had broken the law, and that not a law made hundreds of years ago, but made in accordance with the will of the nation only last year? What was the use of the franchise being given to nearly every grown up man in the Kingdom; what was the use of a Dissolution of Parliament, and an appeal to the constituencies; what was the use of the people returning Representatives under the democratic form of Government of the country, if when the will of the country had been thus displayed, and 1340 Representatives were returned to represent them for a period of years, if the law made by those Representatives was to be set at defiance by Members of Parliament? Surely, those who made the laws, however much they might disapprove of them, should be the very first to set an example of obedience to them. Was it for a minority who did not like a particular law to say, "We don't like, and, therefore, we will disobey it?" If they took up that attitude, let them, at all events, accept the consequences like men. It was true that the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh had declared that if the Home Rule Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian had been passed, he and the North of Ireland would have resisted the law, but how would he have done it? He would have resisted it taking his life in his hands. He would have said that a law had been passed which it was beyond the power of the British Parliament to pass, that British subjects under their own British Parliament should be turned over to the jurisdiction of a Parliament of another kind, and he would have resisted with his sword and his life in his hands, and would have tried as a last resource the right to rebel, and would have taken the consequences. The hon. and gallant Gentleman would not have come down to complain of being compelled to wear frieze clothes—to wear the prison costume—he would have taken the consequences if he was beaten, like a man. If successful, he would be in the position that other successful rebels had been in, he would be no longer a rebel but a patriot, for successful rebellion was not called treason. He (Mr. Gedge) maintained that if the loyal minority in Ireland had been taken from the protection of the Parliament under which they had been born, and handed over to the tender mercies of an Irish Parliament, they would have had every right, being prepared, as he had said, to take the consequences, to try conclusions in the only way left to them by meeting force with force. They would have died in a bold, magnanimous way, and would not have whimpered because they had to bear the penalty of their acts; and if they were to have comparisons of that kind made, at all events let the right hon. Gentleman's clients bear their fate like men 1341 and not cry out that because they were Members of Parliament they should not be asked to wear the prison dress and submit to the ordinary prison discipline. What the right hon. Gentleman had said with regard to the frieze coat, he (Mr. Gedge) supposed would apply also to the absence of literature, to the plank bed, and to the prison diet. He did not suppose that a Gentleman who had been delicately brought up and accustomed to choice food was one who would be able to reconcile himself to the rough dietary of the prison—though prison food had been considered better than workhouse food—all these discomforts would be the same in the case of any man, peasant or gentleman, who was confined in gaol. In ordinary cases did a person who happened to be delicately brought up obtain better diet on that account? Not so. The Judge, in all probability, would tell the criminal who had been brought up as a gentleman, that the fact of his occupying such a position ought to have prevented him from falling into crime; and if the food and treatment were more severe upon a man on account of his being a gentleman, obviously it was all the more necessary for such as he to keep outside the prison walls. Sedition pure and simple was a political offence, and men in Ireland as well as in England who were guilty of that offence were treated as political prisoners, and not with the treatment meted out to ordinary criminals; but in the present case, though possibly under the guise of sedition, the ordinary law had been broken, and as a result the act was punished as all such breaches of the ordinary law would be punished so long as the country retained a United Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian was very tender and sympathetic indeed on this question of prison clothing, and no doubt if it had suited him he would have been equally sympathising with Mr. Dillon on the question of prison skilly. He had a great deal of sympathy to spare for all those who had been convicted of offences against the Crimes Act, and he had a great deal of sympathy to spare for all tenants who had been evicted. It was to be regretted that the right hon. Gentleman had not more sympathy to spare for those who had been Boycotted in Ireland, and that he had not more sympathy to spare for that large class 1342 who could not get the rents that were justly due to them, many of whose tenants had money and were willing to pay, but were not allowed to do so by reason of the tyranny of the Plan of Campaign. In a passage in the Sacred Volume he had found an exact description of the condition of things brought about by such uncharitable methods as those of the Plan of Campaign, and would read the words—The tongue of the sucking child cleaveth to the roof of his mouth for thirst. The young children ask for bread, and no man bringeth it to them.That had taken place over and over again, under the auspices of the National League, through the process which was called Boycotting, but which the right hon. Gentleman was pleased to term exclusive dealing. In the next verse he read—They that did feed delicately, were desolate in the streets; they that were brought up in scarlet, embrace dunghills.Just in this very way, through the action of the Plan of Campaign, delicate women were rendered destitute and unable to procure those things which were absolutely necessary, not only for comfort, but for mere existence. It had been said that the hon. Member who had been last put in prison was not responsible for the Plan of Campaign, and that the National League had had very little to do with it; but allow him (Mr. Gedge) to read to the House—and he was not going back very far into ancient history—a few words which fell from the hon. Member on the 17th October, 1886, and reported in United Ireland on the 23rd of that month. The hon. Member said—Now, what is the policy that the National League lays before you? When we find an estate upon which the people are courageous and determined, we advise them to meet together, each estate by itself, and decide what is a reasonable and fair reduction to make; in some cases, 50 or 60 per cent would be reasonable, in some cases less, in some cases more.He (Mr. Gedge) hoped the House would mark that—"More even than 60 per cent!"Let the tenants meet together, and decide what it is fair to ask, and if they are refused, there is but one course open to them if they are fighting according to the policy of brave men, that is, to pay a portion of the rent which they have offered to the landlord into the hands of two or three men whom they can trust. That must be done privately, and you must not in- 1343 form the public where the money is placed Then every man who is evicted can get an allowance from them so long as he is out, and I believe that if the landlord sees that, ho will not go very far. If you mean to fight really, you must put the money aside for two reasons—first, because you want the money to support the men who are first hit; and, secondly, because you want to prohibit traitors going behind your back. There is no way to deal with the traitor except to get his money under lock and key.A traitor, be it observed, was one who paid his rent against the behest of the Plan of Campaign, which cared nothing whether a man had money in his pocket to pay or not. The hon. Member said—There is no way to deal with a traitor except to get his money under lock and key, and if you find he pays his rent, and betrays the organization, what will you do with him? Close upon his money, and use it for the organization.Yes, close upon his money; but the hon. Gentleman who was now in gaol found that that was not quite sufficient to induce all those farmers who could pay their rent to refuse to do so for the sake of others who were unwilling to pay; and, therefore, on a later occasion, on the 23rd September last year, speaking in the Rotunda in Dublin, Mr. DillonDenounced as a traitor and as a coward any man who stood aside, and declared that he and his children after him would be remembered in the days near at hand when Ireland would be a free nation.What did the hon. Member mean by those words? How was this man who stood aside to be remembered? Why, said the hon. Member—If any man causes a prosecution to fall upon any of the Nationalist leaders, they will follow him to the ends of the earth, so that he will not find a refuge in Australia, America, or South America. If there is a man base enough to do this, I will denounce him from public platforms by name, and I pledge myself to the Government that that man's life will not be a happy one, either in Ireland or across the sea, and I say this with the intention of carrying out what I say.Yes, any man who honestly paid his rent, because in doing so he had disobeyed the dictates of the National League, was to be held up to execration and treated in such a way that he would be followed to the ends of the earth, in fact, that such a wretch should not be suffered to live, or that, if he lived, he should linger out a wretched miserable life in exile under police protection. The hon. Gentleman who uttered these sentiments was the 1344 man on behalf of whom they were asked for sympathy, because he was put in prison for breaking the law, and because his sentence had been confirmed, and because he was subjected to the indignity of wearing frieze clothes. To what sort of indignity would this hon. Member have subjected this "traitor," as he called him, who honestly paid his rent? What was the wearing of frieze clothes in comparison with a man being made unhappy in this— not in the other, because the hon. Member could not reach the next world—but, at any rate, in the new world across the Pacific? He (Mr. Gedge) admitted that on the two former occasions on which the hon. Member was in prison he had not to wear prison clothes; but he should think that a true-hearted free Englishman or Irishman would look upon such a thing as that as mere fringe—what he would care most about would be the deprivation of his liberty—liberty to live outside stone walls, and to take his place in this House, and speak on behalf of his country. These were serious points and consequences and discomforts, of which they could conceive a man of mark and magnanimity complaining; but Mr. Dillon had twice suffered those misfortunes at the hands of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, and yet they knew that the right hon Gentleman was once intensely fond of Mr. Dillon. He (Mr. Gedge) had desired to fortify his judgment with regard to the present question by reference to precedents, and he had therefore referred to the time, not so very long ago, when Mr. Dillon and the hon. Member for Cork had been put in prison by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian. He had looked back last night at a series of speeches the right hon. Gentleman had delivered in Leeds at that time (October, 1881), and he had found therein statements by the right hon. Gentleman that he really thought were worth disinterring, not only for their intrinsic merit, as, of course, everything that the right hon. Gentleman said was valuable, not only for their copiousness and eloquence of language, but on account of their absolute applicability to the present time. On the 7th of October the right hon. Gentleman overwhelmed Mr. Dillon with his praises, not only as an honourable man, but on account of his conduct with regard to 1345 the Land Act which had just been passed. The House would be good enough to bear that in mind, because, later on, he (Mr. Gedge) would have to refer to it again. They knew that the Land Act which had just been passed was to work a cure for all Irish grievances, the Act of 1870, which was to have done the same thing, having failed. The Act had not had the fair start which the right hon. Gentleman wished for, because the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) had rather set his face against it—the hon. Member did not like it, and, in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman, was unwilling to give it a fair trial. The hon. Member had at that time stated that he hoped his friends would not make indiscriminate use of the Act, but that they were first to try a few test cases; and he was accused by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian of intending to select test cases in which the rents were so moderate that the Judicial Court would not lower those rents, in order that the result might be that the hon. Member would direct the attention of farmers to this, and say—"We have taken a number of test cases, and we find the reductions so frivolous that it is not worth your while to go under the Act at all." That was the right hon. Gentleman's opinion as to the hon. Member for the City of Cork; but, for some reason or other, he thought Mr. Dillon took an opposite view. While the Act was being passed, Mr. Dillon had been locked up by the right hon. Gentleman. On the 7th of October, speaking at Leeds, the right hon. Gentleman gave Mr. Dillon the highest eulogies; he referred to him as an hon. MemberWho was lately, in the discretion of the Government, confined in prison.Was not that phrase, "discretion of the Government," touchingly euphemistic? One wondered what Mr. Dillon thought of this discretion. He said—He thought Mr. Dillon, alone among his Friends, had not intercepted the beneficent action of the Land Act.That Act which, according to the right hon. Gentleman, gave the Irish people a splendid opportunity of becoming prosperous and happy. The right hon. Gentleman's statesmanship or his foresight was somewhat at fault, however, because, although he had been in power 1346 five years, he had not got Ireland into a state of prosperity, and he had found it necessary to resort to a strong Coercion Act in 1882, and again in 1886, to endeavour to upset everything in Ireland by giving that country a Parliament of its own. As a matter of fact, the right hon. Gentleman could only point to his different Acts as monuments of his failures. When his policy had so utterly failed, and his prophecies had proved so false, what right had he to expect to be accepted as a guide in the future? But to return to the right hon. Gentleman's speech at Leeds. After eulogizing Mr. Dillon, he had proceeded to slate the hon. Member for Cork, describing him in very bitter language as one who was not ashamed to preach the doctrine of public plunder. But what had the hon. Member done? The right hon. Gentleman had, under his Land Act, enabled the Land Courts to strike down the rents which had been fixed, a great many of them since the Act of 1870, which had given compensation for disturbance, and the passing of which was to make every tenant answerable for his contracts. What was the line which divided the right hon. Gentleman's plan embodied in his Land Act, from that of the hon. Member for Cork? The only difference between the two policies was that the right hon. Gentleman proposed to reduce rents by some 25 or 30 per cent, while the hon. Member for Cork proposed to reduce them by from 50 to 70 per cent. The right hon. Gentleman believed that it was quite justifiable to reduce them by 25 to 30 per cent, but thought that it was public plunder to reduce them by from 50 to 70 per cent. So strongly did the right hon. Gentleman feel this, that he used these words—Mr. Parnell's case I take frankly as exhibiting what I mean when I say the state of things in Ireland is coming to a question between the law on the one hand, and sheer lawlessness on the other.Having shown Mr. Parnell's disloyalty to the Crown and hatred of England, as contrasted with O'Connell, and having reviled him for—Months ago telling the people that they ought to pay no rents they had contracted to pay—that they ought to pay rents only according to Griffith's valuation—in fact, to substitute an arbitrary standard for the standard to which they had themselves individually agreed,he said— 1347Now Mr. Parnell has a new and enlarged gospel of public plunder to proclaim.The hon. Member for the City of Cork, the right hon. Gentleman said, held that the landlord was entitled to nothing but the original value of the land before the spade was put into it. The right hon. Gentleman indignantly asked—Is it possible to describe proceedings of that kind in any words more just than the propagation of the gospel of sheer plunder?But worse was behind; the right hon. Gentleman bad said that the hon. Member for the City of Cork was associated with people in America who recommended the use of dynamite, pointing out that the hon. Member himself had called the death at Salford by a dynamite explosion a practical joke. But, worst of all, the hon. Member for the City of Cork had used every effort he possibly could—and this seemed to be the chief offence of the hon. Member in the eyes of the right hon. Gentleman—to disparage, to discredit, and, if he possibly could, to destroy the Land Act, recommending test cases, instead of using the measure. This was the bitterest pill of all for the right hon. Gentleman to swallow, and in revenge he imprisoned Mr. Parnell. But meanwhile, on the 11th October, Mr. Dillon replied to the right hon. Gentleman, repudiating his eulogy, and saying that the right hon. Gentleman knew nothing about him. Mr. Dillon accused the right hon. Gentleman of having locked him up in Kilmainham "for opposing the Land Bill," because the Government did not wish to hear the truth, and so locked him up until the Land Act was safely through. He then denounced the right hon. Gentleman in regard to his action in the Transvaal, and for his dishonest public utterances to the Boers—his "black treachery towards them." Now, what did the right hon. Gentleman do? On the 13th of that month, after a Cabinet meeting, at which, no doubt, the matter was decided, the hon. Member for the City of Cork was arrested, and on the same evening the right hon. Gentleman announced the fact in this form at the Guildhall—The Government recognizes that it is charged in Ireland with the most arduous and solemn duties"—and he (Mr. Gedge) trusted the House would take notice of these words, as they 1348 exactly represented the position the Government was now in—and those duties, to the best of its ability, it is determined to perform. Those are not words alone; our determination has been that they should be carried into acts, and even within the last few moments I have been informed that towards the vindication of law, of order, and the rights of property, of the freedom of the land, of the first elements of political life and civilization, the first step has been taken in the arrest of the man who, unhappily—from motives which I do not challenge, and with which I have nothing to do—has made himself beyond all others prominent in the attempt to destroy the authority of the law, and to substitute what would end in being nothing more nor less than an anarchical oppression exercised upon the people of Ireland.Yes; the right hon. Gentleman would make the traitors less unhappy. There was this marked difference between the positions of the two Governments. Then, the Opposition supported the Government of the day manfully and loyally in maintaining the law; whereas the Opposition now supported those who were engaged in lawlessness, and Her Majesty's Government were hampered and embarrassed at every point by the action of the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends. In the speech at the Guildhall the right hon. Gentleman went on to tell the people of the country what was the crime of the hon. Member for the City of Cork, and he said that he had been trying to persuade the people of Ireland not to make a full trial of the Land Act. His words were—That with which we are struggling is a power which presumes to go between the people and the law, and which tells them how far, where, how, and on what terms they are to have the benefit of the law.And for that, he said, he had locked up the hon. Member for the City of Cork—We fear," he said, "lest the people should one by one be terrified out of the exercise of their just constitutional rights, and be unhappily induced, through intimidation and no other motive, to make over their private liberty and the exercise of their civil rights into the hands of self-constituted dictators, and to place those rights under the unknown provisions of an unwritten law dictated by nothing but arbitrary will.Would it be possible to describe the recent action of the hon. Member for East Mayo in more accurate language? But on the 15th of October Mr. Dillon and other Members were arrested for— 1349Being reasonably suspected of having been guilty of a crime punishable by law—namely, inciting other persons to intimidate divers persons with a view to compel them to abstain from doing what they had a legal right to do—that was, to pay rents lawfully due by them.Not only was the hon. Member for the City of Cork put into prison because he tried to persuade the people not to take advantage of the Land Act, but the hon. Member for East Mayo, whom the right hon. Gentleman had gone out of his way to praise when he believed he would give his aid in working the Act, was sent to prison because he rejected the eulogy of the right hon. Gentleman. At that time the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian and hon. Members below the Gangway had not formed themselves into that Mutual Admiration Society with which people were now so amused. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. A. J. Balfour) was accused by hon. Gentlemen opposite with having locked up Mr. Dillon for political motives; but in the Spring of 1881 the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian locked him up without any trial at all, for, as he said, opposing the Land Act; and in October he locked him up again because he would not submit to the praises of the right hon. Gentleman, and he imprisoned the hon. Member for Cork because he had tried to induce the people of Ireland to test the Land Act. He would ask the House which was better, and which was worse—to lock up a man without trial on so-called suspicion, to lock him up avowedly because he took his own course in advising the people of Ireland not to exercise a legal right, or to lock up a man under a formal process of law, because, as in the case of Mr. Dillon, he had incited the people to disobey the law? Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen had now formed themselves into a Mutual Admiration Society, and eulogy had replaced the vituperation with which the right hon. Gentleman used to refer to hon. Gentlemen from Ireland below the Gangway. No doubt, the right hon. Gentleman attempted to justify his present attitude towards these men by asserting that their objects and methods were changed; but he (Mr. Gedge) found that on the 23rd of August last, Mr. Dillon, speaking at the Rotunda in Dublin, said they would go on their path showing no 1350 change in their attitude or policy; and he added—I say it deliberately, that we shall be less scrupulous in this—that whereas in the past we urged the tenantry to demand less than what was their just rights, I now tell them to double their demands.This was the extent of the change—the land was to be brought down to prairie value. The men who taught these doctrines were no longer held up to blame; they were praised up to the skies, and spoken of as men who ought not to be put in prison, and who, if they were to be put in prison, should, at least, be permitted to wear their own trousers. The change was in right hon. Gentlemen opposite, not in the Irish Members, not in the Government and their supporters. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite said that those were unregenerate days, and somewhat irreverently explained the change that had taken place by saying that they had "found salvation." He would be slow to charge those who had accepted the Gospel of Christ with any of their words or acts in their unregenerate days. But what was the gospel which those right hon. Gentlemen had embraced? Was it the gospel of peace? No. It was the gospel of plunder, and upon a conversion of that kind he did not think it was incumbent upon them to offer the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends congratulation. One would expect from a recent convert a little humility—a sincere convert would, at any rate, have that virtue; but right hon. Gentlemen opposite would not put on sackcloth and ashes as they ought to do for their past sins. On the contrary, they said that when they did these things in the past they were in the right; but that when the present Government did the same things, they were deserving of the censure of every honest man. Last year the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian twice addressed meetings in London on this subject, and on the 19th of April, 1887, he said that—Neither then, nor at any time, had he given utterance to the sentiment, nor had he entertained the suspicion, that the followers of the hon. Member for the City of Cork were associated with crime.And at Dr. Parker's house, on the 11th of May in the same year, addressing an admiring crowd of Nonconformist ministers, he said— 1351He believed that their intention was dangerous and their pleas questionable; that they had a tendency to the production of crime; but that that was a totally different thing from complicity with crime.The natural question was, how came it about that the right hon. Gentleman had imprisoned several of these Gentlemen whom, it now appeared, he did not believe to be associated with crime? In 1881, on introducing the Protection of Person and Property Act, the right hon. Gentleman said—No one can be arrested except on reasonable suspicion that he has been a principal or an accessory to some crime punishable by law.It appeared, by the official Return made to the House on the 7th March, 1882, that the hon. Member for the City of Cork was imprisoned on reasonable suspicion of having been guilty as principal of a crime punishable by law—namely, of treasonable practices. Did not the right hon. Gentleman consider treason a crime? But he said more than this; he declared in this House in February, 1882, that, when the Government imprisoned Mr. Parnell, Mr. Dillon, and their Colleagues, they had acted not upon suspicion, but upon proof of their criminality. How could the right hon. Gentleman reconcile that with the statement that he never believed the Leaders of the League to have been associated with crime? He (Mr. Gedge) would not, like his right hon. Friend below the Gangway (Mr Chaplin), call down on himself the wrath of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian by pleading as an excuse for these mutually contradictory statements that his memory was failing; he preferred to leave the right hon. Gentleman in the dilemma, and he might extricate himself from it as best he could. But when hon. Members on the Government side asked, in view of these precedents, why Her Majesty's Government should be open to censure because they had prosecuted Members of Parliament for crime, and because imprisonment had followed their conviction, they were met with the charge that they had been false to their pledges. A charge of that kind might assuredly be repelled in the strongest language they could command; and, therefore, he said it was absolutely false; neither he (Mr. Gedge) himself, nor any of the many Unionist candidates whose election addresses had 1352 come under his notice, had pledged himself against what was called wrongly coercion for Ireland. He had endeavoured to show that, whatever might be the conduct of Her Majesty's Government, it did not lie in the mouths of right hon. Gentlemen opposite to abuse them for having done their best to maintain the law in Ireland; he had endeavoured to show that the condition of things in Ireland with which the Government had to deal was accurately described by the language of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian in 1891 and 1882, and that the Government had recourse to arrest not on simple suspicion, but on process of law, and that the law alone had been carried out. When he listened to the carefully prepared statement read by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne attacking the Government, and saw how poor a case he made out, when he found that they were to be relegated to an appeal to the country for a ratification or otherwise of their acts, and when he remembered the just and Constitutional nature of those acts, he felt that, whatever might be said, the Government were secure. Did the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne know so little of the Constitution of the country, and the essential elements of freedom in all countries, as not to know that when once a Government had directed a prosecution its functions with regard to the case were determined? That was the case, however, and God forbid that the time should ever come when the Government of this country should interfere with the process of the law! It only remained to him now to thank the House for their attention to the reasons he had given for voting with the fullest confidence against the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
§ MR. J. E. ELLIS (Nottingham, Rushcliffe)
said, that he noticed that when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) put his Motion on the Paper, the supporters of the Government, in the Press and elsewhere, congratulated themselves that now an opportunity had been given of showing the majority supporting the Government. He was not one of those who attached very great importance to the state of the figures in 1353 the Division which was about to take place; that Division was only one of a series of incidents in the great struggle in which they were involved, and, whatever the decision might be that night, they would have to appeal elsewhere hereafter. Now, he was glad the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. John Morley) had placed the Motion on the Paper, because, although he was not fortunate enough to see any hon. or right hon. Members on the Treasury Bench, it was in that House that they were bound to bring their accusations against the Government with respect to the policy they were pursuing in Ireland. Although they might, and must, and should state on public platforms outside the feelings they entertained in the matter, still it was there, face to face with their antagonists, face to face with the Government and its supporters, that they were bound to make their accusations, and bring forward their proofs in support of their accusations. Now, anyone who took part in this debate, occupying, as he did, the humble position of an independent Member of the Opposition, was bound to be pretty definite, and to compress within reasonable limits any remarks he might have to make. He should endeavour to be brief; but, before he proceeded to cite cases of remarkable inaccuracy on the part of the Chief Secretary, and to give one or two illustrations of the manner in which these so-called Courts of Justice were conducted, he wished to refer to something which fell from the Chancellor of the Exchequer last night. He regretted that he had to do that in the right hon. Gentleman's absence, and in the absence of any Member of the Government. In his opinion, it was a matter of some reproach to the Government, at the time of a grave and great debate like that, that they should have absolutely no Representative present in the House. [The FIRST COMMISSIONER OF WORKS (Mr. Plunket) at that moment entered the House.] The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen), in his speech last night, in the sepulchral tones which had been commented on by the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien), read an extract from the speech of Mr. Dillon delivered at Tully-alien. It was suggested to the right hon. Gentleman by the hon. Gentleman the Member for North-East Cork that 1354 he should read on—that he should read the context; but the right hon. Gentleman did not comply with that request. Now, he (Mr. J. E. Ellis) was going to supply the omission, and he ventured to say that after those hon. Members who did him the honour to listen to him had heard the words, they would think that they put a somewhat different complexion on the speech of Mr. Dillon from that which the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) had endeavoured to convey to the House. In that speech, for uttering which Mr. Dillon now lies in Dundalk Gaol, he used this language—What has been the curse of Ireland in the past, when time after time again the Leaders of the people have endeavoured to lead the poor tenantry of Ireland out of the land of bondage and the land of Egypt, even as Moses tried to lead the Israelites out of bondage in the past? What has been the curse of every previous movement? It has been the traitor, the man who, in the thickest of the fight, would turn his back upon his comrades, and basely betray the cause which he was pledged by every principle of honour to sustain. Looking back upon the history of our country, I come to the conclusion that if we could not place before our people some policy by which the traitor would be prevented breaking up our combinations, we could never hope to win our cause, and to do that which was also a dear policy to my heart.The following were the words he particularly desired to draw the attention of the First Commissioner of Works (Mr. Plunket), who was the only Member of the Government present—namely:—Warn the Irish people from the methods they used to adopt towards traitors. What used they to do to traitors in the old times? They used to shoot them. I want to turn our people aside from that course; it is a course natural to desperate men. It is an idea which naturally occurs to men when they see they are betrayed; but it is a course which will not lead to victory, and I want to place before the people of Ireland a Christian and moderate plan by which they could put down this system of rack-renting and treachery to which the people of Ireland have been so long subjected, and emancipate this beautiful country from the rule of the cruellest, and most detestable, and most ruinous tyranny which ever brooded over any nation in the history of the world.He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) thought it was hardly fair of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer to pick out from what he had just quoted what Mr. Dillon said in regard to a "traitor." He maintained—and he should be unworthy of the honour of being called a 1355 friend of Mr. Dillon if he did not in that House raise his humble tribute to Mr. Dillon in this matter—he maintained that he had never come across a man in the House or out of the House who endeavoured more fully and more urgently to win the people away from the bad courses to which their history had addicted them than did Mr. Dillon. He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) wished to refer for one moment to the speech which was made by the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell). The hon. Member observed— though his statement was immediately challenged by the hon. and learned Member for North Longford (Mr. T. M. Healy)—that the Government had only appointed three of the present Resident Magistrates in Ireland. The Chief Secretary (Mr. A. J. Balfour) or the hon. and learned Gentleman the Solicitor General for Ireland (Mr. Madden)—he (Mr. J. E. Ellis) forgot which—in his place that afternoon, in reply to a Question, admitted that 10 Resident Magistrates had been appointed by the present Government. If many of the statements which the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) laid before the House last night in respect to the Massereene estate were as incorrect as his statement in repect to Resident Magistrates, the value of his speech must be judged by that circumstance. He wished to very warmly and earnestly support the protest which fell from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone), founded, as it was, upon the right hon. Gentleman's vast experience of Business in that House during the last 50 years, against the way in which they had been treated by Her Majesty's Government in the matter of information not only in regard to this debate, but in regard to other discussions which had taken place respecting their conduct of the government of Ireland. There had been an absolute and entire lack of official information laid before them in time to be of any use in this debate, and in such a manner that one could easily analyze it and understand it. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goschen) quoted last night some figures respecting Boycotting. Surely it was one of the very first principles of fair play that when they had any controversy upon any subject the evidence should be in the hands 1356 of both Parties. It was surely disrespectful to the House that the figures with respect to Boycotting had not been laid before the House in such a form and at a time when hon. Members could analyze them, and make themselves masters of them. From the time the Government placed the Boycotting Return on the Table till now, they had persistently and consistently refused to give hon. Members the slightest means of testing their accuracy, and he maintained that the figures given in that Return were absolutely and entirely worthless for any purposes of discussion. The other night it was shown that a certain policeman, knowing that a barn had been burned down by accident, entered it in the Return as an outrage; because, as he said in his evidence in Court, there was no place in which he could enter it, except under the heading "outrage." No explanation of that was given by the Chief Secretary, except that, of course, now that the matter had come to be examined and sifted, and attention had been drawn to it in Parliament, care would be taken that the entry should be expunged and the Return made accurate. Then, as to the Return of increased sentences, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary went down to Battersea on the 17th of May, which was the day the Return was laid before the House, and used the Return in a most highly argumentative speech. From that day up to the 8th of June that Return was inaccessible to any Member of the House of Commons; no Member could ascertain for three weeks whether the Chief Secretary had used the Return when he made his speech. They only got the key of the Return on the 20th of June, and it turned out after all that there was not a single case of the 14 cases of increased sentences which came under the Crimes Act of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian. The Chief Secretary, however, in his speech led everyone to suppose that he had found 14 cases during the Administration of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) in which the same thing had been done of which they had been complaining during this year—namely, increase of sentences under the Crimes Act. He would not dwell at length upon the most curious and 1357 most singular course which had been pursued by this Administration in reference to the judgment in the Killeagh case, when words had fallen from the highest authority in the House—from Mr. Speaker in the Chair—intimating that when a Cabinet Minister had quoted from a document, he was bound, under certain circumstances, to lay that document on the Table. The First Lord of the Treasury (Mr. W. H. Smith) got up in his place, and in response to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) said the Government must wait and see the Motion of the right hon. Member, and then they would decide what should be done. Only one inference could possibly be drawn from the extraordinary reluctance of the Government to give information to the House. The Government were afraid to let the House and the country know the facts with respect to their government of Ireland. Not only were the Government reluctant to let hon. Members know things, but the want of knowledge on the part of the Chief Secretary in respect to what was passing in Ireland was most extraordinary. The Member for North Manchester (Mr. Schwann) put a Question the other night which merely arose out of what he saw and heard at Dundalk last Wednesday. The hon. Member asked whether any instructions had recently been given to the Constabulary in Ireland with respect to interfering with assemblies after trials had taken place in a town. The Chief Secretary actually pleaded, as he often pleaded in answer to hon. Members, although the Question had been on the Paper the whole of the day, that he was unable to answer it, and he asked the hon. Member to defer his Question till another day. Surely the right of assembly was an important, an ancient, and Constitutional right; and if any instructions had been given to the Constabulary with respect to this matter during the last six months, as by the confession of the Chief Secretary they had, they ought to have been known to the right Gentleman—he ought to have been able to tell the House either that such instructions had been given or that they had not. The testimony was universal, and absolutely uncontradicted, that during the last six months the Constabulary had acted in regard to 1358 assemblages of persons in towns and in rural districts after trials in a manner which was perfectly unprecedented. Now he turned to a few illustrations of the inaccuracy which characterized the answers of the Chief Secretary in that House, to the remarkable subterfuges and evasions which had become with the right hon. Gentleman almost a fine art. He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) asked a Question on the 19th of April with respect to a certain District Inspector Shannon, at Ennis. He asked, in a case tried at Ennis on the 13th of April, arising out of the proceedings at Ennis on the 8th of April, when Mr. Shannon was instructing District Inspector Hill, who was conducting the prosecution for the Government, whether that gentleman was the private secretary of Colonel Turner, who was in command of the police and military on the 8th of April; whether during the proceedings a large body of soldiers were marched into Court with their rifles on their shoulder, and placed in one of the galleries; and what was the object of this military demonstration in a Court of Justice? The reply of the Chief Secretary was—District Inspector Shannon was not instructing District Inspector Hill, though he was undoubtedly giving him assistance. District Inspector Shannon is not Colonel Turner's private secretary. There was no military demonstration in Court; but some soldiers were placed in one of the galleries, in order to prevent a repetition of such disgraceful scenes of disorder as had on previous occasions occurred in the courthouse."—(3 Hansard,  1712.)The hon. Member for West Kerry (Mr. Edward Harrington) asked—What is Mr. Shannon's exact position?The right hon. Gentleman replied—I will not be sure, but I believe his title is Special Crimes Officer.The hon. Member for West Kerry then said—Then he is under Colonel TurnerAnd the Chief Secretary answered, "naturally." He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) cared not whether this man was the private secretary to Colonel Turner, or crimes officer under Colonel Turner. He cared not whether there was a military demonstration in Court, or whether the soldiers were placed in the gallery. He imagined, however, that when Oliver Cromwell came to that House and that historical scene took place there was a military demonstration. He imagined that if 1359 they saw a company of Her Majesty's soldiers in the galleries of that House they would call it a military demonstration. He would not quarrel with the right hon. Gentleman as to the use of the term; but he maintained that when soldiers filled the galleries of a Court of Justice, as they did at Ennis, it was a military demonstration—[Mr. T. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour): With rifles in their hands]—A most remarkable thing took place in Court. A report said—At this point a large body of the Derbyshire Infantry were marched into the Court with their rifles on shoulder, and occupied the gallery. Mr. Harrington said he did not know what the meaning of this military demonstration was for. There was a tradition of such a thing having been done in the days of John Philpott Curran. It was a monstrous thing that such a demonstration should take place, and he protested against it. Captain Keogh: The Court is in the hands of the Sheriff. Mr. Harrington: Oh, no, your worship; you have the full charge of your Court, and I must saddle you with the responsibility of their being here.—Captain Keogh; We are merely here in a judicial capacity, and we know nothing about the arrangements which are made by the Executive Authorities, and we will not interfere.That was precisely what Colonel Carew said; he used language which he (Mr. J. E. Ellis) quoted in the House on the 15th of February, and which had never been contradicted. Colonel Carew said—I have received orders from the Government which I am not at liberty to disregard.He now went to another case, a case which occurred at Wexford in October. It was a case which at the present day could only be found in Ireland. Mr. Healy said—Before this case commences I wish to ask is this an open Court? Mr. M'Leod: I think so.—Mr. Healy: I asked a policeman outside, and he said the Court was full. I observed that the galleries are perfectly empty, and I wish to ask why the people are kept out?—Mr. M'Leod: The Court is fairly constituted, and is an open Court. Mr. Healy: Then why are the people kept out?—Mr. M'Leod: I don't know anything about that. Mr. Healy: Is it by the order of the Court?—Mr. M'Leod: We have no specific order. Mr. Healy: I wish to ask is it by the order of the Court the public are kept out?—Mr. M'Leod: I gave no order at all.There they had a presiding magistrate who did not regard himself as in full charge of his Court; he was under orders; he sat there in alliance with and under the orders of the Executive Government. He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) 1360 asked a Question a little later with respect to a certain Colonel Tynte, Resident Magistrate. He asked whether it was not a fact that he had actually tried and sentenced three men in their absence, the men being kept out of Court by the police? The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary made a long explanation which would be found duly reported in Hansard. The Chief Secretary admitted that Colonel Tynte did try the men and give his decision in their absence. The men were kept out of the Court by the police. It was true the righthon. Gentleman explained that when the magistrate came to understand the matter he tried them over again. If, however, it had not been for the interposition of the counsel at the moment, they might not, and probably would not, have been tried over again. Then he came to a most extraordinary statement which the right hon. Gentleman made at Stalybridge, and it bore on the question of the accuracy of the right hon. Gentleman, which was the point on which he (Mr. J. E. Ellis) was addressing the House at the present moment. The right hon. Gentleman said at Stalybridge on the 24th of March that there had been no interference whatever with the freedom of the Press. He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) would not say that that was not literally true; but he maintained that with men of ordinary minds, and with people of ordinary common sense, the fact of the imprisonment of Mr. T. D. Sullivan, Mr. Alderman Hooper, Mr. Edward Harrington, Mr. Edward Walsh, and Mr. T. Harrington would be taken as evidence that the freedom of the Press had been interfered with during the right hon. Gentleman's administration. Then, at Battersea, the right hon. Gentleman said that no lads and poor men had been imprisoned for selling copies of Irish newspapers. The hon. Member for North Cork (Mr. Flynn) brought forward cases which the right hon. Gentleman was unable to contradict. The hon. Gentleman brought forward half-a-dozen cases in the City of Cork alone during a period of something like three months, in which poor men and lads were put in prison for selling newspapers.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E.)
I contradicted them all categorically.
§ MR. J. E. ELLIS
said, he listened to the right hon. Gentleman's answer with great respect, as he did to all his answers. The right hon. Gentleman said the men and boys were put in prison for a different offence altogether—namely, creating an obstruction in the streets. If a man selling The Globe outside Palace Yard was imprisoned, no one would say he was punished for creating an obstruction, but for selling a newspaper in the streets. Again, he (Mr. J. E. Ellis) asked the Chief Secretary on the 31st of May—Whether, immediately preceding the visit of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) to Newtownards at the end of April, the District Inspector and Head Constable of police visited the proprietress of the Ulster Hotel, and urged her not to let the hall on her premises (in which the farmers of the district usually hold their meetings) for any meeting at which the hon. Member was to be present; and whether, on the meeting of the farmers of the district addressed by the hon. Member being held elsewhere, constables were posted at the entrance to the room, and what was the object of this proceeding? "—(3 Hansard  746–7.)There were three statements in the question, that the District Inspector visited the proprietress of the hotel, that he urged her not to let the hall, and that constables were posted outside another hall where the meeting was eventually held. The right hon. Gentleman, on the authority of the District Inspector, replied that the District Inspector at Newtownards answered all the paragraphs of the Question in the negative. Another Question was asked on the 7th of June by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) on behalf of the hon. Member for South Down (Mr. M'Cartan) in regard to the very same circumstances. The right hon. Gentleman then admitted that the District Inspector did call upon the proprietress of the hotel, but denied that the District Inspector urged her not to let the hall, a point about which he (Mr. J. E. Ellis) had very considerable doubt. The right hon. Gentleman admitted also that constables were placed outside the other hall—that was to say, that on the 7th of June the right hon. Gentleman was forced to admit two out of three of the statements he had categorically denied on the 31st of May. [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR dissented.] The right hon. Gentleman shook his head; but shaking of the head would not dispose of the matter. Then the right hon. Gentleman was asked on 1362 April 19 a Question with respect to certain depositions, and he (Mr. J. E. Ellis) alluded to this, because it threw a most important light on the manner in which evidence was got up in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman was asked if his attention had been called to a report in The Freeman's Journal of the 16th of April—In which it was stated that constable Watson was handed a deposition, dated 9th April, which he stated that he had signed, and owing to which three men were charged with stone throwing, and, whether he has noticed the following question and answer of the witness:—Mr. Harrington: I have only one question to ask you. In the deposition did you say one word about stones being thrown from buildings?— No, I'did not"—(3 Hansard,  1734–5.)The Chief Secretary replied—The Question was only put down last night, and I have been, therefore, unable to receive a reply from Ireland to my communication; but I may say that the report in The Freeman's Journal, as to what has been passing in the Court House at Ennis, is in no way to be depended upon."—(Ibid.)Why did the right hon. Gentleman go out of his way to try to discredit out of the ablest-conducted papers in Ireland? The Irish Times—the ardent supporters of the Government—of the same day contained this paragraph—Constable Watson was recalled, and stated, in reply to Mr. Harrington, that he had made a deposition in prosecuting a man for stone throwing on the Sunday in question, but in it he had said nothing about stones coming from the houses.That threw a lurid light on the way in which depositions were got up in Ireland. He would not say anything about Mitchelstown—that had been pretty well dealt with. But the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary might be sure that they would for long, and the English people would for long also, remember Mitchelstown. The right hon. Gentleman, in reply to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Huddersfield (Mr. Summers), made use of an expression with regard to certain proceedings which was most unwarrantable for a man in his high position. He withdrew the word "corrupt." He said—I am not sure that I used that word. I never intended to convey what that word usually means when I applied it to a tribunal—namely, that it had been bribed, or had sold the course of justice for a consideration. What I ought to have said was that the tribunal was incompetent and worthless.1363 The proceedings were only quashed by the Superior Court on technical grounds. The right hon. Gentleman had given his account of the proceedings; let hon. Members have copies of the depositions, which, as the Coroner remarked, were in the Crown Office. He now went on to give one or two illustrations of the proceedings in Courts in Ireland. There was a certain Resident Magistrate of the name of Meldon, a man whom he had dealt with before. Mr. Meldon adjudicated in a case at a place called Mullinahone on the 18th of May. The solicitor for the defendant asked—What were the instructions you got?—I refuse to answer. Mr. Bolton said that he did not object to the question being answered. Witness said that he would give the information, but he would not give the name of the person who gave the instructions. They were given by a superior officer in Waterford. Mr. Weldon said that this was wholly irrelevant, and he would not allow the question. The man should not give the instructions of his superior officer. Mr. Redmond argued that it was for the witness to claim the privilege, and not the Bench. The only form the Bench had was to tell the man that he could claim privilege.—Mr. Meldon (to the Petty Sessions clerk): We have heard enough of this. Read over the depositions. Mr. Redmond: I must say that this is a very summary way of disposing of the question.—Mr. Meldon: Well, we won't have any more of it.—Mr. Redmond: The highest Court in the Realm would not dispose of a question like that.He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) contended that that was not the manner in which a Court of Justice should be conducted. He would only say, in conclusion, a very few words with respect to the case which was tried at Dundalk on Wednesday last—he felt bound, as a friend of Mr. Dillon's, to advert to it. He wished it were possible—he wished he had it in his power to bring before the mind of every hon. Member of the House a picture of what took place on that occasion. The Bench was filled on that occasion with men who were all landlords, or friends more or less of the governing landlord class in Ireland. The police were in charge of a man whose name was a bye-word down in County Kerry, a man named Supples, a man whose record as a landlord was one of the most infamous in Ireland. The Judge, Judge Kisbey, was a man who had been appointed recently by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, and was a more or less violent political partizan. The observations the Judge made at the end of the proceed- 1364 ings struck him very forciby indeed. Mr. Dillon asked that the first case should be decided. The Judge remarked—If you had counsel to represent you, you would probably have acceded to the suggestion that we should try both, and give sentence after; but as you have not counsel I will do as you suggest. Give me a copy of the speech, and I will be back in a few minutes.He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) had no hesitation in saying, in view of the demeanour of the Judge, that Judge Kisbey had made up his mind about the case before entering the Court. At Question time that day the hon. Member for Scarborough (Mr. Rowntree) made the statement, and it was unchallenged, that the policemen came down the street on that occasion, and with their rifles hit their hardest people who were doing no harm at all. He (Mr. J. E. Ellis) saw such a scene on that occasion which he should never forget. One of the most honourable of men was driven away to Dundalk Gaol, accompanied by a troop of Cavalry, and never were the Queen's uniforms seen to less advantage than on that occasion. The effect on his mind was to make him determine to work still harder, if possible, to overthrow the system which now obtained in Ireland. They cared comparatively little respecting the figures of the Division that night. They would go on undeterred by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite. They believed that their cause was founded, as the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien), in his most eloquent language said, upon the reconciliation of the two people. There was nothing the Government brought forward, there was no speech made on that side, or on this side by supporters of the Government, but what was tainted by bitter and bygone hatred. He and his hon. Friends were sure that, by persevering steadily and unwaveringly in laying the facts before the people of the country, they were doing all they could to bring about a certain and not distant victory.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR)
Sir, the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down (Mr. J. E. ELLIS) will, I am sure, attribute it to no discourtesy on my part if I do not occupy any of the comparatively small share of the debate which belongs to me—[A laugh.]—small, I mean, as compared with the task I have to perform—in dealing with the observations that he 1365 has just laid before the House. He must be aware that I am the Minister chiefly arraigned by the Motion before the House, and as this is the second day of a debate which has been fruitful in remarkable speeches, it is impossible for me to deal with every point which has been raised in the course of this discussion; and I must consider myself fortunate if I can adequately meet the main points of the attack made against me and against the Government of which I am a Member. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone)—who, I am sorry to observe, has not yet returned to his place, but whose absence does not justify me in indefinitely deferring my observations—told us towards the end of his speech that this Motion was a debt of honour to the Government. He told us that the Opposition owed it to the Government to raise in this House the controversies which they had been raising out-of-doors, and to repeat it in the place where they could be answered face to face, accusations which they had not hesitated to make before their countrymen in different parts of the Kingdom. But I observed that the right hon. Gentleman abstained from repeating the numerous inaccurate statements on which he has chiefly relied when he has been talking to popular audiences. I noticed a very different tone and a much diminished recklessness of expression in the speech that he made to-night, as compared, for example, with the speech that he made to the Nonconformist ministers, with the speech which he made at Nottingham, with his speech at Dover, and with various other speeches that he has from time to time made to his supporters throughout the country. But if the right hon. Gentleman has been more accurate, I do not think that he has been more convincing. He has been driven from the broad errors of statement which he has made in the country to a minute legal examination of one particular decision of one particular pair of Resident Magistrates, on which he appears to rely for the whole of his indictment against the Government. Well, Sir, I shall return in a few minutes to that examination of the judgment of those two Resident Magistrates; I shall examine how far his allegations with regard to it are correct. I merely wish 1366 now to point out the remarkable change in the method of attack adopted by the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman, before he came to the main part of his speech, dealt with two or three subsidiary matters, on which I feel it my duty to offer a few words of comment. The first relates to the allegations made by the right hon. Gentleman with regard to the action of one of the most distinguished officers in the service of the Government—Colonel Turner—in connection with the suppressed meeting at Ennis. I understood the right hon. Gentleman's speech to be an apology to Colonel Turner. I do not know whether I misunderstood him; but I certainly understood that what he said was to be taken as an admission that he had originally made an erroneous statement in this House and in the country, and that he was glad, even at a late hour, to make some apology for what he had said. I think, however, that the right hon. Gentleman has very imperfectly conveyed to the House the full extent of the error of which he was guilty. The right hon. Gentleman accused Colonel Turner of having ordered a charge of Cavalry into a yard crowded with persons. That statement was originally made on a Motion for the Adjournment of the House; and that Motion for the Adjournment of the House was itself made without Notice to the Government. We then gave the House all the information that we had; and I believe that, from the statement we then made, it might have been clear to the right hon. Gentleman that no charge of Cavalry had been ordered. If hon. Members read the report in Hansard, they will see that my statement is borne out. Nevertheless, the right hon. Gentleman thought he might make some capital out of his statement, and therefore when he addressed the Nonconformist ministers he repeated it with emphasis. His statement was contradicted upon oath by Colonel Turner at the trial. The trial, as a matter of public notoriety, was reported in all the newspapers. I took, or rather I may say I made, an early opportunity of contradicting it in a speech which I delivered at Battersea, in which I traversed on official authority the statement of the right hon. Gentleman. I gave to it the most emphatic and categorical denial. The right 1367 hon. Gentleman, I presume, did me the honour of reading my speech, as he referred subsequently to it. Nevertheless, although he had seen or might have seen Colonel Turner's contradiction at the trial, although he had seen my official contradiction at Battersea, the right hon. Gentleman declared subsequently at Hawarden that every statement he had made in his speech to the Nonconformist ministers was a statement to which he adhered. I ask what is the use of coming down to the House and making the kind of apology which he has made, buried and lost in the huge speech that he delivered this night, after having deliberately shut his eyes to my official contradiction—of what use is it to come down here and say that he admires Colonel Turner, that Colonel Turner is an estimable officer, that Colonel Turner is a man whose word is to be trusted, when this man, whose word he now says is to be trusted on oath, when given in a Court of law, the right hon. Gentleman not only did not trust but absolutely contradicted at Hawarden? That is a small matter, but it is a striking illustration of the method of right hon. Gentlemen on the Benches opposite when they have to deal with the character and action of officers of their Sovereign, who are only endeavouring, under unexampled difficulties, to enforce the law of this Kingdom in Ireland, and, as such, I think it is not undeserving of the notice which I have taken of it. Then the right hon. Gentleman proceeded to complain bitterly of the withholding of information by the Government from the House. He told us we had prevented the House from exercising its proper function of supervising the action of the Executive in Ireland by declining to lay before it information asked for. [Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT: Hear, hear!"] The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby says "Hear, hear!" Well, the right hon. Gentleman was a leading. Member of an Administration which was equally called in question by the Representatives of the Irish people. Did the right hon. Gentleman, and the right hon. Gentleman's Government, lay on the Table of the House more information or less than the present Government? They had a similar Act to administer. [Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT: No.] 1368 Well, I admit it was a more violent one. They had similar difficulties to contend with, and they had not similar but identical criticisms passed upon them by hon. Members on the Benches below the Gangway for precisely similar conduct. In these circumstances, then, I presume they would have laid on the Table the information they now think ought to be laid; and yet we are laying, and have laid, incomparably more information before the House than was ever laid before it by the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends. There has never been a Government in this country which has more taken Parliament into its confidence with regard to the administration of the law in Ireland than has the present Government of Her Majesty. And here let me notice how very difficult it is to please hon. Gentlemen opposite. Sometimes they say we do not give them information enough, and they apply for more. For example, they applied through the mouth of the hon. Member for West Belfast (Mr. Sexton) for statistics with regard to Boycotting. Well, at his request, and in obedience to it, we laid those statistics of Boycotting before the House.
§ MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
I asked for information as to the statistics of five counties, and you would not give it.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I think the hon. Member will see that that would have had made absolutely no difference. The hon. Member asked us to give the House information with regard to Boycotting. We did our best to give that information, and what is the gratitude with which it was received? The right hon. Gentleman gets up and tells us that he has looked at our statistics and that he thinks that they are totally untrustworthy, and does not give us the slightest thanks for what we have done. If that is the way in which the Government are met when they do attempt to give information with regard to the condition of Ireland to the House of a kind never given before by our Predecessors, what is the use of attempting to give it? I say that the information with regard to Boycotting is more accurate and more trustworthy than any conceivable statistics that could be prepared with regard to derelict farms, and yet the right hon. Gentleman rejects those statistics, and implores us to give 1369 him information with regard to derelict farms. But that is not all. When we do give these statistics, how does he treat us? When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne (Mr. John Morley) called for a very elaborate and difficult Return with regard to the action of the Crimes Act—a Return which Lord Spencer never thought of giving, or the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) himself when he was Prime Minister administering the Crimes Act—we had not the slightest objection to lay it on the Table of the House. We made every effort to prepare that Return in time; the printers were kept at work the whole of Saturday and Sunday, and we gave copies to Gentlemen on the Front Bench, and we provided copies for those whom we might suppose would distribute them among important speakers who might have to address the House, and the only gratitude we get from the right hon. Gentleman opposite is to be told that we have been either too stupid or too idle to prepare the Return; in a form that would be of any use to the House. This was not our Return, it was not of our devising; we did not contrive it; nor did we suppose that it would be of any special use to the House; it was the contrivance of right hon. Gentlemen on that Bench. They put a Motion down on the Table of the House, asking for certain particulars. Every single particular they asked for we have given them, and because a Return prepared after their own liking does not suit them, they say we have been too stupid or too idle to prepare it in an intelligible shape. But that is not the first time that this event has happened. The hon. Baronet the Member for the Cockermouth Division of Cumberland (Sir Wilfrid Lawson) asked for a Return about increased sentences. We gave the Return in the shape in which he asked for it, giving precisely the particulars he demanded, and immediately hon. Members on that side of the House, and the whole Liberal Press said that we had been suppressing certain details which, if given, would have put an entirely different complexion on the matter. I thought the complaint was unreasonable; but I gave way, and, having found that hon. Members opposite were not to be trusted to devise their own Return, I devised it for them; and 1370 the result is that, after these new particulars have been given, their case is a great deal worse than before. Now, I am prepared to do a great deal—almost anything—for hon. Members opposite; but if—to use the expression of the right hon. Gentleman opposite—they are too stupid or too idle to prepare the form of their own Return in an intelligible shape, I do not think it is my function to provide them either with industry or with intelligence. The right hon. Gentleman then proceeded to discuss Section 1 of the Crimes Act, which, as the House is aware, deals with secret inquiries in Ireland, and he attacked the Government for having drafted their clause so stupidly last year—stupidity occupied a large portion of the right hon. Gentleman's speech—that an enormous waste of time had been incurred in considering and amending that clause. Well, I daresay it was a bad clause, because we may have taken a bad model. The clause, as brought into the House, was a copy of the clause in the right hon. Gentleman's own Bill. I thought—perhaps I had too great an idea of the intelligence of the Radical Party—that that clause was not a bad clause, and as such we adopted it in our Bill. "But," says the right hon. Gentleman, "nobody objects to that clause." His phrase was—
§ MR. W. E. GLADSTONE
I did not say that; what I said was that the principle of the clause—that of secret inquiry—was not made the subject of serious debate.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I think the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me; but I imagine that what he said was that the principle of the clause was one which was generally accepted. That is my recollection. But, perhaps, he has not followed the recent course of Irish politics. If he has, he must know that the operation of this clause has had the effect of detecting and punishing those who have committed two horrible murders which otherwise would never have been detected. Nevertheless, the whole Irish Party—a very important section of the right hon. Gentleman's following—objected in the strongest manner to this principle of the clause, never describing it in Ireland otherwise than as the Star Chamber Clause. ["Hear, hear!"] I call the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to the notes of assent which come 1371 from below the Gangway. The clause, as it stands in our Bill, is incomparably milder than the clause in the Act of 1882, which was one which the right hon. Gentleman said ought to be made a permanent part of the law of the land; and yet this clause, watered down as it is, and generally accepted, according to the right hon. Gentleman himself, is opposed by the whole strength of hon. Members below the Gangway, who are doing their best to prevent any man, be he who he may, from aiding in the discovery of criminals in Ireland by giving evidence under the section. Now, Sir, I pass to a more important matter. The right hon. Gentleman tells us we have been guilty of a grave dereliction of duty in proclaiming the county of Louth after Mr. Dillon had made his speech, and under that Proclamation in prosecuting Mr. Dillon. I listened with the utmost attention to the argument he put before the House; but I confess I utterly failed to understand its force.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The right hon. Gentleman appears to take this view—that when Mr. Dillon made his speech Louth was not proclaimed under a certain section of the Act; any offence, therefore, which he committed would not in ordinary course be tried before a Crimes Court, and it was acting very unfairly to Mr. Dillon, after he had made his speech, to take any action by which he would be tried by a Court which he would not have expected to be tried by under ordinary circumstances. Well, Sir, all I can say is, that if I were, as I have been represented as being, the bitter political opponent of Mr. Dillon, I never would have used an argument like that. It implies that Mr. Dillon was perfectly prepared to violate the law so long as he knew that he would be tried before a jury, on which there were enormous odds that he would find one man, at all events, who would refuse to assent to a verdict of guilty; but that he would not have made that speech, and would not have committed that offence, had he known beforehand that he would have been tried by a Court which would convict him according to the evidence. Now, 1372 the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) described me in one part of his speech as being a coward.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
At all events, I think the right hon. Gentleman might have spared Mr. Dillon the same accusation. I most assuredly will not stand up in this House and say that Mr. Dillon was such a coward that, while he was prepared to break the law like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Bradford (Mr. Shaw Lefevre), when he knew that the conditions of his trial would insure him immunity for his offence, he shrank from such a course when he knew he would be brought to justice. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. ILLINGWORTH (Bradford, W.)
[Cries of "Order!"]: In the absence of my right hon. Friend, will the right hon. Gentleman allow me to say—[Renewed cries of "Order!" and "Name!"] My right hon. Friend did not say that he would break the law in Ireland; what he did say was that he would go and say certain things if he had the chance of being tried by a jury.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not blame the hon. Member for interfering on behalf of his Colleague, but I confess I fail to understand the purport of his interruption, because it appears to me to exactly confirm what I said. His right hon. Colleague distinctly said last night that there was a particular offence against the law which he would be delighted to commit if tried by a jury, which he knew would disagree, but which he would not commit if he were not to be tried by a jury.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Well, the right hon. Gentleman is not here to answer for himself; but it really is a passing allusion, and my point was—I am not going to trouble my head with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Bradford—but I should not, 1373 though I am accused of being opposed to Mr. Dillon, venture to make the defence for him that is made by Gentlemen, some of whom call themselves his Friends.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Then the right hon. Gentleman, having attacked the Government for their procedure in the matter of the Proclamation, proceeded to discuss the iniquity of subjecting Mr. Dillon to the indignity and hardship of ordinary criminal treatment. Well, Sir, I want to know when the right hon. Gentleman came to hold that view? This is not the first time that a Gentleman describing himself as an Irish politician has been put in prison for some offence against the law. They were and have been put in prison before my time, and by the right hon. Gentleman himself, and when they were put in prison they were subjected to precisely the same treatment. [Cries of "No!"] They were subjected to precisely the same treatment.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not, of course, mean Gentlemen who were put in prison under Mr. Forster's Act; I am referring to the Act of 1882, and I am stating the exact truth.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! In the interests of the fair conduct of the debate, I trust that these constant running commentaries on the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman will cease, otherwise it will be impossible that the debate can proceed.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
But, leaving out of account, as I am quite ready to do, the action of the right hon. Gentleman in regard to Irish politicians between the years 1882 and 1885, I want to know when this principle came into force which the right hon. Gentleman has advocated—that the cloth coat should receive one kind of treatment and the frieze coat another? I do not say that the doctrines of the right hon. Gentleman are wrong—I make no pronouncement upon that point; but I say that in subjecting Mr. Dillon to the ordinary treatment of an ordinary prisoner for an ordinary offence, I have followed out the invariable practice, not 1374 only of Ireland, but of England and Scotland. The right hon. Gentleman appears to believe that this is the first time that a man of education has been put in prison for an offence against the law of the country. Does he really believe that? Does he seriously hold that view? If he does, why has he, who has had certainly as great, if not greater, influence on the policy of the country for the last 50 years than any man now living, during which time prison discipline has been the subject of constant controversy—why has he never interfered in favour of educated men, in favour of the cloth coat as against the frieze coat? Why is this principle enunciated by him for the first time in the House of Commons when it suits the political game of the Radical Party? The right hon. Gentleman proceeded to a most elaborate legal discussion. [An hon. MEMBER: The priests.] Oh, yes; I forgot the priests. That was the part of his speech in which the right hon. Gentleman was good enough to describe me as a coward.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
What a happy ingenuity of distinction! The right hon. Gentleman does not say that I am a coward, but that I am afraid. The priests are not made first-class misdemeanants; they are misdemeanants simply, and are treated in the ordinary manner, but they have not, so far, been compelled to put on prison clothes.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
As far as I am concerned, they have been compelled to adopt every other prison regulation. It will be observed that it is impossible to treat a Catholic priest in the matter of dress on an equality with a layman. And for this reason—to strip a priest of a dress which he is compelled to wear by canonical rule is a very different operation from stripping a layman. The decision I came to may have been entirely wrong, but as in all cases in which I have had to decide between nicely-balanced alternatives in the administration of the Crimes Act in Ireland I decided on the side of mercy. Therefore, though, I admit, with considerable hesitation—and I am by no means certain at this moment that I am right—I decided that while priests convicted 1375 of offences against the law in Ireland should in every respect be subjected to the same treatment as other prisoners, in the matter of dress, and in the matter of dress alone, I would make a distinction between them. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman is still disposed to describe that as cowardly. [An hon. MEMBER: You were afraid of the Pope.] Now, I pass to what was the main question, the main substance of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman—the Killeagh conspiracy; but I do not propose to follow the right hon. Gentleman through the minute examination of the statement of that ease which he made to the House. I will only say, with all respect to him, and having listened carefully to his view of the law of criminal conspiracy in Ireland, that I could not recommend the right hon. Gentleman to the Lord Lieutenant as a person as to whose legal knowledge and competency he might be satisfied. For the right hon. Gentleman fell into the most extraordinary legal confusion on this point. He told us, and he told us truly, that there was a conspiracy—that the Judges had indicated that there was a conspiracy at Common Law by the persons who were condemned. ["No, no!"] Does the right hon. Gentleman contradict that?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
He read passages from the Chief Baron's Charge, and he might have read still stronger passages from the Charge of Baron Dowse; but those two learned Judges clearly indicated that in their opinion there was ample evidence of a conspiracy at Common Law against the police. But, said the right hon. Gentleman, these persons merely conspired together not to supply the police with goods, and he compared it with the case of 100 workmen in England who agree together not to work except for certain wages.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
He compared the case with that of 100 workmen in England who agree to strike against a particular employer. These men in England would not be condemned by 1376 English law, he said; therefore, how monstrous to give these peasants in Ireland, for a similar proceeding, a month's imprisonment. The right hon. Gentleman has been very badly coached by his legal adviser. I am sure he got his law from the right hon. Gentleman next him, the Member for Derby. What was the character of the conspiracy at Common Law of which these men would have been found guilty, according to Chief Baron Palles and Baron Dowse?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The conspiracy at Common Law of which, in the opinion of the two Judges, they would have been found guilty.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I have attempted to disregard the interruptions as long as I could; but I do not think consecutive debate is encouraged by the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman, who might restrain himself, particularly as he will have an opportunity by-and-bye. But I say that, emphatically, any lawyer—I do not mean the right hon. Gentleman—reading the charges of Chief Baron Palles and Mr. Baron Dowse would conclude that those two learned Judges held that there was adequate evidence of a criminal conspiracy to go to a jury. And are we to be told that this conspiracy at Common Law is analogous to that of 100 workmen who strike against a particular employer?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I will tell the right hon. Gentleman why not. The conspiracy he described had not for its object the injury of any individual; but the conspiracy in Ireland had for its object to starve the police; and I appeal to any competent lawyer in this House whether, if these five men were brought up in England before a Judge and jury, and charged with that offence and on that evidence, they would not have been found guilty, and, if found guilty, whether they would not be liable to a penalty up to two years' imprisonment? And this is the parallel which 1377 it was sought to be drawn between the imaginary cases in England and the real cases in Ireland, and it is on cases of that kind that he founds his great attack on the magistracy of Ireland. I confess I find it hard adequately to express to the House the feelings I have when I hear him use language of that kind. He takes one single case of a miscarriage of justice, a case of admitted difficulty, a case in which the prisoners, if not guilty of precisely the technical offence for which they were punishable under the Crimes Act, were undoubtedly guilty of an offence at Common Law of not less iniquity, and on that case, the solitary case he could find, after examining, with miscroscopic gaze, the whole record of the Government, he founds an attack on the Resident Magistrates of Ireland in which he ventures to compare them to Judge Jeffreys.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
He took these men as specimens, and I say that if he did not take them as specimens, but on their own merits, a more scandalous attack never was made in this House. He said that Lord Spencer—who appointed these men and certified to their legal knowledge—would not have defended these men if they had done these things. Well, the right hon. Gentleman knows his own friends best, and I think it is very likely that Lord Spencer would not have defended them. I think it likely that he would have thrown them to the wolves. I think it extremely likely that, finding they were attacked by a powerful Parliamentary Party, he would have sacrificed them without mercy on the altar of Parliamentary expedieney. ["Oh, oh!"] The right hon. Gentleman asked me if I was not going to dismiss them. I am not going to dismiss them; and I would seriously suggest to right hon. Gentlemen, who some day may have considerable legal patronage, that if they are going to dismiss every Judge or Justice whose decision is overruled by a Superior Court, they will have even more legal patronage than perhaps they desire. Well, but the right hon. Gentleman seemed to imagine that because this particular decision was overruled all decisions in similar cases would be equally overruled if they were tried. Then why were they not tried? The 1378 decision of the two Judges has given everybody tried in Ireland since February last the power to appeal. [An hon. MEMBER: Not at all.] If they did not appeal I presume it is because they have not got a case. I would remind the House that there have been an infinitely greater number of appeals to the County Courts than under Lord Spencer's Act, and, in addition, there has been the power since February to appeal to the Court of Exchequer. Yet this was literally the only case on which the Opposition thought it expedient to rely for their attack. [An hon. MEMBER: No.] I repeat that this is the only ease on which they think it expedient to rely. The right hon. Gentleman asked me to lay the depositions before the House. Of course, I shall do nothing of the kind. There is an appeal to an impartial tribunal. Does the right hon. Gentleman think an appeal to this House is an appeal to an impartial legal tribunal? Has he so far forgotten Constitutional traditions that he thinks this House is by its nature and character capable of considering depositions and discussing legal questions which ought to be discussed before a Law Court? Does he think that this House, biased as it is by Party feeling, moved by Party passion, is the proper tribunal before which to lay an appeal which could be properly laid before the Court of Exchequer in Ireland? I wish to ask the House to consider this point. We are having an indictment of the whole administration of the Crimes Act in Ireland. They have had the opportunity of surveying the whole of the circumstances of everything done in Ireland since the Act was passed. They have been examining all that has occurred with a microscopic eye. They have—I do not know by what means—invented an infinity of accusations without any foundation in fact against the Government, and when these are boiled down to the smallest residuum of truth in them, what does it amount to? It amounts to this—that in one single case certain persons have been convicted of one kind of conspiracy, when in reality and in truth they were only guilty of another. And on this slender foundation the right hon. Gentleman and his Friends come down to the House to ask them to pass a Vote of Censure on the Government for the monstrous manner 1379 in which justice is administered in Ireland. Is it pretended that a single innocent man has suffered? Is it pretended that a single man, not guilty of an offence against the law, has been punished? ["Yes!"] Then I should like to know the name. I know that in the cases brought forward by right hon. Gentlemen on this and previous occasions, not one man can by any stretch of imagination be declared innocent. The newsvendors who have been referred to so much were all warned, and let off if they promised not to offend again. The truth is, that these men would be the first to complain if they were called innocent. They are proud of their offence. I quite admit that this shows that the law is not respected in Ireland. These men were put in prison for selling United Ireland, for publishing illegal notices. Every one of them would have shrunk from denying that he was guilty of the offence with which he was charged. In those circumstances, how childish is it to say that the Act of last year is administered harshly—that the men we have put in prison do not deserve to be in prison. Further, I notice that when I go from the technical points of the right hon. Gentleman and come to the question of innocent or guilty, I meet with no denial. No man can venture to say that the people who are put in prison have not earned their imprisonment by their offences against the law, though doubtless hon. Gentlemen opposite object to the character of the law under which they were put in prison. If what the right hon. Gentleman has stated be true, if this miscarriage of justice is the only case which can be quoted with effect in this House, am I not justified in saying that no Government in this country, in Ireland, or in any other country in the world which has ever had to contend with an organized resistance to the law, with an organized desire to upset the Government of the country, with an organized determination to resist the payment of just debts—am I not justified in saying that no Government which has had to contend with circumstances of this kind has contended against it with less harshness, with less injustice, or less of anything that can be twisted into a miscarriage of justice? I do not object to the course of examination to which Her Majesty's Government is subjected by way 1380 of Questions. I could only wish that Gentlemen would examine their facts a little more accurately before they come down to ask Questions, that they would not boldly state, in the form of assertion in the country, the most astounding fictions with regard to the administration of law in Ireland. But of the examination itself, of the criticisms on the Government, I have not the slightest desire or reason to be afraid. What I object to is, that Gentlemen who are constantly straining at gnats never seem to find any difficulty in swallowing camels. What I object to is that Gentlemen come down to this House and make some small criticism against a constable or magistrate, but never ask a question which has for its object to check the real and appalling evil under which society in Ireland is at this moment suffering. I do not think a better example of this can be afforded than that of the Kingstons—the old man and his wife who were sentenced by the magistrates for taking illegal possession. That is the ease brought forward by the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It was his stock instance, his classic example of the harshness of the administration of the law in Ireland. This old couple were put into prison by two magistrates because they took illegal possession. They were undoubtedly guilty of a breach of the law. I do not doubt if a similar breach of the law had been committed in London, Paris, or New York, these two old people would have been punished and we should have heard nothing about them. The case, however, was brought to my notice. I thought the magistrates were justified; but I also thought that, considering the circumstance of the case and that the landlord had himself appealed on behalf of the criminals, it would be well if they were released, and I am glad to say that my noble Friend the Lord Lieutenant took the same view and exercised the Prerogative of Mercy, and they were released. That, you will observe, is taken as the stock example of harsh treatment by the law of certain victims of landlordism. But who interferes with those far more pitiable and unhappy victims of the National League? The Lord Lieutenant interfered on behalf of those persons who have been legally convicted; but has the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne even in one single 1381 case used his influence to interfere with the action of the League, when they have been inflicting far more brutal and infamous punishment on people not guilty, but absolutely innocent? I never heard of a case. I never heard that the right hon. Gentleman has used his influence with the Party below the Gangway, if he has any, to alleviate the destiny of these unhappy victims of Boycotting whom the National League has sentenced for some imaginary crime against their law. We know the cases of helpless women and girls, labourers who had large families to support, and begged to be allowed to work for employers who were Boycotted, but were refused. These incidents are not rare incidents of the reign of the National League. I should be glad to know whether the right hon. Gentleman can quote one occasion on which he has interfered to alleviate the unmerited and appalling sufferings of these unhappy victims of the tyranny of his allies. The only thing the right hon. Gentleman has ever done, so far as I know, in that direction was not to interfere to help these persons, but to use his whole political influence in this House and the country to denounce the policemen and magistrates and the Government who attempt to put an end to the vile system under which these cruelties are inflicted. I grant he has not done it for any love of the crimes which are committed. But I assert that he plays a poor and humiliating part in politics when he finds himself criticizing here and there the isolated action of this magistrate or that policeman, when the whole policy of his allies, on whom depends his position, is incomparably more barbarous and more cruel than anything ever done by all the magistrates and all the policemen in the world. But, Sir, I am told that whatever my views may be upon the action of the National League in Ireland, it is very wrong to attack men like Mr. Dillon or the hon. Member for North-East Cork—because, forsooth, these Gentlemen are politicians and their offences are political offences, that they are to be treated in a totally different manner from ordinary offenders against the ordinary law. Now, I could quote, but I will not quote, the opinions of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Har- 1382 court) and the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Bridgeton Division of Glasgow (Sir George Trevelyan) on the subject of political offences when they were in Office. I am rather bored with proving that the right hon. Member for Derby does not hold the same conviction now that he did five years ago. I think the House will take these quotations as read. Without, therefore, quoting these ancient and musty documents I come to the merits of the case. There are three methods, as far as I understand, of furthering political action in Ireland, and of carrying out the great object of making Ireland a nation. There is rebellion, which is the course recommended by the Fenians, and which would, no doubt, be gladly followed by the Gaelic Association and others. There is the method of assassination, and there is the method which I will describe roughly as the Plan of Campaign. These are the three methods by which the modern Irish patriot desires to free his enslaved country. With regard to open and armed resistance I have nothing to say, but I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman what he thinks of political assassination. If a crime is not a crime because its object is political, I presume there is no offence more political than a political assassination. There is no personal end to be gained by the assassination, and his object is clearly of a political character. I have always heard that the right hon. Gentleman was of opinion that when he was in Office there were a certain number of persons in America and in Ireland who held the opinion, rightly or wrongly, that nothing would be much better for the world than if the right hon. Gentleman were no longer in it. Had they confined themselves to holding that opinion they would have been politicians; but when they proceed to devise schemes of assassination I want to know whether they did or did not cease to be politicians? In my opinion they deserved to be hanged like dogs when they were caught; but, if I understand the modern doctrine of the Radical Party, the end justifies the means. If I rightly understand the theory of the Gladstone-Irish Party, these persons would be political offenders because their object was not a personal but a political object. Let us take a particular case. I should like to ask those who hold this theory of poli- 1383 tical crime what they think of this instance of it. In last Autumn, it will be in the recollection of the House, a certain policeman named Whelehan was murdered in his attempt to save the life of a "landgrabber," as he was called, named Sexton. It was given in evidence at the trial by one of the witnesses for the Crown that he was moved to attempt the crime of murdering Sexton by a speech delivered by Mr. Dillon. ["Oh, oh!"] Perhaps the House will allow me to read the evidence, and I will quote it from The Freeman's Journal. He deposed that on the evening of the Ennis meeting, which was addressed by Mr. Dillon, he had a conversation with Thomas Leary, who said that in consequence of that speech he had determined to postpone the raid which he had been talking about because the landgrabbers must first be put down, and the first landgrabber to be put down was Thomas Sexton. You therefore have this chain of evidence. Mr. Dillon makes a speech, which I presume is a political speech, saying that he will not tolerate a grabber. A man who had determined on certain raids in the county was influenced by what Mr. Dillon said. He then determined to attack the first grabber he met. This happened to be Sexton, who was protected by the police, and the protection of whose life cost the life of Constable Whelehan.
§ MR. J. E. REDMOND (Wexford, N.)
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the evidence which he has just read is the evidence of a witness who swore that for six years he had been in the pay of the police?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I gave way to the hon. Gentleman, thinking in my innocence that he was going to make a relevant interruption. The question which I want to ask the House is this. If Mr. Dillon made a political speech in which he said he would no longer tolerate landgrabbers, was it a political crime to attempt to murder Sexton, who was a landgrabber? The right hon. Gentleman opposite seems to think it was not. Then, perhaps, he will explain how it is that it is a political offence to urge the people of Ireland to destroy landgrabbers while it is not a political offence to proceed to carry out the recommendation. I heard an interruption just now to the effect that Mr. Dillon did not ask the Irish people to 1384 destroy landgrabbers. I admit that that was an inaccurate expression on my part. Mr. Dillon takes a different view. It is enough for him that a landgrabber should be Boycotted, that he should be ruined and starved; that his family should be involved in the ruin of the master of the house; that he should be refused the necessaries of existence during life and burial after death. That was enough, I know, for Mr. Dillon and for the hon. Member for North-East Cork. That is all Mr. Dillon asks, and he does not call that crime. But can he complain if some of his disciples are more advanced than their master, and go on to put an end to life? If he cannot deny that, then the advice he gave was as much an incitement to crime as any advice ever given. I have here an interesting extract of a speech delivered at Youghal by the hon. Member for North-East Cork on the 7th of November last year, in which he said that they had given up the use of fire-arms for the more powerful weapon of Boycotting, and that landlords and landgrabbers feared boycotting more than shooting. Observe how slight is the difference—in my opinion at all events—between the doctrines preached by the hon. Member for North-East Cork and by Mr. Dillon and the doctrines which the men who tried to murder Sexton learnt from their speeches. In order that I may fully justify the action of the Government it is necessary that I should say a few words about the Plan of Campaign. The hon. Member for North-East Cork told us there are no cases in which the Plan of Campaign has been defeated. I can, however, recall to mind three cases in which it has been absolutely smashed—namely, on the Ormsby estate, County Mayo, on the Banon Estate at Broughall, King's County, and on the estate of Lord Massereene.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
That shows that the hon. Member has not followed the recent course of Irish politics. I do not propose to go into those cases now, because the question whether the Plan of Campaign has failed or succeeded is scarcely relevant to the issue before us. When hon. Members defend the Plan of Campaign have they really considered the circumstances of the Irish tenant? He is at this moment the spoilt child of 1385 legislation. No tenantry on the face of the earth has half the protection which the Irish tenant enjoys at this moment. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle told the House that when the landlord evicted a tenant he confiscated the tenant's property. There is no power on the part of the landlord to confiscate any tenant's property. The tenant may go into Court and have a fair rent fixed, and, if evicted, he can carry away every 6d. worth of his property. I admit that tenants may have to leave their farms without carrying anything out of them. But whose fault is that? It is the fault of the National League. Who is it that turns out a tenant a beggar on the roadside? The National League. It is the National League which declares a farm Boycotted; it is the National League which decides when a tenant is evicted for non-payment of two or three years' rent that he shall not be allowed to realize one 6d. of his tenant right, which is often worth 20 years' purchase. The wrong is not on the part of the landlord, but of the National League. It is said that the Plan of Campaign is moral. To determine this question you must consider it as a whole. The right hon. Gentleman has simply considered how far the terms under the Plan of Campaign are different from the terms fixed by the Land Court. Is that the way to test the morality of the transaction? I absolutely deny that such a comparison is in any sense relative to the question. As we are on the morality of the Plan of Campaign, and as I believe I shall be followed by the hon. and learned Member for North Longford (Mr. T. M. Healy), I should like to read an extract from a speech of his, delivered on the 7th of December, 1886, He said—For my part, when I hear the question of morality discussed in anything that concerns the landlord faction, I must say that the morality of any means of putting them down would concern me very little.I say that the Plan of Campaign prevents all settlements between landlord and tenant, or, at any rate, makes them extremely difficult. All settlements are in the nature of compromise. The Plan of Campaign absolutely excludes compromise, because the money has been paid into the hands of a banker, and the tenants have no further control over it. However much they may desire to come 1386 to terms with their landlord, they can only do so if they pay the rent twice over, first to the banker under the Plan of Campaign, and then to the landlord. Therefore there is no room for compromise.
§ MR. W. O'BRIEN
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. Upon every estate there is an estate committee appointed by the tenant, with entire control and jurisdiction over the funds, and, as a matter of fact, that estate committee has over and over again terminated disputes by a compromise.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
At all events, the compromise is a thing to be decided by the Members of the National League, who determine it upon political grounds, and it is not decided between the tenant and the landlord, nor is it left to them to make their own terms. My next complaint against the Plan of Campaign is, that is involves infinite suffering to the tenants. Take the case of the Herbertstown estate, which consists of the finest grazing land in Ireland. In an unhappy moment the tenants on that estate were induced to adopt the Plan of Campaign and they were all evicted. The landlord is now farming the whole of the land, and farming it at a profit. There has not been for many years such a spring for the Irish tenants. For many years there has been a great strain upon the Irish tenants. But the price of stock has now risen greatly, and the farmers who hold stock are able to make profits. From these profits every man who has adopted the Plan of Campaign is excluded. Sometimes they see their holdings falling into neglect which years cannot repair. Sometimes they see the landlord, sometimes other persons, reap the profits which they might have reaped themselves. I have said that the Plan of Campaign has broken down on three estates; ether estates where it has succeeded, it has worked nothing but mischief. On the Kingston estate, instead of the settlements which the tenants would have got if they went into Court or arranged with their landlord, each according to his circumstances, there has been an all-round reduction of the same average amount, which has been far too great in some cases and far too little in others. My third complaint against the Plan of Campaign is that it compels solvent tenants not to pay their rent. A careful study of the Irish Press 1387 has convinced me of the fact that in Ireland the man who does not pay his rent to his landlord, though he may be able to do so—the man who does not fulfil his obligations, if he be a member of the National League, is described as a patriot. In England we describe such a man by a less august title—we call him a swindler, and my great complaint against the Plan of Campaign is that it is an immoral combination against paying rent. It involves outrage in its very method; it involves compulsion, it involves tyranny, it involves Boycotting, it involves preventing derelict farms from being let. I do not presume that this statement can be disputed. ["Yes."] If it can I should like to know how. Does the hon. Gentleman deny that the essence of the Plan of Campaign is that if a landlord turns out a tenant, no one else can be allowed to go on to the farm? That I call Boycotting a farm. Every one knows that Boycotting farms is the very essence of the policy of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Does anybody realize the full evil to the industry of agriculture in Ireland which is now being effected by Boycotting landgrabbers? What does it amount to? It amounts to keeping the man who cannot work a farm in the farm and keeping out the man who can. The hon. Member talks as if the process of Boycotting farms was confined to men who had been turned out of their farms for unjust rent. There never could be a grosser delusion. I hope the House will allow me to read one very short case, which shows that Land League interference is not confined to cases of ordinary tenancies. It is a case in Clare. A property in Clare was sold in the Bankruptcy Court. While the sale was going on the land was let for grazing to four persons who had never been connected with the estate, on the distinct understanding that it was merely a temporary arrangement. The sale was effected, and three out of the former tenants stuck to their bargain. They were grazing tenants, and they at once gave up possession. But the fourth of those grazing tenants declined to do so, and the purchaser was denounced as a landgrabber—the purchaser, that is, of an estate in the Court of Bankruptcy, where four persons had been taken on temporarily as tenants. 1388 Boycotting notices were posted up, and the man who acted for the purchaser was fired at, and this interesting notice was published—Men of gallant Tipperary, Limerick, and historic Clare,—You are called upon by the National League not to deal or hold any intercourse with Martin Corbet under pain of death for the disgrace he has caused under the patronage of that infamous and blood-stained scoundrel Balfour, by grabbing a farm in the County Clare, and creating an unprecedented act by paying twenty-three years' purchase to the aid of the Crimes Act,and so on. And the result of that was the outrage that I have described. Now, let the House observe that there was an outrage committed simply and solely because the National League chose to describe as a landgrabber a man who had legitimately purchased land let temporarily to a tenant who, without a shadow of justification, in spite of his bargain chose to put in a claim to perpetual possession.
§ MR. EDWARD HARRINGTON (Kerry, W.)
I have only to ask the right hon. Gentleman a simple question. He has chosen to connect the National League with the case he has read to the House. I will ask him, as I am responsible for the organization, as I pledged myself to the House that in no case except where a tenant has been unjustly evicted for an unjust rent, or where he has surrendered his farm through an excessive rent, and he could not pay, has that organization ever taken up a case—I will ask him to give a single proof of the statement he has made.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The particular case in question was in the county of Clare, and the League is suppressed in Clare. The farm was Boycotted in the name of the National League.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)
rose amid loud cries of "Order!" in the midst of which he resumed his seat.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I think the right hon. Gentleman should state, as he says the League supported this action, that I myself, at the National League meeting in Dublin, made a speech in support of the alleged landgrabber.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
What is the use of the hon. and learned Gentleman 1389 making a speech in Dublin in favour of the landgrabber when the thing occurred in Clare?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I want to point out to the House that this system of opposing landgrabbing is not only directed against the landlords, but is absolutely fatal to the settlement of the Land Question in Ireland. You talk about settling the Land Question in Ireland by purchase. How do you mean to settle the Land Question by purchase if you are going to permit this Boycotting of derelict farms, if you allow the Irish people to think they act rightly when they shoot at men who take farms from which insolvent tenants have been expelled. How on earth will you ever be able to carry out any system of land purchase with tolerable success if you allow practices to go on like that in the case I have referred to? You will never be able to settle the Land Question or any other question in Ireland unless you establish the reign of law. Surely, we can now judge of so-called political offences of this character? We can now judge how far Mr. Dillon is a political offender, and how far the hon. Member for North-East Cork is a political offender. At the door of these so-called political offenders lies all the suffering which has occurred in connection with Boycotted farms, and all the contests that have been carried on in this fatal spirit to landlord and tenant. They have directly preached Boycotting, and they have indirectly preached assassination. I confess I sometimes reflect on what would be thought of these modern Irish patriots by their predecessors. The cause of Ireland has been vindicated in former days by arms and by eloquence, and I ask where eloquence and arms have again and again failed is petty larceny likely to succeed? I have but little more to say. I have cut my observations as short as I could; but I should like to ask whether those who framed this Resolution were really serious. Did they seriously believe that Irish disrespect for the law began with the present Administration? I recollect a speech of Mr. Dillon's in 1882, in which he asked—"Who is there that understands, or pretends to understand, the peasantry of Ireland, and will say 1390 that crime and outrage have not the sympathy of the Irish peasantry? "That was the opinion of Mr. Dillon in 1882, and if that opinion was well founded in 1882, how can Mr. Dillon's Friends below and above the Gangway come down to the House and pretend to say that we are responsible for the fact that the Irish peasantry at this moment are in sympathy with crime and outrage? I admit, and I admit it with the deepest regret, that the law is not loved in Ireland for its own sake. I deny absolutely, however, that we are responsible for that. It is the result of a long and melancholy history—a history I would gladly see brought to an end. When you attempt to conclude from their dislike for and want of sympathy with the law that the Crimes Act is not necessary, have you considered the close connection between the exercise of the law and the repression of crime? I do not carp how you study the question or how you handle the facts. If you look at Irish history for the last 30 years you will find that where the law has been vigorously enforced, where you have an Act under which justice is administered according to the evidence, there crime diminishes; and as soon as the pressure of the law is removed, and the criminal finds that the machinery of the law is defective, there you will find crime increase. In vain you will try to associate crime with eviction or any other circumstance. The repression of crime in Ireland depends upon the Criminal Law, and upon the Criminal Law alone. You diminished it when you passed your Criminal Act of 1871. It sprang up when you relaxed it in 1875. It rose to an enormous height in 1880. It sank in 1882. It rose again when the Act came to an end, and it has again sunk under the new Act. If you repealed this Act, of course it would rise again. Now, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian has disputed or doubted the improvement that has occurred in the country since the Crimes Act was passed. I see no ground to minimize or doubt the magnitude of that improvement. The right hon. Gentleman began by asking me whether there has been a crisis imminent in the police. Perhaps he will allow me to re-assure him on that point. He seemed to think that the police were resigning in large numbers and were 1391 showing a discontent they had never shown before. Such is not the case. There has never been a time in recent years in which there were fewer resignations from any cause in the police, or in which there were a larger number of candidates anxious to enter the police. Never was there a time when the police were a more loyal, a more contented, or a more efficient body. Twenty or 30 policemen have resigned in the last year, and most of them on so-called political grounds; but, by a curious coincidence, it has usually been the case that the policemen who were anxious to resign because called upon to administer the Crimes Act have been policemen whose services would have been dispensed with in any case. Then the right hon. Gentleman went on to discuss crime. He talked of the small improvement in crime. I deny that the improvement has been small. If you compare the five months at the beginning of this year with the five months at the beginning of last year, you will find that the improvement in agrarian crimes, exclusive of threatening letters, is no less than 40 per cent; and I do not think any man will describe that improvement as otherwise than an important and a significant improvement. Then I come to Boycotting. The right hon. Gentleman does not like my Boycotting statistics. I do not wonder at that, because they absolutely demolish his case. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Dumfries Burghs (Mr. R. T. Reid) said we never rested our case originally upon crime. I grant that; but what we do rest our case upon is intimidation; and if you examine the statistics you will find that in this respect the improvement has been prodigious. If you take the statistics of Boycotting in July last, before the Act came into operation, and compare them with January of this year, the improvement is no less than 56 per cent—in other words, more than half; and if you take them up to the end of last month, if you include the first five months of this year, you will find the improvement no less than 70 per cent. When you come to the question of derelict farms, the improvement is, perhaps, less marked; but is it, therefore, non-existent? I say, speaking on my own responsibility, and forming the best judgment I can, not only from official reports, but from 1392 private letters received from every part of the country—I say, without hesitation, that there is no comparison whatever between the condition of Ireland in May, 1888, and May, 1887, in any particular whatever. Derelict farms are taken which were not taken before; rents are being largely paid, and the social condition of the country, except where the Plan of Campaign exists, is greatly improved, I do not pretend that the question is solved. It would be folly to suppose that after six or seven months' administration of the Crimes Act the Irish problem would be solved. It would be folly. But I say this—that if you are merely to consider the amount of suffering we have removed, if you are merely to consider the amount of liberty we have restored, if you are merely to consider the number of persons who now dare to do what they never would have dared to do before the Crimes Act was passed, I say with confidence to our hon. Friends who have supported us through the laborious Session of last year, your labour has not been thrown away. If from the moment when I now speak the cloud which has begun to break should again descend upon Ireland with all its original blackness, even then I should not say that our toil has been in vain. I firmly believe the contrary. I believe that we have already produced results which should make us proud of having worked as we have worked, for the objects for which we have worked. There are many hearts, from one end of Ireland to the other, which at this moment are thankful that there has been a Unionist Government in power—a Government that, at all events, has shown a desire and a resolution to break down the vile tyranny under which they were suffering. [Cries of "No!"] I am aware that these views are not shared by right hon. Gentlemen opposite. They have a different idea on the subject. They are, I presume, looking forward to the General Election, about which we hear so much, when the Unionist Party is to be hurled into insignificance. Then, I suppose, the golden age will dawn upon us when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Central Bradford (Mr. Shaw Lefevre), no longer deterred by the fear of the law, will be able to employ his siren voice in inducing the tenants on the 1393 various estates in Ireland to combine against their just debts. Agriculture, no doubt, will not flourish then, but Boycotting will. Farms will be strictly entailed upon the insolvent and the incompetent tenants, and the only crime in this paradise upon earth will be paying your debts, and the only tribunal you will have to fear will be that of the National League. [Laughter.] Well, Sir, I suppose that men of all Parties desire the good of Ireland. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] I do not doubt the bona fides of right hon. Gentlemen opposite—[An hon. MEMBER: We doubt yours.]—but we have different methods of obtaining the result which we have in view. This is no place to discuss rival schemes, and I shall not say a word about the fantastic compromise of Home Rule which has been put forward by the right hon. Gentleman, which the right hon. Gentleman thinks will gratify Irish national aspirations. We take another view of the matter. We hope to see Ireland amalgamated with the other constituent parts of the British Empire, sharing our institutions, fostered by our wealth, and with some of the injuries which we undoubtedly inflicted upon Irish industry in the last century redressed. We hope to see every Irishman rejoicing in a community of sentiment with every Englishman and Scotch-man, sharing the fortunes of the British Empire and sharing the traditions upon which those fortunes are founded. But whether the compromise of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian or our own idea is the better, neither the one nor the other can be based upon any other foundation than that of law and order. Every superstructure that you may raise upon a foundation of lawlessness is doomed beforehand to failure. Do you suppose that the people whom you are debauching—you, the Irish Party, by your positive teaching, and you, the Opposition, by your silence—will, on the morrow of the establishment of an Irish Republic, become lovers of law and order, or that the Irish Republic, or whatever the thing is to be called, will have the slightest chance of permanence or success? Do you suppose that lawbreakers will be good law-makers? In the course of this debate, I have been told that Mr. Dillon is the flower of Irish patriotism; but is he really teaching the Irish people 1394 a lesson by which they will be able to direct their future course? Our methods, we admit, are different. The experiment which we are endeavouring to carry out in Ireland of restoring law and order we know is being tried under the greatest difficulties—difficulties which are largely due to those whom we ought to be able to claim as our greatest allies, as they have already been engaged in the same task, who know what its difficulties are, and who should appreciate the importance of our efforts. But, notwithstanding those difficulties, we know that success, even more than we had dared to hope for, has already crowned our efforts. Last year, when I proposed the Crimes Bill, I spoke in hope; now we know for certain that the efforts we have made to repress lawlessness are succeeding. We have already succeeded, and we mean to succeed further in the future. But, Sir, whether or not in the future we are destined to carry on successfully the work we have initiated, in either case we are assured that it is only on the foundation of honesty, of liberty, and of law that the future of the Irish people can be safely rested.
§ THE LORD MAYOR OF DUBLIN (Mr. SEXTON) (Belfast, W.)
I notice, Sir, that the cheers with which the right hon. Gentleman was greeted by his friends were far more hearty when he rose to begin his speech than when he sat down, having made it. The circumstance is one not complimentary to him, and it has, I think, something more than a personal significance. However that may be, we are able to discount the cheers which have just been heard from the opposite side of the House. Sir, they are the cheers of a Party which thankfully took power from our hands three years ago by denouncing and renouncing coercion. They are the cheers of hon. Gentlemen who two years ago obtained from the English people admission to this House by pledging themselves upon the platforms of the country to a policy of anything but coercion, and who now, at the end of a year of coercion and nothing else, look forward with some discomfort and a good deal of apprehension, thinking how many of those 20 years of resolute government they are likely to see. The debate on this Motion—a Motion which is definite and limited—has travelled far and wide. 1395 I shall endeavour to keep as close as I can to the subject, but in that I shall not imitate the example of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. I would first notice two of his observations which throw an instructive light upon that quality of candour in the character of the right hon. Gentleman, which is supposed to be the first boast of an English gentleman, and which is considered to be the essential characteristic of an English Minister of State. He claims our gratitude for the information he placed in our hands, and he connected that statement with a denial of the references of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian to the case of Colonel Turner. Why, Sir, in the case of Colonel Turner the right hon. Gentleman was challenged to grant a public inquiry. He refused a public inquiry, and he based to-night his denial upon official information which he has not enabled us to test. I lay down to this House a statement on which I challenge contradiction. It is this—that the Irish Government never yielded us information but at such a time as takes from that information the only value which information could have by taking out of our hands the power to use that information to check the correctness of the statements of the Government in this House. The right hon. Gentleman also referred to the treatment of priests under the Act. I wish the House to attend to this statement, because it gives us a most signal proof of the candour of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. He said he was an English Protestant, and that he allows priests to wear in prison their clerical garb in obedience to a canonical rule. If a priest in Ireland committed an offence against the ordinary law, would he be clothed in the ordinary garb? If a priest committed a theft or an assault, what then of the canonical rules. Sir, the right hon. Gentleman, who claims to be a man of courage, but who displays in this House many signal qualities, always inseparably associated with cowardice, says he does not put Irish priests in the prison garb. I will tell him the reason he does not put priests in prison garb. Because Father Ryan refused to put it on, and courageous as he is, successful as he is, he does not care to prove his courage and stake his success by using physical force against the priests of Ireland. His references to the treatment of priests is a clear proof 1396 that he, in his own mind, makes distinctions which he never admits he makes—that he does make a distinction between political prisoners and ordinary prisoners. The magistrates also admit it, because in all cases in which priests were the defendants they committed them as first-class misdemeanants; and finally upon this point, although the right hon. Gentleman has continually professed that the discipline of the prisons of Ireland is not placed in his hands, he proved by his references that he personally and directly controls the treatment and the fate of every prisoner in every prison in Ireland. I make him, Sir, a present of the value of the arguments by which in this Assembly of English Gentlemen he has proved his manly candour. He has proved his title to be considered a man of honour by slandering an absent man whom he has put into prison. I am glad, Sir, he has referred to the Whelehan case, because it will enable me in a very few words to place before this House the principles and the methods of the present Administration in Ireland. He has stated that a witness in the course of the inquiry into that case swore that he was told by another person that that person was incited by a speech of Mr. Dillon to commit an outrage. Who was that witness? Let the House and let the country understand the instruments the Government employs, and the kind of witnesses the Government cites in dealing with the cause of Ireland. This witness was one of the most infamous wretches whose existence has ever constituted a disgrace to human nature. This witness was Cullinane, the informer, who was for six years in the pay of the police, and who was a frequent inmate of the Informers' Home in Dublin. Upon the night of the murder of Wheleban, Cullinane, the paid spy of the police, by an arrangement with Whelehan, led and accompanied the attacking party to the house where an ambush was laid for their reception. Cullinane it was who incited and produced that crime. Cullinane was a man who had been twice in the Army, and who had twice deserted—a man who had been seven times convicted of crime and seven times imprisoned. He was a creature—I will not say a man—who had been convicted and imprisoned for a criminal assault upon a child of three years, and while he was suffering his 1397 sentence for that criminal assault the Government released him. The Government released this monster, this libel upon human nature, before his sentence was completed, and they released him to take him into their pay and send him about the country propagating crime, to constitute him one of their agents in Ireland to propagate crime, because they know that crime is the political and essential stock-in-trade of the Party now in power. This is the witness called against Mr. Dillon. This is the witness who has been called against a man to whom the better part of his political opponents will certainly not deny respect, and yet upon this witness they are asked to stake the reputation of the Chief Secretary for Ireland and of the whole Government of Ireland, as against a man who in worth of achievement and nobility of character has never been surpassed either in Ireland or England. The Chief Secretary has called before this Assembly of English gentlemen as a witness this vile informer, this Government spy, this propagator of crime, this convulser of the community in Ireland. This episode of the infamous villain Cullinane, the informer, will enable the House to judge how far and in what degree it will be wise for the House and for the people of England to scrutinize what the right hon. Gentleman has described as information. I have said that this debate has travelled far and wide, and I have now to ask how it has happened that so much of the debate has been occupied by the murders of the County Kerry? The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Goschen) has referred to them, the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) and the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) both referred to them, and of the speeches of these Gentlemen I am delighted to say that I was very glad to hear them, for the cause of Ireland will win by referring it to impartial judges, and there is no impartial judge who would not be disgusted by the rancorous tone of their speeches and by the shallowness and by the false irrationality of their case. I was glad to hear these Gentlemen, because they are always useful to the cause of Ireland. Why, at the present there is only one spot in the world where they could be more useful, and that is in the Isle of Thanet, where the united forces 1398 of these two hon. Gentlemen can secure what they have often secured before—the triumphant defeat of their candidate. Why have the Kerry murders been introduced into this debate? The Motion of the right hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. John Morley) impeaches the administration of the Crimes Act; but has the Mover of it, or any other speaker in the course of this debate, laid blame at the door of the Government, or called in question the use of the Crimes Act in reference to the Kerry murders or to any acts that men understand as crime? We have been told that but for the Crimes Act these murderers would not have been punished. Why not? We are told that Mrs. Quirke, the widow of the murdered man, was in fear of giving evidence. Why could she not have been examined in private in the ordinary way, or why could her information not have been taken secretly, as informations were taken in the library of Mr. Olphert's private residence in Donegal? But she could not have been in fear of giving evidence under the ordinary law, because that fear would have applied equally to her examination when she was publicly examined at the trial at Wicklow. That reason goes by the board. We are told that a verdict could not be obtained without a change of venue, and that a change of venue could not have been obtained without a Crimes Act; but that is not so, for a change of venue can be obtained by the ordinary law in cases in which the Government show cause; and even without a change of venue they can, by the time-honoured practice of "standing aside" the jurors whom they dislike, they can obtain, even in Kerry, a jury suitable to their taste and entirely adequate to their purpose. Why did the Government so constantly in this debate refer to these murders? Sir, the agrarian question in Ireland is not a new one, and, unhappily, agrarian murders in Ireland are not new. Ever since you planted in Ireland your fatal agrarian system, since you have maintained it by your power, murder and violence have been its fruit. Go back a few years, go back to any agrarian crisis before the Land League or the National League, and you will find that where there were evictions by tens of thousands, the murders might be counted not by the unit but by the hundred, 1399 and outrages not by the hundred but by thousands. What has been the cause of the salutary change by which the murder bill has been lessened and crime decreased? It has been due to two things—combination amongst the people, and organization springing from that cause. With the Land League we have had the Land Act of 1881; with the National League we have had the Land Act of last year. Without combination and organization we would have had neither one nor the other, and if the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his Friends had their way we would have had neither of those Acts, and Ireland at the present moment would be in this condition, that the landlord could increase the rent at his pleasure, that eviction would be executed at his caprice, and the tillers of the soil would have been tenants at will. Judging by past experience, a continuance of that system would provoke resentment, and cruelty on the part of the landlord would be met by murder and outrage, and the change has occurred through combination and organization, and through the legislation forced by that organization. For the change which has occurred, and the legislation which has been passed, I think the right hon. Gentleman has to thank the man whom he and his Friends have denounced to-night. If he and his Colleagues could have had their way, Ireland to-day would be given over to cruelty on the part of the landlord and to crime on the part of those who suffered that cruelty. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer referred to the Kerry murders in order to shift the true issue before the country, and to raise a false issue instead. Why did he defend himself where he was not attacked? Because where he was attacked he was conscious he had no defence. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the right of public men to change their opinions. I have read a poem that was once written by the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Nobody, I suppose, who was not in the secret over before suspected him of poetry, and nobody certainly would have expected from him an eulogium upon Ireland; but, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman once wrote a poem in praise of the Irish race. The poem closed with a striking eulogium of the matchless spirit of the Celt. Well, Sir, the spirit 1400 of the Celt may not be matchless, but I promise the Chancellor of the Exchequer it will be too much for him. The right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer challenged the Mover of this Motion when he asked whether a legacy of respect for the law in Ireland and the people's affection were bequeathed to us by the Government that went before us? I say it was so bequeathed. This is a Motion in which the conduct of the worst Chief Secretary that Ireland has ever seen is impeached by the best Chief Secretary ever sent to Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle, during his brief administration, did inspire respect for law, because his Government attracted the confidence of the people. He attracted to the Government the affection of the people because he proved that his Government desired the good of Ireland, and intended to promote it. He promoted the common interests of this Realm because he led the Irish people and the different peoples to unite themselves together in what is the only sure and lasting bond—the bond of a voluntary union, the bond of common interest. I say he handed down to the present Government a legacy of respect for the law and an affection for the Government; and if any Member of this House feels inclined to challenge this statement, I ask him if the public life of this country in recent years supplies any parallel to such a demonstration of popular affection as the farewell that was given to the Earl of Aberdeen, or the reception given by the people of the capital of Ireland to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle when he visited it at the opening of this year? Yes, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman did bequeath to his Successors a legacy of respect for law and an affection for Government, and the highest compliment that I can pay to the right hon. Gentleman, the strongest proof that can be given of his power, is this, that though his Successor has gravely impaired the legacy of respect and affection bequeathed to him, he has not yet been able to destroy it utterly, and, Sir, I entertain the hope that when the Liberal Unionist aberration of intellect shall have passed away, and when sanity shall resume its sway, the right hon. Member for Newcastle will return to Ireland as the last 1401 Imperial Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. If it can be proved that the Government have undermined respect for the law the rest of the Motion must stand, because, where they do, the minds of the people must be estranged from the Government, and where the minds of the people are estranged not only are the interests of the Realm damaged but the stability of the Realm is endangered. There are just two ways and no more for producing respect for the law. You may do it by terror, and you may produce it by deserving the confidence of the people. I ask how the Coercion Act produced the respect that is due to fear? Turn to the 1st section of the Act by which the Government were authorized and empowered to set up a Star Chamber in Ireland. It has been set up in different parts of Ireland, and what has happened under it? Impudent agents of the Government have impertinently attempted to introduce themselves into the most private and confidential affairs of life. They have attempted to come between father and son, between parishioner and priest, between banker and client. In various parts of Ireland men in different grades of society have been sent to prison, some for taking no notice of the summons, some for declining to take the oath, and some for flinging back impertinent questions, and I lay down without fear of contradition that in no one case where a man has been imprisoned for contumacy has his imprisonment succeeded in compelling him to answer. Your Star Chamber has proved to be a dead letter. One of the principal purposes of the Coercion Act was the suppression of the National League. Have they suppressed the National League? We are already confronted with the evidence of two Members of the Government, one of whom says it is a thing of the past, and another that it has a ubiquitous existence. The National League has nominally been suppressed in certain districts, but where it has been suppressed proof is given in the new interest and fresh vigour of its existence. Only the other day a priest who was summoned for attending a National League meeting was escorted to the Court by 500 men wearing cards of membership in their hats. This Act was aimed at the liberty of the Press. Editors and printers have 1402 been imprisoned for reporting the meetings of suppressed branches. The Government have chased and cuffed poor newsboys about the street. They have punished men selling newspapers with reports of suppressed meetings by long terms of imprisonment. Have they stopped the publication of these reports? No; they have increased them. They are widely published in the popular Press of Ireland and are read with more avidity. If proof were wanted I have here a copy of a newspaper of which the Chief Secretary for Ireland is a very careful student—it is United Ireland of last Saturday, and I find on its leading page the heading "Suppressed Branches," followed by several columns of this prohibited matter. The League is altogether suppressed in the County Clare. It is there a thing of the past, yet I find that there were held and are here reported the meetings of 14 branches, and in almost every one of them a parish clergyman was in the chair. Law never falls into such utter disrepute as when it is seen to be impotent as well as repulsive. If the Leader of the House were here I would put the question to him; but he has contracted a habit of saying "Certainly, Sir," which detracts from the value of his evidence. I would therefore ask any independent Member of the House whether the Government, in order to cover their defeat, have not abandoned themselves to a fiction. That is what has occurred, for they have stated that the National League has been suppressed, when, as a matter of fact, the action of the Government has tended to strengthen it. Well, I think the Act has not promoted but it has undermined and annihilated the respect of the people. Has it not undermined the respect that is due to the sense of the people that law is conceived in their interest and administered for their good? I turn again for one moment to the 1st section of the Act. Why did not the Chief Secretary for Ireland, in his long and tortuous speech, explain why, within the last few days, he applied the 1st section to the County and the City of Dublin? He would not allege crime. He could not allege disturbance. We have before us the Report of the Commission Judge, and he had before him the Report of the Inspector of Police, and the police in Ireland take notice not only of crimes but of symptoms, and the 1403 Judges from the Bench discuss symptoms as well as crimes. If there had been anything to call for notice in the state of the County or the City of Dublin the Inspector of Police would have noted it in his Report, and the Judge would have made it the subject of comment in his charge. There is no crime; but because he apprehends crime in the County and the City of Dublin he very arbitrarily, and without a shadow of cause, has applied to that county and city the 1st section—has applied to 500,000 people the humiliation and the insult of wantonly setting up a Star Chamber in their midst, and all that he can say in defence of his unaccountable action is that although crime does not exist in Dublin, that something may be done in Dublin at some time or another that may blossom into crime. Sir, reasoning like that would justify the massacre of the innocents. That also was taking time by the forelock. That was a measure of State policy conducted by a high official with very much the same object, for certain infants were got out of the way for fear that when grown up that they might blossom into agitators. I, Sir, have a right to speak for the citizens of Dublin, and I tell the right hon. Gentleman that if he dares without a shadow of a cause of justification to set up his Star Chamber in that City, after having inflicted the humiliation and insult of authorizing the establishment of that Chamber—if he sets that Chamber at work and lays every citizen of Dublin open to have his private affairs examined without any means of vindicating his character before the public—I tell him that if a Star Chamber is set up in Dublin, the inquisition will be severely dealt with. I ask, is not respect for law undermined when men can have no respect for its administration? The principal use of this Act is the administration of the summary powers conferred by it. And who are the men who are administering those powers? We have heard a great deal about the Resident Magistrates. They are the most non-descript and maudlin collection of curiosities in the Public Service of the world. They receive a certificate of competency which would no doubt be useful to them if they were but jockeys. Who are those men? A few of them are briefless, a score of them are incapacitated commanders, another score of 1404 them are ex-officers of the police, and some of them, to my own knowledge, are men who were mere ignorant idlers, pitchforked on to the coercion bench for no better reason that any man can discover than that the Government were satisfied by their practical experience as to their being fit for nothing useful, and that, therefore, they might possibly be fit for that. These magistrates, in the main, have no practical knowledge of the law, and no experience of public affairs, and they are opposed by social prejudice and personal interest to the mass of the people. Let mo give two or three examples of them. Mr. Hamilton is a man who fawned upon the hon. Member for North-East Cork when he thought the Home Rule Bill might possibly become law. He is the same Mr. Hamilton who wrote a letter to you, Sir, and who was unable to state the charge in legal language. Then there is Colonel Carew, who declared from the Bench that he represented the Crown, and who said that he had received his orders from the Government and dared not disobey them. I can easily believe him. Obedience to the will of the Chief Secretary for Ireland and the satisfying of his desires is the condition on which these men receive their appointments. Mr. Dillon, another of these magistrates, declared from the Bench that a Proclamation from the Chief Secretary for Ireland had made a meeting illegal, and that the Proclamation had been issued by virtue of the Coercion Act, while we who are neither lawyers nor magistrates are well aware that no Proclamation of the Chief Secretary or of the Government of Ireland can make a meeting illegal, and that even if it could be, he has no power to issue proclamations. Captain Massey and Mr. Irwin, two more of these magistrates, have laid down from the Bench the doctrine that the Coercion Act overturns the fundamental rule of law because in it they ruled that the onus of proof of guilt does not lie upon the Crown, but that the onus of proof of innocence lies upon the defendant. Mr. Cecil Roche imagines that when he consented to state a case that the option of the Court to which the case was to be stated lay not with the defendant but with himself. Mr. Cecil Roche gives a man a month in gaol for laughing at a policeman, and Mr. Cecil Roche gets himself into a judicial 1405 temper and beats the people with his stick before he goes on the Bench, and after his judicial duties are over sallies out from the Bench and escorts the prisoners to a railway station. His custom—or, at any rate, he has upon more than four occasions ordered a rifle butt end charge at the people in the street, and takes a leading part in the attack himself. Those are the administrators of the law, and those being the administrators of the law, what respect for law can there be? One of the many pie-crust pledges made by the Chief Secretary for Ireland to the House during the passage of the Act was upset when the Solicitor General for Ireland assured us the other day that it was the duty of the stipendiaries to state a case when required except upon a frivolous application. Now, Sir, I have followed closely, except for one period of six weeks, the whole course of the Coercion Act, and I lay down broadly this assertion, that it has been the almost invariable rule of the stipendiaries under this Act to refuse to state their reasons and to refuse to record the ground of the application and to refuse to state a case, no matter how good the ground of application might be. But how was it with regard to appeals? The Chief Secretary for Ireland promised an appeal in every case. How has the pledge been kept? The law was loft in such a condition that no man could get an appeal at all unless his sentence exceeded imprisonment for a month. Although the Chief Secretary for Ireland ingeniously pretends that he has no control over the Resident Magistrates, and that he does not direct their action, I would recall the memory of this House to his speech to his own constituents last year, where he pointed out to his constituents, but really to his servants in Ireland, the inconvenience of long sentences and the inconvenience of allowing public men to be at large in the interval between the infliction of the sentence and the hearing of the appeal, and the superior advantage of the infliction of short sentences from that point of view. The effect, Sir, was instant and signal. The speech was as effective as a circular from Dublin Castle. The stipendiaries forthwith began to pass short sentences of a month and under, which deprived the men upon whom they were inflicted of their right of appeal. In case that might not be satis- 1406 factory to the Government owing to the lightening of the punishment, the plot was completed by the lawyers of the Crown, for they initiated at the same time a system of cumulative sentences—a system repugnant to the idea of justice and the spirit of the law—a principle by which they carved out of the same Act a series of offences and of charges. As, for instance, Sir, if a man made a speech at a public meeting they charged him first with an unlawful assembly, they charged him then, for the same speech, with taking part in unlawful conspiracy to incite, and then they charged him with inciting other people to take part in the conspiracy. Upon each of these three charges the man was tried, and upon each of them a separate sentence was inflicted. These separate sentences amounted to a good long term. The Government were satisfied by the severity of the sentences, and the liberties of the subject in Ireland were absolutely left to the Chief Secretary for Ireland and his menials at the bar and on the Bench; but the progress went one step further, and was conducted in this way—when a sentence was passed upon a public man long enough to allow him to appeal, he was, upon being admitted to bail, immediately rearrested, tried upon another charge, and put into gaol for a period not long enough to entitle him to appeal, but long enough to embarrass his defence and to keep him in prison until his appeal came on to be heard. I will refer to the case of the hon. Member for South Galway (Mr. Sheehy), who was imprisoned for a public speech. He was charged with delivering a public speech. He was sentenced to imprisonment for three months. He was admitted to bail, and the moment he had given bail and was set at liberty, upon leaving the Court he was re-arrested and was taken to Clonmel. He was there tried in respect of a speech which had already been used against him in his trial at Roscommon—which had been used, Sir, to ensure his conviction; and, to increase the measure of his guilt, he was sentenced a second time upon that speech to be imprisoned for a term short enough to prevent him from appealing, and then during that term he was kept in prison he was prevented from arranging and preparing his defence, and he was taken from the 1407 prison to the hearing of his appeal into the midst of his own constituents in the garb of a common criminal. I also refer to the case of my hon. Friend the Member for East Clare (Mr. Cox). He was tried for the delivery of a public speech, and was sentenced at Ennis to a period long enough to prevent him from appealing. He was sentenced to four months' imprisonment. He was liberated on bail. Upon being set at liberty, he was instantly re-arrested, and four days later he was brought before the same Court, before the same magistrates, and tried a second time upon a charge carved out of the same speech; and upon that second charge he was not admitted to bail, although he had been admitted to bail in respect of the heavier conviction. He was sent to prison, and kept in prison, until the time for the hearing of his appeal came on. Sir, this is the system by which the right of appeal which the Chief Secretary for Ireland promised has been extinguished, and the plot culminated in the action by which three or four County Court Judges suddenly amazed the country by increasing and doubling sentences on appeal—an act which, whether technically illegal or not, was as repugnant to the spirit of justice as any act by any Judge could well be. It aroused such a tempest of indignation in this country that by no County Court Judge in Ireland is such action likely to be repeated. Now, Sir, I have shown that the people of Ireland were practically left, in violation of pledges, at the mercy of the Stipendiaries; but, Sir, these Stipendiaries have been amusing themselves for the past year by sending people to prison on the charge of unlawful assembly. Now, what is an unlawful assembly in Ireland? I am not a lawyer, and I do not attempt to define it. A man is sent to prison in Ireland under the Coercion Act, and his farm is left to go waste and his wife and family left to starve, and if the neighbours come to plough or to sow his land, or to give food or fuel to his family, the police break in upon that gathering, and that becomes an unlawful assembly. A public man in Ireland is arrested, and the people cheer him on his way to prison. That is an unlawful assembly. If a coercion prisoner is released, and his neighbours meet him outside the gaol to welcome him back 1408 to liberty and to accompany him to his home, the police break in upon that occasion also, and it becomes an unlawful assembly. If upon any occasion of a gathering in Ireland anyone groans at the Chief Secretary for Ireland—which a great many people are certainly inclined to do—or if anyone cheers the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian—which chiefly means the popular inclination in Ireland—the police make the groan or the cheer the pretext for the attack, and the gathering of the people becomes an unlawful assembly; and every man upon whom the police chooses to lay hands on on such an occasion is sent to prison, sometimes for months and sometimes with hard labour, upon a charge of taking part in an unlawful assembly. A man is sent to gaol with hard labour for taking part in meetings of the suppressed branches of the National League. What has been the evidence? Has it been proved the meetings of the suppressed branches have been held? Not at all. The Stipendiaries never stop to ask for such evidence. A number of men are seen going into a house, and the police are not aware of what happens in the house. They charge the men with holding a meeting of the suppressed branch of the League, and the Coercion Stipendiaries Massey and Redmond have wisely laid it down that the onus of proof does not lie on the Crown but on the men. But the main function of the Coercion Act has been in reference to charges of conspiracy, I have closely followed the working of the Act, I have read the evidence published in every case since the Act passed into law, and I say that no such case has come to my knowledge of conviction for conspiracy under the 2nd section of the Act which the judgment of the Court of Exchequor does not render an illegal conviction. A charge of conspiracy under the Act is a new-fangled charge. The Chief Secretary stated that the Act created no new crime, but, in truth it is studded with brand-new crime. The Chief Baron himself declared the other day that an indictment for the kind of conspiracy charged in this section could not have been maintained in any Court before the Act passed into law. What does the right hon. Gentleman say to that? I confront him with the declaration of the Lord Chief Baron. The judgment 1409 of the Court of Exchequer has made it plain that a conspiracy amongst persons not to deal is not an offence against the Act. Then I say that the convictions for conspiracy since the Act passed into law have been illegal, because I cannot call to mind one single case in which the Crown have ventured to go one inch beyond that. The Lord Chief Baron and his brother Judges have laid it down that in order to establish a charge of conspiracy the word "induce" must be understood to mean compulsion, and, in effect, intimidation, and in these cases not a shadow of this intimidation is found. The Government have sheltered their magistrates under the plea of mistake. But there could be no mistake in the Castlemartyr case. In the case of David Barry, what mistake could there have been about the man who sold the bread and wanted to give the money back because he would not be a black sheep more than the others, and would rather give the bread than receive money for it? How can any Judge or magistrate pretend that he was compelled by others not to deal with the police? It was not a mistake on the part of these magistrates if, when they tried the Castlemartyr case, they had before them the judgment in the Court of Exchequer in the case of Sullivan the blacksmith. That judgment declared that it was necessary to prove in these cases that compulsion had been exercised upon others. It was a warning and direction to them, and to every other magistrate in Ireland, that no conviction for conspiracy could be found unless compulsion was proved. They ignored that judgment. They trampled upon it, and they disgraced even the tainted Bench of which they are members. And the right hon. Gentleman, nevertheless, has declared to-night that these men are to be continued in their places to deride the judgments of Superior Courts, and to oppress and imprison innocent, helpless, and inoffensive men. I, for my part, am scarcely sorry for it, and I should not be sorry if they were promoted and included in the next batch of C. B.'s, because it is owing to their scandals and illegal acts that the Government will be eventually overthrown. The judgment of the Court of Exchequer in the Castle-martyr case rules the case of Mr. Dillon. Now, this Act was applied to the county of Louth in order to entrap 1410 Mr. Dillon. He is as ready as any man in this House, or in the world, to face the consequences of his acts under any law that the Government may devise. We do not complain of this. What we do complain of is that the Government thought nothing of abolishing the dearest interests of 100,000 people in an Irish county—a most crimeless county, against which not even the shadow of a case has been made out—for the sole and simple purpose of imprisoning one man, and placing a gag upon the lips of one man, whose voice they fear when it is addressed to the English people. If Mr. Dillon's speech at Tullyallen was sufficient, why did they give in evidence against him the speech of another hon. Gentleman which was not made the subject of a charge? They gave in evidence a speech made two years ago, before the Coercion Act was passed, and a speech for which he had already been tried by a carefully selected jury and not convicted, and that in contravention of a pledge that no such step should be taken under the Coercion Act. Mr. Dillon was charged with taking part in an unlawful conspiracy to compel and induce others to commit an offence. Why were not some of those with whom he joined identified and placed in the dock with him? If the Government were honest in their desire to keep down crime in Ireland they would welcome the speeches of Mr. Dillon and of others. Mr. Dillon's speech at Tullyallen was the most powerful protest against crime which ever proceeded from the lips of a public man. When Mr. Dillon said that the lives of traitors would be an unhappy one, he meant it in the same sense in which the lives of blacklegs and thieves would be unhappy. The unhappiness was the unhappiness of those who act against the interests of the people and against the public welfare. Why was he sentenced to six months' imprisonment? Because, as the magistrate said, he was a man of power. But what a sad commentary is that upon the spirit of your rule. The same thing which makes a man a leader if he is born in England makes him a prisoner if he is born in Ireland. Mr. Dillon took his case to the County Court; but the Judge, acting upon the instructions of the Government to refuse facilities as far as possible for the effectuation of justice, refused to make the order in 1411 such a form as to enable it to be reviewed. The County Court Judge who sent Mr. Dillon to prison was appointed by the Chief Secretary, and is as zealous a partizan as any man in Ireland. Such is the course of procedure, absurd and illegal as it is, and such are the functionaries by whose procurement Mr. Dillon has been sent to prison and others have been subjected by a Government who profess to desire the conciliation of the people of Ireland to the loss of liberty. They have been, as is the case with some of my hon. Friends, assaulted by warders, stripped of their clothes in gaol, allowed to stand naked for hours together, clothed in the garb of the criminal, tortured on the plank bed by deprivation of sleep, shut up ill holes, and starved on bread and water for days and weeks for refusal to perform the meanest tasks associated with criminals. Such is the record of one year of the Coercion Act, and such being the record of one year of the Act, how long do you think the Act will endure? It will last as long as its authors last—perhaps so long—but certainly not one day longer. And how long will they last? Two years ago they went into the Lobby with a majority of 140. Will they pretend that they have that majority now? The answer is often given. It began at Burnley a good long time ago, and it has continued in many constituencies. It was given the other day with crushing emphasis at Southampton, and it was delivered last night in unmistakable terms by the Member for Ayrshire. The Ministry does not depend on the Tory Party. They do not constitute one-half the House, and they have not even the power to issue a Writ for filling up a seat. The real authors of the Coercion Act and its efficient guardians are to be found on this side of the House in the Liberal Unionist Party. The Coercion Act could never have been enacted, and without them and without their favour it could not last a single day. What is the position of the Liberal Unionists? They have been compared to a criminal in a condemned cell. The comparison was in several senses most apposite, because they may while they stay here drag out an unhappy kind of life. They will stay here as long as they can, but when the day comes which obliges them to go forth, that day will mark their doom. 1412 The Liberal Unionists in this House enjoy a kind of life, but what is to become of them in the country? The noble Lord the Member for Rossendale (the Marquess of Hartington) puts on the airs of a Party Leader; but can he return a Member for any seat in Great Britain? Nay, more, is there a seat in Great Britain at the present moment where, if a contest occurred, a published letter from the noble Lord would not ensure the defeat of the candidate whom he favoured? The Liberal Unionist Party, so far as concerns the public life of this country, is nothing more than a mouldy relic. It is offensive to every sense, and the only remedy is to bury it on the first available occasion. The noble Lord the Member for Rossendale is the head of it, and the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) is one of the joints of its decomposing tail. Such is the moral condition of the authority of the Government and their Confederates. What is our position? At the General Election, a few years ago, you left us two-thirds of the seats without a contest and without even nominating a candidate, and for every contest that took place in the other third, we won against you a greater relative majority than that by which the power of the Government was sustained. Our moral and elective authority is increasing every day, while yours is decreasing and is on the wane. But you have a majority here to-night; the Motion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle can be defeated, your votes will defeat him; but what respect will your votes command? The day of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle has come. He need not ask the Removables opposite to state a case for him, for he has appealed to what is happily the final court of his country—the conscience of the people. We believe that the British public, or the greater part of it, are weary of the cruel use of this Act and of its corrupt administration, and their abhorrence of it will burst out into a moral insurrection when they find that under it a Chief Secretary for Ireland, at the instigation of a faction, can become the gaoler of a man more powerful in Ireland than the Chief Secretary is in England, more respected in England than the Chief Secretary is anywhere. The people of England will appreciate the use to which the Act is being put; 1413 and, for my part, I make no doubt that if to-morrow the gaoler and the prisoner should appear together before a free and open assembly, not of the classes, but of the fair-minded British people, who hate all tyranny and abominate all meanness, the gaoler in his new red gown as Doctor of Coercion Law, and John Dillon, in convict's garb—I make no doubt that public approval and public welcome would be given not to the Minister who has made himself the willing instrument to the greed and revenge of a class, but to the Representative who forfeited his liberty and is risking his very life in what is to him— and what ought to be to him—the most worthy, the most sacred cause upon this earth—the cause of the homes and the liberties of his people.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 273; Noes 366: Majority 93.1418
|Abraham, W. (Glam.)||Channing, F. A.|
|Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.)||Childers, rt. hon. H. C. E.|
|Acland, A. H. D.||Clancy, J. J.|
|Acland, C. T. D.||Clark, Dr. G. B.|
|Allison, R. A.||Cobb, H. P.|
|Anderson, C. H.||Coleridge, hon. B.|
|Asher, A.||Colman, J. J.|
|Asquith, H. H.||Commins, A.|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Condon, T. J.|
|Austin, J.||Conway, M.|
|Balfour, Sir G.||Conybeare, C. A. V.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. J. B.||Corbet, W. J.|
|Ballantine, W. H. W.||Cossham, H.|
|Barbour, W. B.||Cox, J. R.|
|Barran, J.||Cozens-Hardy, H. H.|
|Barry, J.||Craig, J.|
|Beaumont, W. B.||Craven, J.|
|Biggar, J. G.||Crawford, D.|
|Bolton, J. C.||Crawford, W.|
|Bolton, T. D.||Cremer, W. R.|
|Bradlaugh, C.||Crilly, D.|
|Bright, Jacob||Crossley, E.|
|Bright, W. L.||Davies, W.|
|Broadhurst, H.||Deasy, J.|
|Brown, A. L.||Dickson, T. A.|
|Bruce, hon. R. P.||Dillwyn, L. L.|
|Brunner, J. T.||Dodds, J.|
|Bryce, J.||Duff, R. W.|
|Buchanan, T. R.||Ellis, J.|
|Burt, T.||Ellis, J. E.|
|Buxton, S. C.||Ellis, T. E.|
|Byrne, G. M.||Esmonde, Sir T. H. G.|
|Cameron, C.||Esslemont, P.|
|Cameron, J. M.||Evans, F. H.|
|Campbell, Sir G.||Evershed, S.|
|Campbell-Bannerman, right hon.||Farquharson, Dr. R.|
|Carew, J. L.||Ferguson,R. C. Munro-|
|Causton, R. K.||Finucane, J.|
|Cavan, Earl of||Firth, J. F. B.|
|Chance, P. A.||Flower, C.|
|Flynn, J. C.||M'Lagan, P.|
|Foley, P. J.||M'Laren, W. S. B.|
|Foljambe, C. G. S.||Mahony, P|
|Forster, Sir C.||Maitland, W. F.|
|Foster, Sir W. B.||Mappin, Sir F. T.|
|Fowler, rt. hon. H. H.||Marum, E. M.|
|Fox, Dr. J. F.||Mayne, T.|
|Fry, T.||Menzies, R. S.|
|Fuller, G. P.||Molloy, B. C.|
|Gardner, H.||Montagu, S.|
|Gaskell, C. G. Milnes-||Morgan, right hon. G. O.|
|Gill, T. P.||Morgan, O. V.|
|Gladstone, rt. hn. W. E.||Morley, rt. hon. J.|
|Gladstone, H. J.||Mundella, right hon. A. J.|
|Gourley, E. T.|
|Graham, R. C.||Murphy, W. M.|
|Grey, Sir E.||Neville, R.|
|Grove, Sir T. F.||Newnes, G.|
|Gully, W. C.||Nolan, Colonel J. P.|
|Haldane, R. B.||Nolan, J.|
|Hanbury-Tracy, hon. F. S. A.||O'Brien, J. F. X.|
|O'Brien, P. J.|
|Harcourt, rt. hon. Sir W. G. V. V.||O'Brien, W.|
|Harrington, E.||O'Connor, J.|
|Harrington, T. C.||O'Connor, T. P.|
|Harris, M.||O'Doherty, J. E.|
|Hayden, L. P.||O'Gorman Mahon, The|
|Hayne, C. Seale-||O'Hanlon, T.|
|Healy, M.||O'Hea, P.|
|Healy, T. M.||O'Keeffe, F. A.|
|Hingley, B.||O'Kelly, J.|
|Holden, I.||Palmer, Sir C. M.|
|Hooper, J.||Parker, C. S.|
|Howell, G.||Parnell, C. S.|
|Hoyle, I.||Paulton, J. M.|
|Hunter, W. A.||Pease, H. F.|
|Illingworth, A.||Pickard, B.|
|Jacoby, J. A.||Pickersgill, E. H.|
|James, hon. W. H.||Picton, J. A.|
|Joicey, J.||Pinkerton, J.|
|Jordan, J.||Playfair, right hon. Sir L.|
|Kay-Shuttleworth, rt. hon. Sir U. J.|
|Plowden, Sir W. C.|
|Kenny, C. S.||Portman, hon. E. B.|
|Kenny, J. E.||Potter, T. B.|
|Kenny, M. J.||Powell, W. R. H.|
|Kilbride, D.||Power, P. J.|
|Labouchere, H.||Power, R.|
|Lalor, R.||Price, T. P.|
|Lane, W. J.||Priestley, B.|
|Lawson, Sir W.||Provand, A. D.|
|Lawson, H. L. W.||Pugh, D.|
|Leahy, J.||Pyne, J. D.|
|Leake, R.||Quinn, T.|
|Lefevre, right hon. G. J. S.||Randell D.|
|Lewis, T. P.||Redmond, J. E.|
|Lockwood, F.||Redmond, W. H. K.|
|Lyell, L.||Reed, Sir E. J.|
|Macdonald, W. A.||Reid, R. T.|
|Maclnnes, M.||Rendel, S.|
|Mac Neill, J. G. S.||Reynolds, W. J.|
|M'Arthur, A.||Richard, H.|
|M'Arthur, W. A.||Roberts, J.|
|M'Cartan, M.||Roberts, J. B.|
|M'Carthy, J||Robertson, E.|
|M'Carthy, J. H.||Robinson, T.|
|M'Donald, P.||Roe, T.|
|M'Donald, Dr. R.||Roscoe, Sir H. E.|
|M'Ewan, W.||Rowlands, J.|
|M'Kenna, Sir J. N.||Rowlands, W. B.|
|Rowntree, J.||Thomas, A.|
|Russell, Sir C.||Thomas, D. A.|
|Samuelson, Sir B.||Trevelyan, right hon. Sir G. O.|
|Schwann, C. E.||Tuite, J.|
|Sexton, T.||Vivian, Sir H. H.|
|Shaw, T.||Waddy, S. D.|
|Sheehan, J. D.||Wallace, R.|
|Sheehy, D.||Wardle, H.|
|Sheil, E.||Warmington, C. M.|
|Simon, Sir J.||Watt, H.|
|Sinclair, J.||Wayman, T.|
|Slagg, J.||Whitbread, S.|
|Smith, S.||Will, J. S.|
|Spencer, hon. C. R.||Williams, A. J.|
|Stack, J.||Williamson, J.|
|Stanhope, hon. P. J.||Williamson, S.|
|Stansfeld, right hon. J.||Wilson, C. H.|
|Stevenson, F. S.||Wilson, H. J.|
|Stevenson, J. C.||Wilson, I.|
|Stewart, H.||Winterbotham, A. B.|
|Storey, S.||Woodall, W.|
|Stuart, J.||Woodhead, J.|
|Sullivan, D.||Wright, C.|
|Sullivan, T. D.|
|Sutherland, A.||Marjoribanks, rt. hon. E.|
|Swinburne, Sir J.|
|Talbot, C. R. M.||Morley, A.|
|Tanner, C. K.|
|Addison, J. E. W.||Bethell, Commander G. R.|
|Agg-Gardner, J. T.|
|Ainslie, W. G.||Bickford-Smith, W.|
|Aird, J.||Biddulph, M.|
|Allsopp, hon. G.||Bigwood, J.|
|Allsopp, hon. P.||Birkbeck, Sir E.|
|Ambrose, W.||Blundell, Col. H. B. H.|
|Amherst, W. A. T.||Bolitho, T. B.|
|Anstruther, Colonel R. H. L.||Bond, G. H.|
|Bonsor, H. C. O.|
|Anstruther, H. T.||Boord, T. W.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, E.||Borthwick, Sir A.|
|Baden-Powell, Sir G. S.||Bridgeman, Col. hon. F. C.|
|Bailey, Sir J.R.||Bristowe, T. L.|
|Baird, J. G. A.||Brodrick, hon. W. St. J. F.|
|Balfour, rt. hon. A. J.|
|Banes, Major G. E.||Brookfield, A. M.|
|Barclay, J. W.||Brooks, Sir W. C.|
|Baring, T. C.||Brown, A. H.|
|Barnes, A.||Bruce, Lord H.|
|Barry, A. H. S.||Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Ash.-B.|
|Bartley, G. C. T.|
|Barttelot, Sir W. B.||Burghley, Lord|
|Bass, H.||Caine, W. S.|
|Bates, Sir E.||Caldwell, J.|
|Baumann, A. A.||Campbell, Sir A.|
|Bazley-White, J.||Campbell, J. A.|
|Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks-||Carmarthen, Marq. Of|
|Cavendish, Lord E.|
|Beach, W. W. B.||Chamberlain, rt. hn. J.|
|Beadel, W. J.||Chamberlain, R.|
|Beaumont, H. F.||Chaplin, right hon. H.|
|Beckett, E. W.||Charrington, S.|
|Beckett, W.||Churchill, rt. hn. Lord R. H. S.|
|Bective, Earl of|
|Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C.||Clarke, Sir E. G.|
|Bentinck, Lord H. C.||Cochrane-Baillie, hon. C. W. A. N.|
|Bentinck, W. G. C.|
|Beresford, Lord C. W. De la Poer||Coddington, W.|
|Coghill, D. H.|
|Collings, J.||Fulton, J. F.|
|Colomb, Sir J. C. R.||Gardner, R. Richardson-|
|Cooke, C. W. R.||Gathorne-Hardy, hon. A. E.|
|Corbett, A. C.|
|Corbett, J.||Gathorne-Hardy, hon. J. S.|
|Corry, Sir J. P.|
|Cotton, Capt. E. T. D.||Gedge, S.|
|Courtney, L. H.||Gent-Davis, R.|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Giles, A.|
|Cross, H. S.||Gilliat, J. S.|
|Crossley, Sir S. B.||Godson, A. F.|
|Crossman, Gen. Sir W.||Goldsmid, Sir J.|
|Cubitt, right hon. G.||Goldsworthy, Major-General W. T.|
|Currie, Sir D.|
|Curzon, Viscount||Gorst, Sir J. E.|
|Curzon, hon. G. N.||Goschen, rt. hn. G. J.|
|Dalrymple, Sir C.||Granby, Marquess of|
|Darling, C. J.||Gray, C. W.|
|Davenport, H. T.||Green, Sir E.|
|Dawnay, Colonel hon. L. P.||Greenall, Sir G.|
|De Cobain, E. S. W.||Grimston, Viscount|
|De Lisle, E. J. L. M. P.||Grotrian, F. B.|
|De Worms, Baron H.||Gunter, Colonel R.|
|Dickson, Major A. G.||Gurdon, R. T.|
|Dimsdale, Baron R.||Hall, A. W.|
|Dixon, G.||Hall, C.|
|Dixon-Hartland, F. D.||Halsey, T. F.|
|Donkin, R. S.||Hambro, Col. C. J. T.|
|Dorington, Sir J. E.||Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F.|
|Duncan, Colonel F.|
|Duncombe, A.||Hamilton, Lord C. J.|
|Dyke, right hon. Sir W. H.||Hamilton, Col. C. E.|
|Hamley, Gen. Sir E. B.|
|Ebrington, Viscount||Hanbury, R. W.|
|Edwards-Moss, T. C.||Hankey, F. A.|
|Egerton, hon. A. J. F.||Hardcastle, E.|
|Egerton, hon. A. de T.||Hardcastle, F.|
|Elcho, Lord||Hartington, Marq. Of|
|Elliot, Sir G.||Hastings, G. W.|
|Elliot, hon. A. R. D.||Havelock - Allan, Sir H. M.|
|Elliot, hon. H. F. H.|
|Elliot, G. W.||Heath, A. R.|
|Ellis, Sir J. W.||Heathcote, Capt. J. H. Edwards-|
|Elton, C. I.|
|Ewart, Sir W.||Heaton, J. H.|
|Ewing, Sir A. O.||Heneage, right hon. E.|
|Eyre, Colonel H.|
|Farquharson, H. R.||Herbert, hon. S.|
|Feilden, Lt -Gen. R. J.||Hermon-Hodge, R. T.|
|Fellowes, A. E||Hervey, Lord F.|
|Fergusson, right hon. Sir J||Hill, right hon. Lord A. W.|
|Field, Admiral E.||Hill, Colonel E. S.|
|Fielden, T.||Hill, A. S.|
|Finch, G. H.||Hoare, E. B.|
|Finlay, R. B.||Hoare, S.|
|Fisher, W. H.||Hobhouse, H.|
|Fitzgerald, R. U. P.||Holloway, G.|
|Fitzwilliam, hon. W. H. W.||Hornby, W. H.|
|Houldsworth, Sir W. H.|
|Fitzwilliam, hon. W. J. W.|
|Fitz - Wygram, Gen. Sir F. W.||Howorth, H. H.|
|Hozier, J. H. C.|
|Fletcher, Sir H.||Hubbard, hon. E.|
|Folkestone, right hon. Viscount||Hughes, Colonel E.|
|Hughes - Hallett, Col. F. C.|
|Forwood, A. B.|
|Fowler, Sir R. N.||Hulse, E. H.|
|Fraser, General C. C.||Hunt, F. S.|
|Fry, L.||Hunter, Sir W. G.|
|Isaacs, L. H.||Morrison, W.|
|Isaacson, F. W.||Moss, R.|
|Jackson, W. L.||Mount, W. G.|
|James, rt. hon. Sir H.||Mowbray, right hon. Sir J. R.|
|Jardine, Sir R.|
|Jarvis, A. W.||Mowbray, R. G. C.|
|Jeffreys, A. F.||Mulholland, H. L.|
|Jennings, L. J.||Muncaster, Lord|
|Johnston, W.||Muntz, P. A.|
|Kelly, J. R.||Murdoch, C. T.|
|Kennaway, Sir J. H.||Newark. Viscount|
|Kenrick, W.||Noble, W.|
|Kenyon, hon. G. T.||Norris, E. S.|
|Kenyon - Slaney, Col. W.||Northcote, hon. Sir H. S.|
|Ker, R. W. B.||Norton, R.|
|Kerans, F. H.||O'Neill, hon. R. T.|
|Kimber, H.||Paget, Sir R. H.|
|King, H. S.||Parker, hon. F.|
|Knatchbull-Hugessen, H. T.||Pearce, Sir W.|
|Pelly, Sir L.|
|Knightley, Sir R.||Penton, Captain F. T.|
|Knowles, L.||Plunket, right hon. D. R.|
|Lafone, A.||Plunkett, hon. J. W.|
|Lambert, C.||Pomfret, W. P.|
|Laurie, Colonel R. P.||Powell, F. S.|
|Lawrance, J. C.||Price, Captain G. E.|
|Lawrence, Sir J. J. T.||Puleston, Sir J. H.|
|Lawrence, W. F.||Quilter, W. C.|
|Lea, T.||Raikes, rt. hon. H. C.|
|Lechmere, Sir E. A. H.||Rankin, J.|
|Lees, E.||Rasch, Major F. C.|
|Legh, T. W.||Reed, H. B.|
|Leighton, S.||Richardson, T.|
|Lennox, Lord W. C, Gordon-||Ridley, Sir M. W.|
|Ritchie, right hon. C. T.|
|Lethbridge, Sir R.||Robertson, Sir W. T.|
|Lewis, Sir C. E.||Robertson, J. P. B.|
|Lewisham, right hon. Viscount||Robinson, B.|
|Llewellyn, E. H.||Rollit, Sir A. K.|
|Long, W. H.||Ross, A. H.|
|Lowther, hon. W.||Rothschild, Baron F. J. de|
|Lowther, J. W.|
|Lubbock, Sir J.||Round, J.|
|Lymington, Viscount||Royden, T. B.|
|Macartney, W. G. E.||Russell, Sir G.|
|Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A.||Russell, T. W.|
|Sandys, Lt.-Col. T. M.|
|Mackintosh, C. F.||Saunderson, Col. E. J.|
|Maclean, F. W.||Sellar, A. C.|
|Maclean, J. M.||Selwin-Ibbetson, right hon. Sir H. J.|
|Maclure, J. W.|
|M'Calmont, Captain J.||Selwyn, Captain C. W.|
|Madden, D. H.||Seton-Karr, H.|
|Makins, Colonel W. T.||Shaw-Stewart, M. H.|
|Mallock, R.||Sidebotham, J. W.|
|Maple, J. B.||Sidebottom, T. H.|
|Marriott, right hon. Sir W. T.||Sidebottom, W.|
|Sinclair, W. P.|
|Maskelyne, M. H. N. Story-||Smith, rt. hon. W. H.|
|Matthews, right hon. H.||Spencer, J. E.|
|Stanhope, rt. hon. E|
|Mattinson, M. W.||Stanley, E. J.|
|Maxwell, Sir H. E.||Stephens, H. C.|
|Mayne, Admiral R. C.||Stewart, M. J.|
|Mildmay, F. B.||Stokes, G. G.|
|Mills, hon. C. W.||Sutherland, T.|
|Milvain, T.||Swetenham, E.|
|More, R. J||Sykes, C.|
|Morgan, hon. F.||Talbot, J. G.|
|Tapling, T. K.||Wharton, J. L.|
|Taylor, F.||Whitley, E.|
|Temple, Sir R.||Whitmore, C. A.|
|Theobald, J.||Wiggin, H.|
|Thorburn, W.||Williams, J. Powell-|
|Tollemache, H. J.||Wilson, Sir S.|
|Tomlinson, W. E. M.||Winn, hon. R.|
|Townsend, F.||Wodehouse. E. R.|
|Trotter, Col. H. J.||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Tyler, Sir H. W.||Wood, N.|
|Vernon, hon. G. R.||Wortley, C. B. Stuart-|
|Vincent, C. E. H.||Wright, H. S.|
|Walsh, hon. A. H. J.||Wroughton, P.|
|Waring, Colonel T.||Yerburgh, R. A.|
|Watson, J.||Young, C. E. B.|
|Webster, Sir R. E.|
|Webster, R. G.||TELLERS|
|West, Colonel W. C.||Douglas, A. Akers|
|Weymouth, Viscount||-Walrond, Col. W. H.|