HC Deb 02 March 1888 vol 323 cc35-138

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Motion [1st March], That, having regard to the importance of preserving and protecting the right of open air public meetings for Her Majesty's subjects in the Metropolis, and with a view to prevent ill-will and disorder, it is desirable that an inquiry should be instituted by a Committee of this House into the conditions subject to which such meetings may be held, and the limits of the right of interference therewith by the Executive Government."—(Sir Charles Russell.)

Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.

MR. BRADLAUGII (Northampton)

, in rising to move, as an Amendment to Sir Charles Russell's Motion, at end, to add— And that, in the opinion of this House, it would insure much greater confidence in the administration of the law if a full and public inquiry were granted into the alleged unlawful assembly in Trafalgar Square on Sunday, November 13, 1887, and the conduct of the police in connection therewith: said, that if the Government intended to meet the Motion of his hon. and learned Friend as a Vote of Want of Confidence, there was but little hope for his Amendment. He asked first for an inquiry into the alleged unlawful assembly. It had been contended that the question of unlawful assembly had been concluded by the verdict of the jury against the hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire (Mr. Cunninghame Graham) and Mr. John Burns. He admitted that there was evidence in the language of Mr. Tims, quoted last night by the Home Secretary, and the words since used by Mr. Burns, on which the jury might well find the verdict they had recorded; but, independent of that, he submitted that there was good ground for the inquiry asked for; in fact, it was absolutely necessary, especially since the high claim had been made for the Executive by the right hon. Gentleman. There was no such general power in the Executive as was claimed not only against the disorderly persons to whom the Home Secretary referred, but against the whole public, and against all meetings, whether lawful or not and whenever held. He quite agreed with the Home Secretary that a threat to force an entrance into the Square was unlawful; but, at the same time, he would suggest that the semi-military occupation of the Square by the Government, which was intended to prevent the exercise of the lawful right of user, was itself calculated to provoke, in the case of ignorant persons, the unlawful acts to which reference had been made by the right hon. Gentleman. He submitted also that wherever there was a claim of right with which the Executive had to deal it was the primary duty of the Executive to submit the claims to the Courts of Law rather than to the adjudication of force. That had hitherto been the policy of each Government in succession, whether Conservative or Liberal, and the course taken by Her Majesty's present Administration had been a lamentable abandonment of the traditions of the Home Office. In this case there was no such occupation as immediately followed the riots in February, 1886; but a notice was issued forbidding all meetings. If the Government had intended to provoke violence they could not have taken means better calculated to effect that object. It was within his own knowledge that the Home Secretary had been applied to in writing by a lady who was assaulted by the police—he meant such an assault as was sufficient to raise the question—for the names and numbers of the constables against whom she might bring an action. Although there was an account of the assault in all the daily papers the Home Secretary had written back that he was unable to ascertain the facts required. [Mr. MATTHEWS dissented.] He spoke after perusing all the correspondence, and did not think his memory betrayed him.


If the hon. Member has the letters he had better read them.


said, that he had not the letters with him, but he dictated the letters to the right hon. Gentleman, and was generally careful in what he dictated, and he read his replies. He would undertake that copies were sent to the right hon. Gentleman tomorrow.


I have copies.


said, he had no doubt the right hon. Gentleman had copies. He could not be wrong in the case of Mr. Saunders, when the Government had an opportunity of having the legal question decided, but instructed the learned counsel to abandon the prosecution, and at the Old Bailey against Mr. Graham permitted the Attorney General to object to evidence being given for the defendant which should raise the legal question. Both, the Home Secretary and the Attorney General ridiculed the notion that there was any point of law at all. The contention was that by statute, whether or not by fact, Trafalgar Square was vested in Her Majesty as private property. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to dissent; but if that was not so there could be no question of privates owner or trespass, and the eloquent arguments delivered from the brass box rested on no ether legal authority than the brass box. In the case of "The Queen v. Inhabitants of East Mark" (11 Adolphus and Ellis, p. 877) it was laid down that "dedication might be presumed against the Crown from long acquiescence in public user." In this case there had been acquiescence from the opening of the Square to the present time. That was so apart from the argument that the place was created by Parliament for public occupation and user, that it was in the main part purchased with public moneys, and for a number of years was vested in the parishes which paid for it. The King's Mews, a comparatively small part of the area, was the only portion of the Square which belonged to the Crown. Then the House was told that this habit or custom of assembly in the Square was by sufferance and not by right, and the audacious proposition was laid down that there was no such right known to the law as the right of public meeting. Why, in the case of "Forbes v. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners" (Law Report, 15 Eq.) it was decided that a right of assembly and recreation on village green was a recognized right and survived oven in cases where right of common had been taken away by statute. That right of meeting it Trafalgar Square he had successfully asserted against the Government after giving them notice that he should resist if he were interfered with. He did not claim that any person was entitled to enforce his rights by physical force But he was entitled to resist their infringement by such physical force as was at his command; and it had been held over and over again that the mere fact of the trespasser upon his rights happening to be an Official of the Crown, or a constable, did not render the right of resistance loss justifiable. It was urged by the Home Secretary that this question had been dealt with by Mr. Justice Charles. He desired to speak with the respect due to a great Judge, but he controverted the proposition of that learned Judge. The learned Judge's charge to the jury was limited by the evidence submitted to him. The Attorney General proceeded there to shut out by objection the whole of his (Mr. Bradlaugh's) evidence, which was read by the hon. and learned Member for Hackney yesterday. He did not blame the Attorney General for doing that—it was his professional duty—but he maintained that the Government, which instructed him, ought to have said that they would allow every real point to be raised irrespective of technical objections, and that they would not handcuff these men in their attempt to struggle in defence of a popular right. He did not question the wisdom of those who conducted the defence, but if he had been one of the defendants he should have sought to remove the case by certiorari to the Queen's Bench Division, where such a point might have received authoritative decision after full argument. The Home Secretary last night said that he would present the butcher's bill to the House. Well, it was a butcher's bill. He blamed, not the policemen, but the Government, which, by garrisoning the Square with overwhelming force, by dispersing processions with bludgeons, did that to which England was a stranger, and tried to put itself in rivalry with some of the worst forms of Government. He submitted that he had presented a sufficient case to warrant an inquiry into the circumstances of the alleged unlawful assemblage. He now came to that part of the Amendment which dealt with an investigation into the conduct of the police. For this there was a precedent in the Royal Commission which was appointed in 1855. It was granted without much discussion in that House. Lord Palmerston thought it fair that when grave allegations were made he should not shield the police by saying, "This is a Government question," Some of the charges which, were proved before the Commission were so serious that the Government directed fie indictment of one of the police officers. Matters had now reached this stage that the Chief Commissioner of Police mistook himself for a sort of préfet. He thought himself higher than the magistrates, of whom he was only one, and claimed the right to sit as a cour de cassation. When stipendiary magistrates had blamed the police even for perjury, the Chief Commissioner thought it was his right and duty to hold a secret inquiry and acquit the police without examining into the complaints made against them, and also by a public order to rebuke the magistrate who had passed an opinion on the evidence. That was simply a monstrous condition of things. He was astonished at the statement of the right hon. Gentleman last night when he said he was afraid of the police getting out of hand. Now, what kind of stuff were commanders made of when the soldiers got out of hand? The police got out of hand when they knew they had incapable commanders, who one day forbade and another day permitted a thing. He intended to divide his inquiry into the conduct of the police into acts of violence and alleged brutality in dealing with the public on their assembling and on their way to assemble, and into what was much more grave—namely, the assaults by the police upon persons after they were in their custody. The right hon. Gentleman knew that such cases had happened not only in connection with these charges in Trafalgar Square but outside. [Mr. MATTHEWS dissented.] The right hon. Gentleman should not deny this; he surely knew that a case came before the magistrate at Westminster, not in connection with any political meeting at all. It was thus reported in The St. James's GazetteAt Westminster Police Court William Rogers, described as a costermonger, and his wife with him, were charged before Mr. Partridge with being drunk and disorderly. When the man appeared in the dock he had two black eyes. He stated that when he was taken into custody there was no injury to his face, and that these black eyes had been inflicted upon him by the constable in the presence of other constables in the police station while the charge was being taken against him. And that was proved— The inspector, put in the witness-box, said that as the male prisoner stood in the dock the constable let his temper get the upper hand of him and struck the male prisoner as he stood in the dock a blow with his fist in the face. When was the policeman tried for that? Was that one of the police who had got out of hand a little? There were several other cases not relating at all to any of these meetings in Trafalgar Square or elsewhere in which violence had been used by a constable and in which the magistrate rebuked the constable, and in one case dismissed the prisoner. In those cases there was no sort of order of the day and no inquiry, as far as the public know. He agreed that there was much force in what the right hon. Gentleman said—namely, that when the police had been kept on duty for long hours day after day, hooted at and hissed, their tempers went. But the responsibility lay on those who sent them where they ought not to be. Did the right hon. Gentleman think that if they were wanted to strike political prisoners, it would not do to be hard with them when they struck others? The English people whom he had known and worked with had always tried to avoid a conflict with the police. They had tried to alter the law. They stood on the right of self-defence against illegal force, a right which the Government should never deprive them of. With respect to violence used by constables against the public, evidence was given upon oath by the hon. Member for Cardiff (Sir Edward Reed) which, if true, showed that brutal violence was used to the hon. Member for North-West Lanark (Mr. Cunninghame Graham) after he was in custody, and he (Mr. Bradlaugh) had seen that that Gentleman's wound was on the back of the head. The evidence was that the police met him half-way and immediately surrounded him; so that there was no need for such a wound. A great many communications had been sent on this subject of police violence, but he would trouble the House with only one or two. Major General Bryne voluntarily wrote— I was in Trafalgar Square on Sunday afternoon when the mounted police kept charging and irritating the people, who were in good humour; and afterwards when the foot police attacked the procession. I can truly say that the doings of the police were a disgrace to a civilized Christian country. The next evidence he had was that of a man named Meahy—a man in respectable business in Bermondsey—who was one of the marshals of the procession. Having heard that the police intended to stop the processions, he halted his a long way off, and rode up to inquire whether it was true that there were orders to stop the processions. After his inquiry was heard, and there was, therefore, no excuse for violence towards him, he was set upon by the police, and so ill-treated that he had to be taken to Westminster Hospital. If those in charge of the constabulary had intended to provoke a riot they could not have done worse, but probably they had lost their heads. Many other letters had reached him as to the violence of the police in their charges on the people, but he now came to the gravest part of the case—the assaults on men in custody. Every case he should mention he had carefully examined. He would affirm without fear of contradiction that, however vile a criminal, whatever his offence might be, after he was in the custody of the officers of the Crown, it was their duty to guard his personal safety as jealously as they could possibly do. In a letter he had received, a tradesman whom he had long known, and for whose veracity he could absolutely vouch, stated that he was at Bow Street Police Station for the purpose of making some inquiries when some prisoners were brought in. He was prepared to say that he saw the reserve men waiting at the station punch these prisoners with their fists after they were in custody. A man named Fahy, who had been tried and acquitted, was prepared to give evidence, which would render him liable to prosecution if untrue, that at the police station he saw a constable deliberately punch a prisoner named Coleman in the face. Another witness, Ingarfield, could prove that the violence of the polite was so great that he had one of his fingers very seriously injured; he would also prove that after he was arrested outside the police station, he received a violent blow on the back of the head. He was corroborated by his brother, F. W. Ingarfield. J. Halpin said that Coleman previously to entering the station had no marks on his face, and another witness, James Crawford, saw Coleman struck in the face in the police station by constable 99 E. Coleman was afterwards brought into Court with two black eyes. The allegation in Colenian's case was specific, and ought to be the subject of judicial inquiry. William Ambrose Boss saw Coleman taken into custody by 99 E, and he had then no black eyes, but when he saw him afterwards both his eyes were blackened, and his head was bleeding. As to the general conduct of the police to prisoners in their custody, a man named Ellis would prove that he asked at Bow Street Police Court whether he could have bail. The idea of bail, he said, seemed to have exasperated the police, who thereupon cuffed and kicked him down the passage into his cell, using a foul expression about the bail. Surely these were sufficiently grave charges and needed investigation? He would only trouble the House with three more eases. John Morris offered this statement— When I got to King Street Police Station there was a line of men in uniform and some in plain clothes on each side. They all kicked and cuffed me cruelly as I passed down. My head and face were cut by them, and bled. A man named Neil made a statement respecting another called Sullivan: I followed him to Vine Street Station, and whilst he was being taken I saw one of the police strike him en the back of the head with a stick. He was then taken inside the station. I tried to make inquiries about him from the inspector. There was a man in plain clothes inside the station. I was punched on the jaw by him and pushed down the station steps. This was after Neil had stated that he was a witness for Sullivan. The last case was that of man named Cruick-shank, who had been tried and acquitted by a jury, and he would depose that he was taken to King Street Police Station, and that while there he was hit on the back of the head by a police sergeant. Surely the Government would not shelter themselves from an inquiry by professing to regard this Motion as a Vote of Censure. No such attitude was assumed by Lord Palmerston, although he was as likely to defend the authority of the police as any of the present Ministers of the Crown. Lord Palmerston provided legal assistance for the police in the inquiry, and he authorized the Treasury to pay all the legal expenses of the police and of those who prosecuted the case against them. Mr. J. A. Stuart-Wortley, then Recorder of London, conducted the inquiry, and the Report which was issued on the subject brought back the populace of London to absolute confidence in the Government and in Lord Palmerston himself. He know that with Gentlemen who were pledged to support the Government no entreaty of his would have any effect, but he would ask those who were elected as Liberals—those with whom it had been his pleasure to work, while it was now his misfortune to have to attack—whether they could be so dead to the pleadings of those who had none to plead for them save such an inefficient advocate as himself—he would ask them whether they could refuse this legitimate complaint an opportunity of being tried, the Government having wilfully put every obstacle in the way. Their act in Mr. Saunders' case was a wrongful act after consideration. In the other case the Government might have misunderstood his letter, though he generally endeavoured to make himself clear. He did not know whether he could claim the support of the Front Opposition. Bench, to which he was looking very anxiously. He was not making this appeal for Party purposes or from more opposition to authority. He did not pretend to have been the most obedient man to either one side or the other, but the tradition of his life had been always to encourage respect for the law while it was in force; and where he deemed the law unjust, agitation against it by peaceful and Constitutional means. But if the Government answered by bludgeons he would appeal to hon. Gentlemen not to let them trample upon the weak, who had no other tribunal to which they could appeal. The hon. Gentleman concluded by moving the Amendment which stood in his name.

Amendment proposed,

At the end of the Question, to add the words—"And that, in the opinion of this House, it would ensure much greater confidence in the administration of the Law if a full and public inquiry were granted into the alleged unlawful assembly in Trafalgar Square on Sunday, November 13th, 1887, and the conduct of the Police in connection therewith."—(Mr. Bradlaugh.)

Question proposed, "That those words be there added."


Mr. Speaker, I shall endeavour to condense the observations which I wish to make into the briefest possible time, because it seems to me that one result of the Now Rules must be that hon. Members must as far as possible condense their remarks. I make no complaint, I have no right to make any, of the length of the speech of the hon. Member for Northampton, and I am sure he cannot complain of the way in which he was listened to. But I hope the House will allow me to say what will be the consequence if this discussion is allowed to drift from its legitimate subject. The hon. Member has not brought forward one single case which bears upon the subject. I will assume in his favour that some of his cases are within the spirit of his Motion as being connected with the events of the 13th of November. But I assert, and there is no lawyer in the House who will contradict me, that if what the hon. Gentleman asserts has taken place and the names of the parties were brought to the attention of any magistrate sitting on the Bench, there is not one who would not have directed inquiries to be made, and it does not come well from the mouth of a man so fond of posing as the friend of the people that he should have kept back for weeks and months those charges without the slightest intimation of their nature being given to the police authorities, and that he should have brought them forward now for the purpose of attracting sympathy when he knows they will appear in the newspapers tomorrow. I ask, is it fair to air grievances in this House for which the laws of this country afford redress? I should be wasting the time of the House if I were to go into the cases brought forward by the hon. Gentleman. He men- tioned 99 E two or three times, who, he alleges, had grossly assaulted somebody in the police station. Why has not the hon. Member written to the Home Secretary or brought the matter before the Chief Commissioner of Police or a magistrate? It is really degrading the House to introduce such matters for the purpose of endeavouring to prejudice the minds of any persons who may be wavering on the main question by suggesting that the Executive Government have been shielding men who had misbehaved themselves. The hon. Member has no right to insinuate charges of this kind against the Executive Government, when nobody knows better than himself that the Executive Government have had nothing to do with the matter, and he has not until a few moments ago brought the cases to their attention. It must not be thought, because in the exercise of my judgment and out of respect to the dignity of the House I do not argue this question of personal assault, that I admit the hon. Gentleman is right when he states that the Executive Government have failed in their duty, or that they have shielded the police. On the contrary, I assert that the hon. Member has made these charges without a shadow of foundation. Upon the main question I should be willing, if I could in fairness, to have left the argument on this matter where it rested after, if he will allow me to say so, the singularly able argument of the Home Secretary. But in all probability if I had done that, two observations would have been made—first, that the Home Secretary had enunciated the law in a way I was unwilling to support; and, secondly, that a direct appeal had been made to me by the hon. and learned Member for Hackney (Sir Charles Russell), and that I did not rise to answer that appeal. It is for that reason, that I shall endeavour as briefly as possible to put before the House some considerations which appear to me to bear directly on this matter. I repeat and support every proposition of law which was put forward by the Home Secretary. No doubt sometimes in the course of my observations I shall be favoured with the attention of the hon. and learned Member for Hackney. He made an appeal to me, and as I have to reply to his observations I trust he will do me the favour of listening to me. Nothing which I say of him will be couched in any but terms of the greatest respect. In another place he has been my master, but here we meet on equal terms. Does the House remember that about three weeks or a month ago we were told that there had been a marvellous council, a consultation between the great lawyers on the other side, and if I may quote their names without being out of order I will ask leave to do so. We were told that a joint consultation had taken place between a number of distinguished and learned men, headed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby—[Sir WILLIAM HARCOURT dissented]—and attended by that other able Gentleman (Mr. Asquith) who defended the hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire (Mr. Cunninghame Graham).


The report is not true.


I am glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that it is not true. There are a great many statements made in connection with this matter which are not true. We heard that seven or eight learned Gentlemen were to combine and give a written opinion, which was not going to be made known until the meeting of Parliament. I waited with great anxiety for that opinion, and I am sorry that the very learned Gentleman who is to follow me has not considered the question in a lawyer's point of view. But there was another interesting and amusing thing; the hon. and learned Member for Hackney was not content with his own opinion and research; the Junior Bar had been assisting him in his inquiries. He also told us that he had received assistance from a learned solicitor, Mr. Charles Harrison. He said that he had received information from Mr. Harrison, and he cited Mr. Harrison publicly in this House; but I think it is a little unfortunate that the hon. and learned Member for Hackney instead of taking instructions from somebody else, did not go and examine the matter for himself, for upon the main and particular point upon which he relied, and which was communicated by Mr. Harrison, he was absolutely and totally in the wrong. I will prove this when I come to that part of the argument. Now, lot us consider what is the question we are discussing. We were told by the lion, and learned Member for Hackney this was a serious issue, in which the public claimed the right, according to the custom by which they had exercised it, and the power, to hold meetings in Trafalgar Square. Will the House just consider what is the claim which is put forward—at any time, with any numbers, to go to Trafalgar Square and to congregate there in thousands or ten of thousands, and to block up the adjoining streets as long as is necessary for the purpose of these so-called meetings, on any day, under any circumstances, and whatever may be the inconvenience to the public. Now, I challenge anybody to deny that this is the right which is claimed, and if it were necessary for me to prove my case I could produce that which I had had before me in connection with the trial—namely, the notice by which this right was claimed and by which thousands and tens of thousands were invited to come and support this so-called right. I waited yesterday to see where the great master of the law was going to find authority in law for this great claim. It is no use confusing this with the right of free discussion or any other; we have to consider what is this right for which the hon. and learned Member has been contending. He told the House yesterday that he was not going to deal with the narrow and technical legal pedantry of the question. I wonder whether it occurred to lawyers in this House, when they heard the hon. and learned Member use these words, that when a great lawyer is obliged to disdain the narrow and technical pedantry of the question he is rather doubtful of his law? If he could have shown a legal right it would have been the strongest foundation upon which he could have stood; and I say, with the fullest appreciation of my position, that there is not from beginning to end of the books, one single dictum or judgment justifying or supporting the proposition that in a public thoroughfare or a public place set aside for the people to pass and repass and to enjoy it in the ordinary manner, there is a right of meeting or of coming and occupying that place for the purpose of any public speaking at all. I assert that the books are full of authorities the other way. ["No! "] At any rate, we should be glad to hear from the hon. and learned Member for Hackney any dictum of any distinguished lawyer who had supported this right. The hon. and learned Member quoted, in the first place, Baron Alderson. Baron Alderson spoke of the; right of public meeting as being regulated by law and restrained by reason. He did not mean legal regulations laid down by the First Commissioner of Works; he meant regulated and restrained by the law; and I humbly say in this House that Baron Alderson would have been the last man to have suggested when he used the words "regulated by law" he meant that there was a right of public meeting in public thorough fares. Then the hon. and learned Member quoted from Professor Dicey, but I think it would have been almost as well if the hon. and learned Member had read the whole of the quotation. I dare say he has had to rely, as I have had to do myself, to some extent upon the assistance of others in that respect; but the passage which he read is preceded by these words—"It can hardly be said that our Constitution knows of such a thing as any specific right of public meeting;" and it is after those words that the words follow which were read by the hon. and learned Member to the effect that A, B, C, D, and 1,000 or 10,000 other persons may, as a general rule, meet together in any place where otherwise they each have a right to be for a lawful purpose and in a lawful manner. Does any lawyer in this House pretend that a lawful purpose is to go into a highway and make a speech? Why, it has been decided over and over again by the Courts of this country that a man may not go into a public place and make a speech so as to attract a crowd. It has been decided that a man may not put pictures in his window so as to attract a crowd. It has been decided that a man may not even preach on his private property if people gathered in the street to listen to him. It is an idictable offence so to obstruct a public place. It cannot be suggested that Mr. Dicey when he spoke of "a lawful purpose" and "a lawful manner" meant "an unlawful purpose" and "an unlawful manner." Do hon. Members opposite mean to say that these meetings were held for a legal purpose and in a lawful manner? I have yet to learn that committing an indictable offence was a lawful purpose and acting in a legal manner. No lawyer can cite any authority to the contrary, and I do not suggest that the hon. and learned Member laid down any proposition to the contrary. Identically the same right was raised with regard to the Parks; I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby will deny that there are decisions of Lord Chief Justice Cockburn, Mr. Justice Blackburn, Lord Justice Mellor, and Mr. Justice Quain, none of them men desirous to take away any rights from the people. These learned Judges state distinctly, with regard to the contention that people were by law entitled to do what they liked in the Parks and to make speeches, or anything of the kind, that they were aware of no legal principle and no authority upon which such right rested, and that they were quite confident that there was no enactment which said anything of the sort. I want to know whether the hon. and learned Member relies upon any such supposed right. Let him produce one single textbook writer or Judge who has directly or indirectly recognized such a right. But the direct point has arisen with regard to commons. Nobody will deny that we have a right to walk over commons, and that there are many commons which not only the commoners but the public have the right to use. The question arose in connection with one of the commons near London, where it was urged that meetings had been held for nearly 20 years, and the plea was put forward that because the public had a right to go there, the right of public meeting existed. In trying the case, Mr. Justice Lush and Mr. Justice Manisty decided that such a right was unknown to the law, that it had nothing in the world to do with the rights of passage, and that the fact of meetings having been held did not give any right. But nothing is more irksome to me than merely to rely upon authorities. I appeal to any lawyer, or to any layman who has studied the Constitutional history of this country, and I assert with the very greatest respect, that whereas it has always been recognized that in a lawful place the public have the right to condemn the policy of the Government or to pass any resolution short of sedition, nobody has ever pretended that a place set apart for public purposes could be rightfully occupied for the purpose of making a speech. If that claim can be in any way substantiated, it would be interesting to know whether there was a right of public meeting in the open space between the Athenæum Club and the United Service Club, or in front of the Royal Exchange, or the Thames Embankment, or in Leicester Square, all of which are certainly spaces dedicated to the public. If the right claimed were to be exercised, where would it end? I think that, whereas we ought to be jealous of the right of free speech and free discussion, we are not at liberty and ought not to support under pretence of that free speech that which, is not a right but which is claimed by persons who want a greater use of public property where the public are at present able to enjoy themselves. I now pass, however, from that subject, not that I am unwilling at any time to argue it further, but because I have dealt with broad principles. I desire to refer to the particular matter with which I began my speech—namely, this question as it is applicable to Trafalgar Square. The hon. and learned Member for Hackney must have surprised many hon. Members by apparently unearthing two Acts of Parliament, passed respectively in 1813 and 1826, by which he said this place had been made a public place—that is to say, a square for the public, and that the Crown had no right in it prior to the Act of 1844. And when we demurred and intimated that undoubtedly it was Crown property, he said that we were misinformed.


What I said was that the legal estate was vested in the Crown, but that it was public property, being created and paid for at the public expense.


I was endeavouring to put shortly the hon. and learned Member's objection to our criticism last night. What are the facts? I do not blame the hon. and learned Member. It was a little unfortunate that when he spoke of its forming an open square in front of Charing Cross he left out the words, "forming an open square in the King's Mews in front of Charing Cross." It was a little unfortunate, when he was endeavouring to rebut the express recital of the Act of 1844 the property was vested in the Crown, that he should leave out those words. But that was not all. To the Act of 1813 and the Act of 1826, under which this property was acquired, there was scheduled the form of conveyance under which the property was bought; and I assert that anybody who studies the official documents will find that every scrap of that land which was purchased was purchased by and on behalf of His Majesty. Moreover, there was a remarkable enactment which the hon. and learned Member or those who assisted him had omitted to notice, showing that prior to 1844 no suggestion had been made that there had been any dedication to the public. Somewhere between £300,000 and £400,000 had been spent upon Trafalgar Square, and, so far from that being treated as public moneys forever, it was provided in the Act of 1829, that whenever the land revenues should revert to the Crown the Crown should repay that £300,000 or £400,000. Yet the hon. and learned Gentleman, in face of that fact, asks the House to believe that prior to 1844 there had been a laying out of Union Square for the public in the sense that it was not a part of the property in possession of Her Majesty. I admit that the question of the legal ownership of the Square has for the purposes of to-day very little to do with this question. But it is our duty, when an hon. and learned Member of so much eminence puts before the House—unintentionally, I am sure—so erroneous a statement of the facts as one that is authoritative and accurate, to supplement and correct the information which he has given to the House. Fortunately for myself I had time to-day to turn up the Acts of Parliament bearing on the matter, and I assert that the whole of that land was purchased on behalf of Her Majesty, and that a clause was inserted providing that the Crown should repay that money so expended in the event of the hereditary revenues of the Grown hereafter reverting to the Crown. In the Act of 1844 there was an express recital that these things are all vested in Her Majesty in virtue of the Crown. Everybody agrees that the Executive Government are not acting on behalf of Her Majesty individually, but that they are acting in protection of public rights and of public property; and, therefore, I do not refer in this debate to the mere question of ownership.


The hon. and learned Gentleman and better read the Act. It goes on to say that the space or square has been formed, laid out, embellished, and ornamented at the public expense.


I have never denied that public money was spent upon Trafalgar Square. I have pointed out that the hon. and learned Member made an undoubted mistake in regard to the Acts of 1813 and 1826. I was not dealing with the Act of 1844, but with the position of things prior to the Act of 1844; and I have admitted in the plainest terms that there had been a public expenditure on the Square prior to 1844, and that it then vested in Her Majesty in virtue of the Crown. I must say that I regret one incident in this debate, and that is that one who has held the position of the first Law Officer of the Crown should have thought fit across the Table of the House to ask the Home Secretary to make a statement in regard to the opinions of the Law Officers of the Crown for a long period of years. I have always understood that the opinions given by the Law Officers of the Crown are confidential documents in the strictest sense of the word; and, knowing as he did that my mouth was closed, I confess I was a little surprised that he should have thought fit to make a suggestion in respect to those documents which he knows perfectly well that neither the Home Secretary nor I could accede to. But I am fortunately able, without breaking confidence, to answer the hon. and learned Member on his own ground. He asserted that Sir George Grey said twice in this House that Trafalgar Square was a lawful place of public meeting. He gave us two instances. The first was in 1848, when Sir George Grey dealt in this House with the matter respecting Mr. Cochrane's meeting. All that Sir George Grey there said was that the mooting was not by its purpose an illegal meeting, but that the place in which it was held was prohibited by the 57th of Geo. III., and neither directly nor indirectly did he refer to the question of people being entitled to hold a public meeting in Trafalgar Square This is most important, and anybody can read for himself from the authorized reports the language which Sir George Grey used. He said— The Commissioners of Police, seeing the ad vertisement, wrote to Mr. Cochrane, and informed him that there was an Act of Parlia- ment, the 57th Geo. III., the provisions of which prohibited the holding of any meeting in the open air for the purpose of petitioning Parliament. …. Mr. Cochrane acknowledged the receipt of the communication in a letter in which he stated that he was not aware the meeting was illegal. The Commissioners, in reply, told him that he mistook their meaning, that it was not an illegal meeting, but that the place appointed for it was within the limits prohibited by an Act of Parliament. The hon. and learned Member for Hackney is a great lawyer. Will he seriously assert that when a man says it is illegal under one Act, that implies that it is legal without that Act of Parliament? That argument would not do in a Court of Law, and I do not think it will do in the House of Commons. But I say that Sir George Grey was neither directly nor indirectly referring to the right of public meeting in Trafalgar Square. He was referring to a particular statute which prohibited particular meetings. The other instance cited in respect to Sir George Grey occurred in 1866. And when the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh), somewhat parrot-like, repeated the statement that was made by the hon. and learned Member for Hackney—namely, that Sir George Grey was advised by the Law Officers of the Crown that there was a legal right of meeting in Trafalgar Square—we sent for the book and made the hon. Member for Northampton read it last night. Well, I venture to say that there was not a line or a word to justify the statement of the hon. and learned Member for Hackney that Sir George Grey said, either directly or indirectly, that he had been advised by the Law Officers of the Government that there was a legal right to hold a meeting in Trafalgar Square. Let me then assume that we are to deal with this question apart from the alleged admissions of previous Home Secretaries, and let us see how the matter stands. Undoubtedly there have been at times meetings held in Trafalgar Square. There undoubtedly have been times when, without serious interference with the public right, those meetings might be permitted. But I say that under no circumstances have those meetings been permitted in the sense of being allowed because they were claimed as of right. Those meetings have been permitted because the present Government, like previous Governments, did not wish to interfere with that which possibly was an illegal use of the Square, unless it was necessary in the interests of the public service. And I really want to know what the complaint against the Government is. Is it that they did not interfere soon enough or that they ought not to have interfered at all? It has been already demonstrated by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary that if they had not interfered at all they would have been grossly negligent of their duty. I have heard reference made to Mr. Justice Charles, who said that the Executive could well afford to let people say that they had taken too many precautions rather than let the mischief occur from fear of being blamed for interfering. The hon. and learned Member for Hackney made a curious misstatement in regard to my speech. He asserted that I had said there was no evidence that the Government had anything to do with Sir Charles Warren's regulations. I ventured to correct him, and he read my words, which did not support his statement. My words were that there was not a tittle of evidence that Sir Charles Warren had acted upon the suggestion of the Government. The defendant Burns called Sir Charles Warren the creature of the Government; The defendant Burns had suggested that the object of the Government was to prevent free discussion in respect to their own policy. He suggested that the Government had not acted in the interest of public safety. Fortunately for us, and fortunately for justice, Sir Charles Warren was examined on oath, and a summary of his evidence was given by the Home Secretary last night. There are one or two matters in connection with that which I should like to bring under the notice of the House. Sir Charles Warren said he had personally watched those processions, that he had seen them going to Trafalgar Square day by day, and that if they had not been watched by the police there would have been the same danger to the Metropolis as occurred in February, 1886. The excuse given by the hon. and learned Member for Hackney was that the police happened to go to a wrong place, and because of that a serious riot occurred. Supposing the police had gone to the wrong place during the October and November meetings? Sir Charles Warren has stated on oath that, in his opinion, those gangs were a danger to the streets through which they passed. I may mention one circumstance in connection with that subject. The Home Secretary told the House last night that Sir Charles Warren reported to him that the people who assembled were organized, and were able to go in organized bands to Trafalgar Square for the purpose of forming processions in the streets, and that they could assemble 1,000 strong in 10 minutes. I say, therefore, that any Executive, with what Lord Salisbury properly called the object lesson of 1886 before their eyes, in neglecting the warnings of October, 1887, would have been grossly negligent of their duty. Hon. Members would not forget that there was a good deal of connection between the disturbance of 1886 and the defendant Burns, who was one of the defendants on the present occasion. The hon. and learned Gentleman was severe on Sir Charles Warren's regulation of the 8th of November. He asserted on his authority that Section 52 of the Act gave Sir Charles Warren no power to make the regulation, on the ground that it only regulated processions which were likely to obstruct the streets. I do not believe any Judge in the land reading the statute would construe it in that absurd and narrow way. Let us test it. Let us suppose that two processions are organized of 20,000 people, and that they are both converging on the same point. It is suggested that the police are to make regulations whereby a procession is to be broken up and a small number of persons only are to be allowed to pass. It was proved that all those processions were so exactly timed as to come from five or six different avenues into Charing Cross at the same time. What would have happened if those advancing processions had met at the same time? The hon. and learned Gentlemen said that no reasonable man had any doubt that if the processions had been allowed to pass no harm would have happened. [Opposition cheers.] Yes, it is easy for hon. Members with no responsibility to say so. It is ridiculous to say that Sir Charles Warren is the creature of the Executive; it is a slander on him. Sir Charles Warren has gone into the witness-box and stated on oath that, in his judgment, there would have been a serious riot if those processions had been allowed to con- verge. But the House may judge for itself what was the character of those processions. They were organized by the Radical associations, and I agree with the hon. Member for Northampton in believing that, so far as the Radical associations themselves were concerned, they did not wish to see any disorder. I never suggested that at the Central Criminal Court; but what charm have the summoners of a meeting got that they can keep away the roughs and the criminal classes, who have been watched in the Square day by day? The processions took place on the Sunday afternoon. On the Saturday night it came to the knowledge of Mr. Tims, the secretary, somehow or other, that the processions were going to be armed with sticks or weapons. So important did he think this matter that he sent out special messages on Saturday night to the stewards of 26 different places to stop anything like sticks being carried in the procession. But what good was that, seeing that the procession was to consist of 60,000 or 70,000 people? I wish the House to consider this—that if it was true, and I believe it was, that the Radical associations did not wish any disorder in the demonstration, how was it that the invitations to come in their thousands had been so misconstrued? The Radical associations cannot keep away, much a3 they might wish, the thousands of rough men who are prepared to take advantage of any scrimmage that may occur, or riot which may break out, or any temptation to enrich themselves at the expense of their neighbours. It is a remarkable fact that every one of those processions was accompanied by men armed with sticks, in many cases studded with nails, with gaspipes, and even with knives.

MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)

How many gaspipes?


Does the hon. Gentleman suppose we have succeeded in getting hold of every weapon that was carried? The fact that in a number of cases we have succeeded in being able to capture a number of weapons by no means shows that there were no other weapons carried. To say, therefore, that processions of that character should be allowed to converge upon a particular place with a view of exercising what is called the Constitutional right of public meeting, is a simple abuse of language. A so-called right is to be turned into gross licence and lawlessness. We were twitted by the hon. and learned Gentleman for having declined to raise this question in Mr. Saunders' case. I do wish, that the hon. and learned Gentleman would have studied that case in the Court. The hon. and learned Gentleman had a copy of Mr. Corrie Grant's speech in that case; but why did he not tell us what Mr. Saunders was charged with? Mr. Saunders was arrested for violently obstructing the police, and the magistrate found that he had been guilty of no violent conduct. There were only two things for which Mr. Saunders could have been arrested—using seditious language and holding an illegal meeting. Neither of those charges is punishable on summary conviction, so that it is a fact that the police had improperly arrested Mr. Saunders, and that there was no charge made against him on which this question of right could be raised. There are many hon. Members who know, if they wish to raise the right, how to do it; but it is not fair to suggest that the Government burked an inquiry in the case of Mr. Saunders. I will undertake to say that the question could not have been raised in Mr. Saunders' case in any shape or form. Let any hon. Gentleman who is a lawyer, and who may succeed me in the debate, take up the proceedings, and tell us on what charge this question of right could have been raised. I was also twitted by the hon. Member for Northampton with having objected to evidence in the trial of Messrs. Graham and Burns. The House will remember that the hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire was defended by another hon. Member of this House—the hon. Member for East Fife (Mr. Asquith). No one who heard the defence of the hon. Gentleman can doubt that his client was most ably defended. But every lawyer knows that if I objected to previous proceedings being gone into, the way in which to raise the question was for the counsel to press the evidence and ask for a point to be reserved. The charges which were being made against the defendants were those of riot and unlawful assembly; and it did not need great experience to know that the conduct of the police had nothing in the world to do with the charge being tried before the jury. Therefore, I took the objection, and the hon. Member did not press the matter. It is asked of us—"How long are you going to keep up this police regulation?" The right and proper answer is that the Executive are the judges. But let the House judge for themselves whether it is right at the present time to maintain the order. The hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire and Burns were in prison for six weeks. After they got out what did the defendant Burns say with reference to this question of Trafalgar Square? This is what the Executive Government are threatened with— They wanted a rallying cry—something which would galvanize and crystallize their aspirations. They—the French—chose the Bastille, in which some of their fellow-creatures were suffering for daring to oppose the Executive Government. And they whom he now addressed could make Trafalgar Square their revolutionary square and let their Bastille be Pentonville Prison. And when they had captured Trafalgar Square—and he intended to be one of those to do it—let the celebration of the capture of their open air town hall—their Trafalgar Square revolution—be the demolition of their Bastille—that cursed prison at Pentonville which represented all the vices and the embodiment of all that was bad in the worst possible forms of government and the system of society. What would this House think of a Government if it should, confronted with a man who is capable of using that language, and who is supposed to be the leader of thousands of persons, at once withdraw the prohibition which the Police Authorities think is necessary for the safety of the public? The hon. and learned Gentleman, by his Motion, asks for an inquiry by a Committee as to limiting the rights of interference by the Executive Government. Does any man suggest that a Committee of this House can take out of the hands of the Executive Government the responsibility of dealing with questions affecting the peace of the Metropolis? Does anybody suggest that a Committee of this House can lay down the circumstances under which you can permit street preaching or public speaking, and the limits within which you ought to stop it? Regulation is suggested. Regulation as to what? As to numbers? Why, how is it possible to lay down regulations as to what numbers may go to Trafalgar Square? Such a regulation would be perfectly absurd and futile. Or as to the subject of discussion, what regulation can you lay down except that you have a right to discuss in a proper place every subject that falls short of sedition or those matters which are prohibited by law? The result of the matter is this. My hon. and learned Friend started upon this inquiry in the belief that he could condemn the action of the Government in respect of it. It was publicly announced that an Amendment to the Address was going to be moved in this matter. I have the authority of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) for saying that any Amendment to the Address was a Vote of Want of Confidence; and it cannot for a moment be admitted that because the hon. and learned Gentleman has altered the form in which the subject is presented the Government ought to meet him by acquiescing in it, thereby practically admitting that there was a case to which they had no answer. If it is desired to make any Amendment in the law, it ought to be considered carefully. But it is idle to suggest that you can claim an existing right in respect of this particular place higher than you can claim in respect of any other public thoroughfare or public place. Her Majesty's Government have shown that they would support the responsible Authorities when the responsible Authorities felt that in the interests of public safety certain action should be taken. This Motion in effect asserts that Her Majesty's Government were wrong in that course. I ask those who believe in the rights of the people being protected, but who do not believe in spurious rights set up and alleged for the purpose of claiming for particular individuals that which is not enjoyed by their fellow men, to join with us in rejecting this Motion on the ground that we have interfered with no right, public or private, enjoyed by the people, but have merely taken care that the user of public places shall be consistent with the safety of person and property.


the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General, I think, need not have apologized for not having sufficiently exhausted the treatment of this question. He has treated it quite sufficiently exhaustively and quite sufficiently broadly for this purpose at least —that if his argument is accepted and acted upon as the Government have acted upon it, there is no longer, either in London or elsewhere, any right of public meeting in this country. Now he began his argument by absolutely challenging the right of public meeting. On the other hand, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Matthews) in his speech last night said that— The Government were of opinion that public discontent should find a free and open voice, and should not he driven to express itself in secret conventicles. I am very glad that there is one Member of the Government, at all events, who holds that opinion, because in justifying the policy of the Government in relation to another part of the country the lion, and learned Attorney General stated that its principal merit was that at all events it had driven discontent into secret. Well, now, to use a celebrated phrase of Sir James Graham, I think we have had enough of Nisi Prius, and that with reference to this question we may have a little too much of the Central Criminal Court. I would ask leave, therefore, to look at this question in a little freer and broader atmosphere than that which is found at the Old Bailey. What, then, is the proposition for which the Government contend, and for which the lion, and learned Attorney General has argued? He says, and we admit that there are various conditions upon which alone public meetings can be held. First of all, a meeting must be for a lawful object, which is not dis-disputed; and, secondly, it must be in a place where a man has a right to be; and then he proceeds to demonstrate that there is no place where anybody has a right to be for a public meeting. What is the meaning of proving that Trafalgar Square belongs to the Crown? If Trafalgar Square belongs to the Crown in the same right as the Park belongs to the Crown, will you deduce from that the consequence that the Crown has the right to forbid public meetings either in the Park or in Trafalgar Square? This very right was set up in 1866 in reference to the Park, and what was the consequence? Does the right of public meeting exist in the Park or does it not? What is the view of the Government upon that subject?


It exists by Statute.


By Statute! The hon. and learned Attorney General, I am afraid, has not road the Statute, because the Statute does not confer upon the public a right of meeting; it assumes that the right of public meeting exists, and gives the Crown the right to regulate a public meeting there. I think the hon. and learned Attorney General, before he advises the Home Office, and talks of the traditions of the Home Office, had better acquaint himself with the opinions of those who preceded him in relation to this question. Now it is a little too much that the hon. and learned Attorney General should deprecate reference to former legal opinions of the Law Officers of the Crown. For what does the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department do? He comes down here and says—"I act upon the traditions of the Home Office and on the opinions I found there." Now, I undertake to say that the conduct of the Government is in contradiction of every tradition that existed at the Home Office when I was there—and I hope I left it in this matter as I found it—and contrary to every opinion given by the Law Officers to previous Secretaries of State. I assert that with the most absolute confidence. What was the case at Hyde Park? When a claim was made to hold meetings in the Park, just as in Trafalgar Square, the right of the Crown as proprietor of the Park to forbid the public to hold a meeting in the Park was set up. Did the Law Officers of the Crown advise that upon that ground such a meeting could be treated as an unlawful meeting? They certainly did not. The question was put in 1866 to the Law Officers whether, supposing a number of persons who had already entered Hyde Park to form itself into a meeting for the discussion of political subjects, any legal authority to disperse such meeting by force exists, though general notice may have been given that meetings of this description would not be allowed? That was the distinct question put to two as great Law Officers as ever filled the offices of Law Officers of the Crown—Sir Hugh Cairns and Sir John Karslake—and their answer was in substance this— There is not for any practical purpose a legal authority to disperse by force a meeting of the kind supposed consisting of a large number of people, and that whether notice has been given or not. This is most material, and shows exactly how it was that the right of public meeting in Hyde Park was recognized. There was absolutely no right. It stood absolutely on usage.


Will the right hon. Gentleman read the beginning of that opinion? He gels it out of Hansard.


I have not got Hansard, and I did not take it out of Hansard. I took it from my own private notes. [Sir CHARLES RUSSELL here handed up a volume to the right hon. Gentleman, who read:—"We think there is a right in point of law to close the gates of the Park."] But my whole argument is that that did not carry with it a right to disperse the meeting as an unlawful assembly. What it carried with it—and that is what these Law Officers pointed out—was the right to bring an action for trespass or proceeding by way of intrusion. That is of the essence of the whole thing. I consider that the whole thing turns upon that. Now, the Government have not taken the course which they might have taken of proceeding against these people for trespass or intrusion on Trafalgar Square, but they have dispersed them as an unlawful meeting by force, and that is what Sir Hugh Cairns and Sir John Karslake said they had no right to do in the case of Hyde Park.


Will the right hon. Gentleman read the whole opinion?


If the hon. and learned Gentleman will point out what he wants read I will read it. Is it not there? [handing the volume across the Table].

SIR RICHARD WEBSTER (after looking at the page)

There is an opinion, but not the opinion that the right hon. Gentleman has quoted. The opinion that is quoted in Hansard is that of Lord Cockburn, Lord Westbury, and Mr. Wills. The opinion which the right hon. Gentleman has quoted is said to be the opinion of Sir Hugh Cairns and Sir John Karslake, and is taken, I understand, from private notes; that opinion has, as far as I know, never been published.


I do not know why it should not be published as much as other opinions have been published. I want to point out the notorious fact that the Law Officers of the Crown had been advised—you will find it all over the debates of the time—that you could only proceed in this way by trespass or intrusion; and that was clearly the ground on which the Government found it impossible to put down meetings in Hyde Park. I will refer to another thing which the hon. and learned Attorney General will not object to, I think. There was a police order in 1862 in which it was said that— Any one threatening to deliver any speech or address or discuss any popular or exciting topic is to be cautioned that he cannot be allowed to do so, and if he persists he is to be removed out of the Park, and the persons forming the meeting are to be told to depart. Well, that was the police order which was enforced in Hyde Park, and then, upon the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, was withdrawn because it could not be enforced. I am bound to make this statement because the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department has chosen to say that the course the Government has taken is in conformity with the former traditions of the Home Office. I heard that with great astonishment, for it is wholly inconsistent with all traditions and with all the opinions that I have seen. The hon. and learned Attorney General has referred to the case of a common. I think that is a good illustration, and I was going to refer to it. People have a right to go on a common to play football and cricket. The hon. and learned Attorney General says they have no legal right. Well, you may proceed against them if you like by an action of trespass, but what good would it do you? What damages would you get? It is because you have not the right of arrest, only to proceed by trespass, that people do play football and cricket on the common. It is the right of user; it is a valuable social right, and I will, in the case of public meetings, call it a political right. You know that the House of Commons has refused to allow the owners of the commons to hut up those commons without providing by absolute allotment—which a lawyer may say is not a legal right at all. But they recognize the rights of user and treat them as substantial rights, although they may be proved in a Court of Law not to be technically legal rights. That was exactly the view taken in the case of Hyde Park. There there was a right of user of public meetings and of general public enjoyment, and Parliament would not allow it to be taken away, and I hope they will not allow it to be taken away in the case of political meetings. You say the ownership is in the Crown. I dare say it is. The ownership in other cases may be in private individuals, and when you have raised that what does it amount to? If the Crown prevented public meetings and private owners prevented them, what would become of public meetings? They would be put an end to by the arguments of the Government and by the policy of the Government. You may go into Scotland; you may go into the county of Sutherland. Nobody has a legal right there, or in the greater part of it, except the Duke of Sutherland. Well, is the hon. and learned Attorney General going to say that no man has a right in Sutherland except the proprietor of the soil? And yet the argument would be just as valid as the argument he has now set up. Why, as regards this argument of his, I could have helped him to authorities even stronger than those which he quoted. He will find one in the Kingston-on-Thames case, where it was an indictable offence. I will quote him the words of Chief Justice Cooke, who said that if players caused an unusual concourse of people to assemble to see them at their tricks, that was an unlawful assembly for which they might be indicted. I have no doubt the hon. and learned Solicitor General is at this moment looking up precedents upon the history of unlawful assemblies in this country. I repudiate arguing this question in that way. The right is there. It is a political right which has belonged for generations to the people of this country, not asserted in the Courts of Law, but of which Parliament may take cognizance and make provision for as in the case of the common. How was the right of public meeting established in Hyde Park? I do not know how soon the Government will attack that. I will quote from a letter from a gentleman of high political authority at the time. It is from the right hon. Gentleman the senior Member for Birmingham (Mr. John Bright). It is a letter dated Rochdale, July 19. He says— DEAR SIR,—I thank your council for the invitation to the meeting intended to be held in Hyde Park on Monday next. That is the meeting the Government had prohibited. I cannot leave home for some days, and cannot be in London on the 23rd instant. I see that the Chief of the Metropolitan Police Force has announced his intention to prevent the holding of the meeting. It appears from this that the people may meet in the Park for every purpose but that which ought to be most important and most dear to them. To meet in the streets is inconvenient. [Cheers.] Oh, yes; but this is to be contradicted. You are cheering too soon. To meet in the streets is inconvenient; to meet in the Park is unlawful. This is the theory of the police authorities of the Metropolis "— in the opinion of Mr. Bright. You have asserted your right to meet on Primrose Hill and in Trafalgar Square. He considers the right there as established. I hope after Monday next no one will doubt your right to meet in Hyde Park. If public meeting in the public Parks is denied you, and if millions of intelligent men are denied the franchise, on what foundation does our liberty rest, or is there in the country any liberty but the toleration of the ruling classes? Well, now, the toleration of the ruling classes is the condition of the right of public meeting if we believe the hon. and learned Attorney General and the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary. Then the letter ends— This is a serious question, but it is necessary to ask it, and some answer must be given to it.—JOHN BRIGHT. That is the way in which the right of public meeting was established in Hyde Park. It was denied, challenged by the Government, and yet it was established. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary says that he expresses the view of the Home Office as to Trafalgar Square. He expressed the view of the Home Office as held in former times when he said to a deputation—"I shall not object to any bonâ fide public political meeting." That was the view of the Home Office, but he threw that overboard last night, and said he would make us a present of his speech. I, for one, wish he could keep his speech, and not make a present of it. I know what the traditions of the Home Office were, because in 1881 there was a meeting announced to be held in the Square, and I had to consider what should be done. I then had, among other advice, the counsel of the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Bury Division of Lancashire (Sir Henry James) and Sir Farrar Herschell, and what was the advice they gave me and I followed? The meeting then proposed to be held had two objects. the first was to hold a meeting in the Square, and the second was to come down to Westminster. The advice I received was that the meeting in Trafalgar Square was to be permitted, but the people were not to be permitted to come down to the House of Commons. Therefore, I know what the traditions of the Home Office were then, and I know what the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown was at that time. Then, again, during the administration of Sir Richard Cross, in the case of the Dod Street affair, if I remember right, the action then taken by the police was not sustained by the Courts. Some men were then arrested for obstruction, and the Sessions did not maintain the proceedings; and, if I remember right, Sir Richard Cross did not approve of the course that had been pursued, and a different method of proceeding was afterwards adopted. Therefore, I say you have departed altogether from the practice, the principle, and the traditions hitherto acted upon. And what is the defence for your departure? You say there was disorder and that seditious speeches were made. I do not defend that disorder; I do not defend those seditious speeches. They form a very good reason for suppressing the meeting at which they are uttered; but what justification is it for issuing an order against all public meetings at all future times, whether they are disorderly or not? Nothing can be more unstatesmanlike when you have an evil to deal with than to apply a remedy which goes far beyond that evil; and nothing can be more impolitic when you are dealing with the abuse of a right than to attempt to abolish the right itself. Exactly the same thing was attempted by the Metropolitan Board of Works. When they became proprietors of various open spaces they enacted by-laws which required the sanction of the Secretary of State. One of those by-laws dealt with the subject of public meetings, and so long as they dealt properly with them I could have no objection to the by-law; but the moment I found out that they were dealing with them by stopping them altogether I remonstrated with the Board. I said that London was a place that must have sites at which public meetings could be held, and I insisted on a spot being marked for the purpose on Streatham Common. I know that some people object to open-air meetings altogether. I know that hon. Gentlemen opposite object to them. I do not impute any bad motive to them, but open-air meetings are a sort of pursuit not recognized among them—they are not to their taste. Yet hon. Gentlemen opposite have a good many other pursuits which equally lead to obstruction, and they do not object to it when it arises out of those pursuits. The greater the feeling of effervescence is, the more desirable it is that there should be an escape for it, and to object to a meeting which is turbulent and noisy is to object to that which is a very valuable safety-valve in the State. In London you have plenty of processions and concourses of people which lead to obstruction from time to time. You sometimes have illuminations at night. You have the University boat-race. I myself have experienced great inconvenience in being obliged to send 1,500 policemen to keep the ground at the University boat-race. Then you have balls and parties which create obstruction, and you have the Lord Mayor's show. You have great occasions like the entry of Garibaldi into London, and great obstruction was caused on the auspicious occasion of the Queen's Jubilee. Those were obstructions to which the Government did not object, and yet they said that the streets must be kept clear for all purposes, and no one had the right to use the streets except for ordinary traffic. That was entirely absurd, and opposed to the spirit of the Statute—the spirit in which it has always been acted upon—which was, that there should be regulation and not suppression of such obstruction. There have always been processions to regulate, and the police have always been ready to do it and have done it with success. If you really wanted to try this question of right, why did you not try it? I have never heard a more lame excuse than that made by the hon. and learned Attorney General in Saunders' case. The hon. and learned Gentleman said it was not a case for summary procedure. What has it to do with the case that it is not a matter for summary procedure? I will tell you why you did not proceed against him. It was because you were advised that you could not find him guilty of taking part in an unlawful assembly. It is because you received that advice that you have not proceeded against Saunders, and it is because you have not dared to bring this question of law to a legal issue. Now, Sir, the Government claims a discretionary power. The hon. and learned Attorney General says that a discretion must rest with the Government in this matter. I think this is a very unwise doctrine. It was most unwise, too, for the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary to say that he should be the judge as to whether a meeting was a bonâ fide political meeting or not. I think the Government should have as little discretion as possible in such a matter. So long as a meeting is not held for an unlawful purpose and is conducted in an orderly manner the Government ought to allow it to take place without any consideration of their own opinion. This discretionary power claimed by the Government is a most unwise power to exercise, and I say exactly the same thing with regard to the place of a meeting. I think the only safe principle you can adopt is to allow meetings with lawful objects and conducted in an orderly manner to be held, and to allow them to be held in the place where they have been usually held. That, I think, is the sound and moderate doctrine on the subject of public meeting. That is all we contend for, and that is the practical and common sense view of the matter. My view of the conduct of the Government is not so much that it is illegal—though I do hold that it is illegal to treat as an unlawful assembly that which at the highest can only be called a matter of trespass, and, moreover, a trespass you have yourselves created by prohibiting that which you ought to have allowed—it is not for the illegality of the course they have taken that I blame the Government. I blame them for their lamentable want of common sense. I think they have shown a great want of common sense in restraining, not only the harmful use of Trafalgar Square—and I admit that in November of last year they were quite right in restraining those meetings which produced so much disorder—but why on earth was it necessary to declare for that purpose that there shall be no meetings in Trafalgar Square hereafter? I do not join in any blame of the police. I think it is a very serious thing to blame the police. I do not say that upon sufficient allegation, the course adopted in 1856 should not be taken now, but I took no part in any attack on the police in the matter. But I do blame the Government for employing the police in such a way as to bring them into conflict with the people. That is a very grave evil indeed. You have created by this unnecessary prohibition an unnecessary conflict which you ought to have avoided. You ought to teach the people to regard the police as their friends; but if you employ them to restrict what the people regard as a just public right, then you turn the police from what they have been, and from what they have always won respect as being, a civil force into a body of gendarmes. That is the most injurious thing you can do in the cause of law and order. Objection had been taken on the other side of the House that sufficient notice has not been taken of the meaning of my hon. and learned Friend's Resolution. In vindication of my hon. and learned Friend's assertion that Sir George Grey had stated that Trafalgar Square is a lawful place of meeting, I will just read one sentence from Sir George Grey— When the meeting was to be held in Trafalgar Square I stated that as far as I was informed it was a legal meeting; but that any meeting in which language was held calculated to provoke a breach of the peace was an illegal meeting, but that a meeting held for the purpose of discussing Parliamentary reform was not in itself illegal That entirely justifies all that my hon. and learned Friend has said on the subject. With reference to this Motion, the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department said, "What does it want to inquire into?" I think it is necessary after the course the Government have taken to inquire where the people of London are to hold open public meetings. You have said they shall not hold them in Trafalgar Square. I should like to have some explicit statement from that Bench as to where they consider public meetings should be held. Quite apart from any question of technical right, that is a very proper matter for the House of Commons. They took into their hands the right of meeting in Hyde Park in 1866. They determined, although it was challenged by the Crown, although notice was given by the Crown that no meeting should be held, that meetings should be held there under regulation. Why should not we deal with Trafalgar Square in 1888 as we dealt with Hyde Park in 1866? In both cases we are challenged by the Crown on the grounds of proprietary right. I will grant you the title is precisely the same as in Hyde Park. Then deal with the case in the same way. That is not taking any responsibility out of the hands of the Government. It is taking the judgment of Parliament as to the places in which public meetings may properly be held. Then you may have unfettered the discretion of the Government as to the regulations to be made. The objection, therefore, that we are improperly hampering the discretion of the Government is unfounded. I think that is a matter of common sense upon which we have a right to insist, and which is the object of this Resolution. I do not see that the Government have any right to take offence at it. It is a proper time to consider how far the present facilities of public meeting are sufficient, and if they are insufficient how they should be provided for and under what conditions. Then, as regards the interference of the Government in the matter. It might well be that the House of Commons would be of opinion that it is not a wise or proper thing for the Advisers of the Crown to set up the proprietary rights of the Crown. That was the opinion expressed by Parliament in respect of Hyde Park in 1866. I doubt whether even this Government would dare to set aside that opinion. Why should not an investigation of that character be conducted by a Committee of the House of Commons? I ask the Government to state before the end of this debate how many places there are in which they think open-air public meetings may be held by the people of London, and how they ought to be held? But as long as we have such speeches as that we have heard from the hon. and learned Attorney General, which goes to the root of the right of public open-air meetings in this Metropolis—whatever course hon. Gentlemen opposite may take—I cannot conceive how any man who professes to belong to the Liberal Party can do otherwise than vote for the Motion of my hon. and learned Friend.

MR. MURDOCH (Reading)

said, he had taken a prominent part in the presentation of a Petition to the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary for the Home Department (Mr. Matthews) against the holding of meetings in Trafalgar Square, which was signed by a large number of the inhabitants of the district. The Petition prayed that steps would be taken in future to prevent meetings being held in Trafalgar Square, and that the rights of ratepayers to have free and uninterrupted use of the streets in the district might not be taken from them. It was the result of a meeting entirely of a non-political character, and it was signed, amongst others, by a most prominent supporter of the Leader of the Liberal Party in the borough of the Strand, and he and others of that Party had cordially worked with the Committee, not only in carrying up a Petition to the House, but also in waiting on the Home Secretary. Those whom he now represented had been in every step most careful to avoid mixing anything in the nature of politics with the matter; and he could say that to his Colleagues and himself it was a subject of considerable regret that the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Hackney (Sir Charles Russell) should have brought forward at a time when this question was likely to be raised a Motion that could not be considered otherwise than as damaging to the Government. He would not enter at all into the legal aspect of the question; he was no lawyer, and was thankful that he had rarely anything to do with law. But the legal question had been discussed, and in a way which had given much pleasure to laymen, by the most eminent lawyers in the land. He wished to emphasize the fact that the condition of things in regard to Trafalgar Square had altered very materially from what it was a few years ago. In the Petition it was admitted that the meetings had from time to time been, held in Trafalgar Square; the Petitioners stated that they were in favour of open-air meetings being held, but they urged that, in the altered condition of circumstances, the holding of meetings in Trafalgar Square had become a positive danger to the community. It was impossible for anyone not to be aware that what took place in 1886 had materially altered the character of the meetings which were held in the Square. Up to that time, although there had been meetings held which had caused traders in the neighbourhood some inconvenience and annoyance, there had never been any meetings at which an outbreak had occurred. But the meeting of 1886 must have brought home to the minds of all who witnessed it that an element had been imported into it which was of considerable danger to the community. The result of that meeting was that not only did considerable inconvenience result, but loss of property; and it became necessary for the Government to bring in a Bill to compensate the sufferers from the riot which occurred. He wished to quote from an article which on the 20th of January appeared in a paper certainly not friendly to those on that side of the House. The Echo said there was no room in Trafalgar Square for a great public demonstration; as soon as a gathering became large enough to make any impression it necessarily overflowed every approach and became an obstruction, and that was a fact which could not be brushed aside by any amount of grand eloquence. That was exactly what the Petitioners said, and he pointed out that not only was the Petition he had alluded to, but the resolutions of the meetings also which had taken place with reference to Trafalgar Square, supported by the whole of the Metropolitan Press with the exception of The Pall Mall Gazette—they all supported the contention of the people of the district that the time had come when meetings in Trafalgar Square ought no longer to be held. He spoke on behalf of the sufferers by the meetings which had been held, and in laying before the House some few figures snowing what the losses had been, he trusted he should be pardoned for entering upon some rather dry particulars. In the first place, he might mention that the figures he should quote were taken from the books of the traders concerned. A well-known upholsterer, not far from Trafalgar Square, during six weeks lost £1,400, and several letters had been addressed to him from ladies, stating that until tranquillity was restored it was impossible that they could visit his shop. Another trader stated that his loss during the same period exceeded £1,100. An optician in the Strand, whose takings had been £400 a-week, said he lost every week at least half that amount. Two silversmiths in the Strand stated that their losses averaged from £200 to £300 a-week. One whose losses amounted to £1,200 also said he had received several telegrams and letters desiring that the plate in his custody should be sent elsewhere for safe-keeping. This showed that there existed a reasonable dread in the neighbourhood of riots taking place and loss being sustained. A well-known firm in Regent Street, whose name he was not at liberty to mention, told him that in their business, which had up to the time of the meetings gone on steadily, a decline set in. The receipts of a jeweller in the neighbourhood of the Grand Hotel fell off by one-half. The Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, which had premises in Northumberland Avenue, had lost during six weeks at least one-half of their average takings; and, upon inquiry of the Manager, I was informed that the principal custom resulted from ladies, many of whom had written to him saying that they were in terror of coming into the neighbourhood of Trafalgar Square in consequence of the disturbances which had taken place. He also desired to call attention to the loss which some picture galleries in the neighbourhood had sustained; the Royal Society of Painters in Water Colours, who were holding an exhibition at the time, stated that their receipts had fallen to one-third; and the Photographic Society, who were holding an Exhibition, were compelled to close their doors in consequence of the falling off of receipts. He could mention many losses sustained by the smaller class of traders in the neighbourhood, and it was that class who were, perhaps, the greatest sufferers, because their margin of profit was not so great. Again, the Grand Hotel had 1,000 visitors in six weeks less than usual, and the falling off at the Métropole was about the same, while there was also a large decrease in the number of visitors to the Victoria Hotel. Another well-known hotel lost nearly half of its customers, and the manager stated that a family came to the door just as one of the meetings was being held and left immediately to go elsewhere. The proprietor of another hotel had received letters stating that it was impossible to bring ladies to the hotel, as they could not be sure of being able to do their shopping. At least one-half less people went during the six weeks to the Charing Cross Hotel, and the manager informed him that he had received letters from the Continent saying that until matters were more tranquil the writers could not come to London; and it was also a noticeable fact that at the time the custom at the hotel at Folkestone fell off. There was no doubt that many Americans, who intended to visit England and who were in the habit of taking London and Folkestone on their way to the Continent, diverted their journey and went direct.

MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

asked if this was after the 13th of November?


said, it was between the 13th of November and the first or second week of December; and here he wished to contradict a statement which appeared in The Pall Mall Gazette to the effect that it was untrue that the hotels were half empty. It said that a gentleman asked whether he could have a room at Morley's Hotel and was refused. It was perfectly true that a poison did inquire at Morley's Hotel for a room; but as he came there without luggage he was refused, according to the invariable custom. For these reasons, he (Mr. Murdoch) said it was high time that steps should be taken to put an end to meetings in Trafalgar Square, which had been nothing less than a, national disgrace. He wished to point out that this was in a great measure a working-man's question; because in the hotels contained in the district there were employed 1,350 persons, and, besides that, in connection with them there was standing employment given to artizans of various classes, and those men knew full well that when these meetings took place the custom of the hotels was interfered with and that a great part of their standing labour would be taken from them. As he had said, the character of the meetings had so materially altered that it was no longer possible that they could be with safety continued. He admitted that those who convened them took what stops they could to prevent disorder and violence, and he would go further and say that those who organized the processions did the same; but he said also that no leaders of the meetings or organizers of the processions could prevent their being attended by disorderly characters, and roughs well-known to the police, who went with the sole aim and purpose of taking advantage of any disturbance that might arise. It was the presence of such people as these that made meetings dangerous. Trafalgar Square, he pointed out, was not a large space; it was not so large as Russell Square, Lincoln's Inn Felds, and one or two other squares in London; and however suitable it might have been in the days when small meetings were held in it, it was, under present circumstances, quite unfit for the purpose. Therefore, those on whose behalf he spoke called upon the Government to do in perpetuity what they had done during the last few months, and prevent any meetings taking place in the Square. It was utterly impossible for the Government to discriminate between those meetings which could be safely held in Trafalgar Square, and those which should be prohibited; it was also very difficult for them to judge whether a meeting would or would not cause disorder. There was an instance of that in the riot which occurred in 1886. The authorities then took precautions; but they did not believe there was likely to be any serious disturbance; but there was, and that disturbance in itself ought to prove that meetings could no longer be held in the Square without fear that disorder and riot would ensue, and therefore he called on Her Majesty's Government, who, he was sure, would have the support of the House, to be firm in this matter, and continue in the course which they had already inaugurated.

MR. FIRTH (Dundee)

said, it was somewhat astonishing to him that Her Majesty's Government did not see their way to accept the simple proposal contained in the Resolution submitted by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Hackney (Sir Charles Russell). The Resolution contained nothing which amounted to a censure on Her Majesty's Government; it only asked for an inquiry by a Committee of the House into the conditions on which public meetings might be held in the Metropolis. He understood them to say, in reply, that those conditions were so well known that it was quite unnecessary to appoint a Committee of Inquiry; but the course of the debate had shown that even to men qualified to speak of it, the law on the subject was not so clear that a Committee ought not to be appointed to inquire into it. If the Commissioners of Police, as formerly, had a legal adviser, these difficulties would never have arisen with regard to Trafalgar Square, because when they had a legal adviser they themselves arranged for the holding of a meeting there. They put then a construction on the 52nd Section of the Police Act which many considered to be the true construction. It was not long since he had read similar provisions in the Police Regulations of San Francisco, in which the words "except in case of public meetings" occurred, and there was also a special clause regulating processions. Notwithstanding the argument of the hon. Member for Westminster (Mr. Burdett-Coutts), it still appeared open to some doubt whether the law was so absolutely clear as to be beyond dispute. If the law were so clear, he asked how it was that it was found necessary for the Chief Commissioner of Police, for whose conduct the Home Secretary was answerable, to issue two proclamations? If the law were clear, the first proclamation would have been sufficient; and, therefore, the proposal made here was fair in itself, and cast no slur upon the conduct of Her Majesty's Government. How could it be a censure on the Administration to ask that the rights of public meeting should be limited and defined? If the people had no right of meeting in Trafalgar Square, then it ought to be known; but he protested against the question being shelved and text books being thrown at the heads of hon. Members who supported the Motion for inquiry. It was Lord Brougham who said that if an Act of Parliament were passed to prohibit the right of public meeting, it would, no doubt, be effective for the purpose, but it would be grossly unconstitutional; and he said that the history of the Constitution showed how readily the rights of the people might be trampled upon, and that the people never could be safe without a constant determination to resist in every way as long as their rights were assailed. That was exactly the principle which actuated the men who led the processions of the 13th November. They had heard a good deal about preceding meetings, and something from the last speaker with respect to the unemployed; but there was no comparison between the two meetings. With regard to the unemployed, their meetings were allowed to be held; and the Chief Commissioner of Works had said that he had neither the will nor the power to interfere with them. In the proclamation of the 8th of November the First Commissioner of Police excepted the case of the Lord Mayor's Show. What was the object lesson he was thus placing before the people of London? The whole traffic of the Strand was to be broken up for hours and hours, without the slightest excuse, for the benefit of men who, according to a recent Royal Commission, misappropriated many thousand pounds a-year—[Cries of "Oh!"]—or appropriated it in a manner different from that which they recommended—and which money would have given assistance to the unemployed. There was no need now that the Law Courts were removed from Westminster for the Lord Mayor's Show to go beyond TempleBar; and the Police Commissioner, by making this reservation, had given a lesson to the people of London which they would not lose sight of. He regretted to hear it stated that the people had only a right in Trafalgar Square by the sufferance of the Crown. He thought it was a great mistake to bring the personal will of the Sovereign into a controversy such as this, which affected the wishes of millions of people. Everyone knew the story of the Minister who, when asked by the King how much it would cost to fence round St. James's Park, replied—"Only a Crown, Your Majesty!" The proclamation of the First Commissioner of Police was issued late in the day on November 12; and on the 13th of November he arranged his forces just as if he was going to meet an impi of Zulus, instead of English citizens, and stopped the processions. There was a bonâ fide intention to hold a bonâ fide meeting on the 13th November, as had been before announced, to express an interest in the case of Mr. O'Brien. There was a large number of the artizan class who did not, after the proclamation, care to go to Trafalgar Square; but, on the other hand, there was a large number who did, and there were in the procession some men who belonged to the best artizan clubs in London. The whole of the Police Force of London was but as the finger of a man for the defence of order as compared with the influence of those men. They brought no gas-pipes or oyster knives with them, and if the proclamation had not been issued there was no chance of difficulty or danger even to a child; but the effect of the proclamation was to gather two classes of men—one which had no feeling of sympathy with the object of the meeting at all, and wanted to see what would turn up; and another which came to see whether they could benefit themselves to the disadvantage of others. These men who had always been kept in order by the bonâ fide portion of the processionists, were brought to Trafalgar Square by the proclamation of the First Commissioner. The police had broken the heads of a great many men, and brutally ill-treated those who went to the Square for a purpose which they thought right. They had not gone to anything like the extent which Lord Brougham had spoken of in asserting their right to approach and enter the Square. The effect of the action of the police had been to do away with the strong support which this large class of the people had given to order in the Metropolis. Therefore, he thought Her Majesty's Government ought to inquire into the action of the police, as proposed in the Amendment, and also to institute an inquiry into the law affecting the right of public meeting. At any rate the matter would have to be seriously considered. He had said nothing in derogation of the members of the Police Force; but there was in it a certain proportion of men who were not men of a high class—men who took advantage of opportunities of this kind, and found in them a reason for putting in operation some of the violence of their nature. That was an opinion that was held by a large number of people. Now, whatever the Government were going to do with this Resolution, what were they going to do in order to bring back the people of London to the support of the forces that were necessary if order were to be preserved in the capital? They knew perfectly well how enormous and dangerous were the forces of the people if they were properly organized. They had divorced the class of trained artizans who argued in public halls with their friends and others as to the desirability of Constitutional action—they had divorced these men from the anxiety to help on the cause of order. They had not made those men disorderly, but had divorced them from sympathy with the authorities. And what were they going to do? He took it that they could not very well leave the present state of things unaltered. At one of the City banquets, where eminent men were accustomed to enjoy themselves, Sir Charles Warren had had the insolence to compare the men who joined in these processions with the class whom he termed "loafers," and whom he said existed in ancient Rome. Between the First Commissioner of Police and these men, on whose support he ought to rely, according to the Common Law, and on whom he was entitled to rely, the divorce in sentiment and opinion was absolute. This he said with very great regret. The Government ought, or might usefully, if they wished to re-establish a good state of feeling in London, grant the inquiry. If they would not, at any rate they might promote the Chief Commissioner of Police. He thought that that was a thing which was almost necessary to be done. There were some people who thought that the Government had entered upon a down grade policy, of which they had seen the full force in Ireland, of which the first step was to break the heads of the people, and the second step, the tracking of men by detectives, for every one of the delegates sent to Ireland by the English working men had been followed by police spies. He greatly regretted that the Government had not seen their way to accept the Resolution proposed by his hon. and learned Friend (Sir Charles Russell).

MR. WHITMORE (Chelsea)

said, that the hon. and learned Member for Dundee (Mr. Firth) affirmed that he spoke with some knowledge of London; but, he was in no manner a Representative of London opinion. In 1885 the hon. and learned Member sought a seat in North-West London, in a district he had long represented; but he was beaten ingloriously there. In 1886 he tried to obtain a seat for a South London constituency, but failed there also; and now any right he might have to represent the opinion of Londoners was derived from the fact that he was the accepted Representative of a constituency in the North of Scotland.


asked, if it was in order for the hon. and learned Member to put Dundee in the North of Scotland?


said, he spoke as the one who had the honour to represent a portion of that borough which the hon. and learned Member for Dundee once sat for and worked so well and ably for five years. He ventured as a Member for that borough to give his hearty support to Her Majesty's Government in the course they were now pursuing. The Amendment was moved with one of two objects. Either it was put to the House with an ingenious curiosity to ascertain a point of law, in which case either that point of law was a very clear one, as was contended by the Government, or it was one of singular complexity and great difficulty, in which case surely a Select Committee of this House was about the last tribunal in the world which ought to be asked to settle it? It would be in the recollection of the House that when Committees were deliberating upon all those difficult questions which arose in the last Parliament from the attempt of the junior Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) to take his seat, on each occasion with one single exception, that of Mr. Hopwood, every single legal Member of those Committees always found that his view on each point of law exactly coincided with the view taken by his own Party Whips at the particular moment. So it would be again. Or, if the Motion was not put forward with that purpose, it was put forward as a plausible Motion through which to pass a Vote of Censure on Her Majesty's Government for what they did in November. In that case he should, with the greatest cordiality, give his vote against the Amendment. But whilst he did so, he protested that he was not in the least any less in favour of the right of public meeting or free speech than any one of the hon. Gentlemen who sat opposite. But very likely, in some ways, his view of what constituted a genuine public meeting differed from the view of some of those hon. Gentlemen. He could not believe that in a place like London public meetings ought to be hold, if he might use the words, semper ubique, et ab omnibus. He said that, though he know that the life of the hon. Member for Shoreditch (Professor Stuart) was one long public meeting. There were hon. Members in the House and gentlemen outside who had other business and other occupations, and he believed that in regard to public meetings the Executive ought to try while preserving that right, not unnecessarily to interfere with the ordinary business habits and quiet avocations of other people. Then again, he maintained that a public meeting was useful Justin proportion as it was orderly, and as the speakers were audible. It lost its value just in proportion as it was made a pretext for demonstrations of mob numbers or in any way made an excuse for the terrorism of those who did not happen to agree with the objects in view. Gould anyone doubt that the series of public meetings, so called, held in Trafalgar Square, in October last was a series of bastard public meetings in which all the best attributes of real public meeting and of genuine free speech were conspicuous by their absence, but in which every one of the worst features that could characterize tumultuous assemblies was conspicuous by its presence? The hon. Member for Northampton had said that the Government had visited the sins of one political meeting upon a succeeding meeting. He (Mr. Whitmore) asserted, on the contrary, that in that series of public meetings there was an hereditary continuity of evil doing, and that it was perfectly impossible to separate the disorder which had become chronic in that district from any meeting. There had grown up a local spirit of turbulence. It had become the fashion for all that was turbulent, all that was criminal, and all that was dangerous in London to congregate in Trafalgar Square, and thence to disperse themselves through the adjacent streets with the view of terrorising the peaceful inhabitants of the West of London. They had heard that the numbers were increasing, that they were becoming more organized, and that they were beginning to be able to perform certain elementary manœuvres. Therefore, it seemed to him that it was plainly the bounden duty of any Executive Government to interfere. He must say that if the Government were blameworthy in any degree, it was because they hesitated so long. He said that most deliberately. At the same time, he thought there was this to be said—that the Government considered it well to wait until the evil was patent to all men; until it was quite plain that the effect of these so-called public meetings was to terrorise and intimidate and destroy the business of peaceful citizens. It was well to keep on the side of Government an overwhelming mass of public opinion, and that the Government did do. He did not intend to argue the legal question, but he maintained that if an Executive Government had not an inherent right when it thought that a public meeting would cause disorder, a breach of the peace, and a disturbance to peaceful citizens, to prevent and proscribe that meeting before the harm was done, the whole reason and cause of the existence of a Government was lost. He quite admitted that that was a tremendous power for any Executive Government to have. He quite admitted it must be exercised with the utmost prudence and the utmost discretion; but, after all, the public had always got a safeguard that the power would be exercised prudently, because the exercise of it was subject to the approval or disapproval of this House. They, as individual Members of the House, knew that their votes would be criticized by their constituents. He, with the clearest conscience and the lightest of hearts, was inclined to support the action of Her Majesty's Government. The hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) pointing out how necessary it was there should be places for open air public meetings in London, said the population of London was equal to the population of Scotland. Exactly: it was on that very account that the question of how they were with safety to hold public meetings was surrounded with so many difficulties. What sane man would propose that the whole people of Scotland should congregate in one central square in Edinburgh? It was the very size of London which made this question one of such magnitude and importance. He would suggest that all of them who really were anxious to maintain in its integrity the right of public meeting should try to localize public meetings—that whenever a fresh open space was dedicated to the public they should take care that some part of it was preserved for public meetings; that they should take care that in every district in London there was some open air space in which public meetings might be held. He asserted that as a matter of physical fact it was impossible that the whole manhood of London could be expected to congregate in Trafalgar Square, and to proceed in procession through the adjacent thoroughfares without creating a dislocation of the traffic and a disturbance of business which must be injurious to the best interests of the community as a whole. He should be very sorry indeed if any hon. Gentleman opposite thought that because he supported Her Majesty's Government on this occasion he was not just as anxious as any one of them to preserve unimpaired the right of public meeting in the open air in London. He joined with hon. Gentlemen opposite in the hope that on some future day a representative body of Londoners might be able to draw up rules under which public meetings might be held in London. He was not in the least an old-fashioned Tory. He was quite convinced that they must in London have a central representative body. He should be glad indeed if the odium now placed on the central Government of having to deal with these questions and of having to meet all kinds of unnecessarily factious and frivolous opposition were removed. He should be very glad if that heavy responsibility of deciding under what conditions public meetings should be held in the Metropolis were shifted from the shoulders of the Executive Government and placed in the hands of a body directly representing the people of London. He did not believe that if this was done there would be any less security for the public peace than existed at this moment; he was certain that such a representative body acting in the interest of the whole community would see that the right of public meeting did not degenerate into a nuisance. But in the meanwhile, and until that day came, it was the plain duty of the Executive Government to keep the right unimpaired, and, at the same time, do all they could to strengthen it by reconciling the exercise of it with the ordinary avocations, the private rights, and the business interests of the great mass of the people of this huge town.

MR. LAWSON (St. Pancras, W.)

said, the Government had taken a course which was at once strong, strange, and unusual. They had refused to grant an inquiry at the request of the late Attorney General (Sir Charles Russell), and had laid down that there was no primâ facie case for investigation, although they had against them the authoritative opinion of his hon. and learned Friend, and of a lawyer whose reputation was universally acknowledged, Sir Horace Davey. The hon. and learned Member for Chelsea (Mr. Whitmore)had doubted whether a Select Committee was a proper tribunal to decide questions of this kind; but it seemed to him that where they had a case of authority against authority, of opinion against opinion, it was most requisite to get a decision one way or the other. They wanted a practical and general decision, not a legal and technical one. He had far more trust in the fair-mindedness and in the rationality of hon. Members when sitting Upstairs than he had when they were in the atmosphere of the Division Lobby; and he was perfectly certain the hon. and learned Gentleman who moved the Resolution desired nothing more than that the question should be submitted to a Select Committee appointed by the House, and reflecting each Party in due proportion. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Whitmore) had reminded the House that London suffered from the absence of any central body, capable of deciding these matters which, of course, it should be able to decide for itself. He (Mr. Lawson) was aware of that. Everybody knew that London suffered immensely in pocket and immensely in character from the want of those local powers and that local organization which the Government were prepared to deny them. He wanted to know whether the Government did not feel their responsibility, when they had at their back 48 out of the 59 Representatives of the Metropolis, to give some satisfaction at least to what had been very truly said was a widespread desire that there should be an inquiry, as asked, either on the original Motion or on the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh). They had heard from the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Whitmore) some strange doctrines with regard to the right of public meeting. The hon. and learned Gentleman professed to uphold the right just as much as any one in the House; but it seemed he would limit it, and make it suit the convenience and purpose of those who had business avocations. It was a strange thing that mass meetings of London working men, who had from time to time been accustomed to express their opinions in public, should cease in order to suit the convenience of any hon. Member, who, like the hon. and learned Gentleman, had other occupations to hand. They had heard a great deal of these meetings being held to terrorize, but the meetings were held under conditions over which the Government had control. At these meetings wild and wicked language was used, and this had been alluded to in order to divert the attention of hon. Members from the real question at issue. He agreed with the hon. Gentleman the Member for Reading (Mr. Murdoch) that the Government might well have done something in the case of the bogus meetings which were not bonâ fide meetings in any sense of the word. But the Government took no action whatever, and the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Whitmore) had said they were censured because they did not. The Government might and ought to have prosecuted the men who used inflammatory and violent language for sedition. It was no excuse whatever to say that the men were not worth powder and shot; it was just as necessary that the men should be prosecuted as if they had been men of more note. The Government were induced to take the step of proclaiming all political meetings in Trafalgar Square. The common sense view of the matter was that the Government should, in the usual manner, have taken some notice of the previous meetings which often led, according to the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Murdoch), to the suspension of the traffic of the world and the intercourse with the Continent of Europe. No one suggested that seditious language ought to be used in any place; no one suggested that sedition ought to be treated otherwise than by prosecution. According to the opinion of some Members, the Government had grossly neglected its duty in not taking notice of the language when it was used, and in not dealing with the meetings as seditious meetings had been dealt with before. One other point had been raised in the course of the debate. It had been said that most of the men who attended the great mass meeting on the 13th of November, had the original intention of coming armed with sticks and bars of iron. He should like to remind the House that if the notice which was sent out by the Secretary of the Metropolitan Radical Federation was late, it was because the meeting was only proclaimed the night before, and he had no previous warning that the Government intended to pursue the course of action they afterwards took. It seemed to him (Mr. Lawson) that they might, to a certain extent, consider this from the point of view that was urged by the Home Secretary last night; they might well look upon it as, to a certain extent, a police question. He believed it was most important that the Government and the House should realize that there was a growing danger to social order in London in the friction and the exasperation which was arising between the public and the police of which the Trafalgar Square meeting and the matters which led up to it, in which hon. Members opposite admitted there was a good deal of shuffling and blundering, was but one example. Owing to the autocratic action, and owing to the military organization of the police force, it was very probable that there would cease to be that sympathy and co-operation with the agents and guardians of the law on the part of the populace, which he agreed with the hon. and learned Member for Dundee (Mr. Firth) had been one of the healthiest and happiest influences in the social condition of this city. They all knew what the cause of that was. The great cause was the want of local feeling and local sympathy, the absence of municipal management and civic control. What they wanted in London was local authority, and it was from the want of it that they were suffering so much at the present time. Allusion had been made to other boroughs. Everyone knew that in the boroughs and municipalities of England outside the Metropolitan area, the police were controlled by local authority, and that the local feeling which existed between the police and the public, the Chief Constable and the Watch Committee, had led to the happiest results. The two exceptions where there was no local responsibility for social order were London and Ireland, and in London they had the additional disadvantage and additional provocation of being able to contrast their own condition outside the City with the state of things which existed in the City itself. It was admitted so long back as 1837 when the Commission to inquire into local governments and municipal corporations was appointed, that there was no middle course in the establishment of an efficient police. The Commission seemed to lean to the side of entrusting Local Authorities with the entire command of the police, which they believed would be most valuable in its results. No one could have lived long in this city without noticing that there was a much better feeling between the City Police and the police outside the city boundaries. There was sympathy between the police in the city and the people, and the police there acted in the spirit of public responsibility. He did not intend to enter this evening into the whole question of the loss that accrued to this city, the large loss, from the want of local control and local management, but merely wished to point out that in this city they paid a very large tax in the difference between the price paid in the Metropolis for the police and the price paid outside. The whole of the general organization of the Metropolitan Police Force was in the hands of a clerk sitting in a back office of the Home Secretary's Department, whose very name was unknown to the public and the Governing Bodies with whom he had to deal; yet this man was the ruler in many of these most important matters. This was not the first time that hon. Members and the local bodies of London had asked there should be in this matter that local connection and local control which he believed they prized above all things. In 1869, when Colonel Henderson was appointed the Chief Commissioner, there was exactly the same outcry, and at that time a deputation presented a memorial to the Home Secretary on behalf of the vestries and District Boards, pointing out that in London, as elsewhere, there should be a popular representative Board, or a Watch Committee, with the control and management of the police. They complained, then, that the police was a quasi military force, drilled and managed as soldiers. The hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) had pointed out the fact that on the day in question, Trafalgar Square was occupied virtually in a military manner. In the memorial which was presented to the Home Secretary in 1869, complaint was made that the police were not confined to strictly police duty. It seemed to him that though a great deal was done by Colonel Henderson in his time to remedy the state of things complained of, there was now a deliberate attempt to drive the police force back into a military and anti-popular groove, both as regarded work and discipline. The original intention when the force was founded 60 years ago was that at the head of the force there should be two men, one a lawyer and one a military man. He believed that after Colonel Round's death there were two military men associated with Sir Richard Mayne who represented the civil element. Now, the civil element was conspicuous by its absence, owing to the wrong-headed recommendation made by the police Reorganization Committee in 1886, in a panic after the riots which then took place. There were appointed in the place of the old District Superintendents now Chief Constable, and these Chief Constables were in every instance men on the active list of the Army. They were men who had received their training in most instances, he fancied in the far East, in our Indian possessions or in South Africa, where they were hardly likely to have acquired that delicate touch and appreciation which enabled them to deal with the wants of the London population. The numbers of the force were being yearly increased, but if the authorities went much further in militarizing the force, the numbers would have to be doubled. The contact and intercourse between the police and their fellow citizens was being gradually done away with. In the first place, new conditions had been introduced into the manner in which men were enlisted in the force. There was a growing disinclination to take married men, and the unmarried men were all put in barracks, When married men were taken, they were told they were taken on condition that they accepted lodgings in barracks, lodgings which were offered to them at a smaller rent per week than they could get them at in the surrounding neighbourhood. The men themselves were not very well satisfied. Hon. Gentlemen representing Metropolitan constituencies constantly received letters from the men complaining of the manner in which they were treated with regard to promotion and other matters. There was indeed very great dissatisfaction in the Force, as might well be expected in consequence of what had been going on lately. But even more serious than that was the alienation of the police from the Local Authorities. The methods which used to prevail had come to an end. He was told by skilled and competent administrators that formerly they were in the habit of going to the police in small matters, and that the local requests were treated in a manner which was satisfactory to all parties. At the present time men who went on this sort of errands were met with black looks and rigid rules; their requests were referred to Scotland Yard, and they had to put up with the worst of all red tape, the red tape of the military administration. Then, the most important point of all was the refusal of the police to perform the usual duties for the maintenance of public morality. As the House knew, there had been a good deal of correspondence going on in respect to this matter; and that the other day, when a deputation, representing 20 Vestries, waited upon the Home Secretary, the right hon. Gentleman laid down the law in a way certainly not carried out. It was rather curious to note the sort of answer the Vestry of St. Pancras got when they applied to the Chief Commissioner. The Home Secretary told them that if they wanted men to carry out these duties they must go back to the parish constable. Mr. Baggallay's case was well known to all, but it was not the only case in which the Chief Commissioner of Police had tried to ride rough-shod over those who had to administer law in the different districts of London. Where was the present state of things leading to? If the Home Secretary was to have the right to decide what meetings were convenient and what were not, and if the Chief Commissioner was to carry out his instructions without reference to the wishes of Londoners, where was this two-man rule to end? He assured the Government that their troubles in London would go on increasing so long as they did not make up their minds to give the people that local power and organization, the want of which even hon. Members opposite had admitted the people suffered from so much. At the present moment the inhabitants of London were held absolutely at the mercy of officials, or of an office which, like the ostrich, buried its head in the sand, while its legs were bound round with red tape.

MR. BAUMANN (Peckham)

said, he hoped that Gentlemen who might follow in this debate would not imitate what he thought was the very bad example of the hon. Member for West St. Pancras (Mr. Lawson), who initiated a discussion on the reform of Local Government in London. This debate was quite difficult enough and quite complicated enough without the importation into it of such a new and foreign difficulty as that. Perhaps, as a Representative of the constituency in which Peckham Rye was situated, he might be allowed to express his thanks, even in his absence, to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) for having forced the Metropolitan Board of Works to mark out a place on Streatham Common and on Peckham Rye within which public meetings ought to be confined. That was a very considerable convenience to the inhabitants of Streatham and Peekham Rye. But that was just what they could not do in Trafalgar Square. They could not mark out a particular plot within which meetings were to be confined. He listened with the very greatest attention to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, because the right hon. Gentleman was, if not the Leader, at any rate the ad interim curator of the Liberal Party, and he (Mr. Baumann) was very anxious to know precisely the grounds on which the right hon. Gentleman, speaking in the name of that Party, condemned the Government. Listening with the greatest attention to his speech., so far as he could follow him, he (Mr. Baumann) did not gather that the right hon. Gentleman condemned Her Majesty's Government for the action which they took in November, but for having prohibited, as he said, all public meetings in Trafalgar Square for the future. Well, so far as he (Mr. Baumann) understood the speeches of the Attorney General and the Home Secretary, Her Majesty's Government had done nothing of the kind. They had not prohibited all public, meetings for ever and a day in Trafalgar Square. They had prohibited such meetings during such time as might seem good to the Executive Government. Now, this debate had turned almost entirely upon the large and general question of the right of public meeting. That was a question so embedded in conflicting statutes, and so involved in what he might call political metaphysics, that in its argument the real purport of the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Hackney (Sir Charles Russell) had been almost completely obscured. Might he venture to call the attention of the House to what was the main and central purport of the hon. and learned Gentleman's proposition? The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Hackney must think them extremely simple in the structure of their minds if he imagined that they did not see through the nature of the move he was making upon the Government of the day. Under the guise of asserting an ancient and time honoured right, which was not, and which, under an extended suffrage, never could be, in the slightest danger in this country, the hon. and learned Gentleman invited the House to declare that Her Majesty's Government was so little worthy of its confidence, that one of the most elementary functions of the Executive must be taken out of its hands and transferred to a Committee of the Legislature. It was their misfortune to witness daily encroachments upon the domain of the Executive by the Legislature in the shape of needless and idle questions about the administration of the law; but, as a rule, these questions proceeded from those who, without offence, and without disrespect, might be termed irresponsible Members of the House. But now, they had an hon. and learned Gentleman who had filled the office of Attorney General, and who, apparently, was supported by the late Prime Minister of the country, inviting the House to declare that one of the most elementary duties of any Government should be handed over to a Committee of the Legislature as a subject for inquiry. He (Mr. Baumann) would undertake to say that no undergraduate going in for a pass degree and being asked to define the terms "Legislature" and "Executive," would be guilty of so gross a confusion of ideas and duties as the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Hackney. Either the Government was absolutely incompetent to manage the affairs of the Empire, or it was not. If it was incompetent, let hon. Members convince the House and the country of the fact, and turn the Government out; but if Her Majesty's Ministers possessed the slightest competence to manage the affairs of the Empire, then, to his mind, they would be stultifying themselves and abdicating the first duties of a Government if they allowed any Committee of the House to come between them and a mere matter of police regulation. The hon. and learned Gentleman, who knew that the law on this subject was perfectly clear and perfectly well-established, invited them to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the conditions under which public meetings might be held in the metropolis. And for what purpose? In order, as he said in his Motion, to prevent ill-will and disorder. There would always be ill-will and disorder amongst the malicious and disorderly when they came into conflict with the Executive Government, but it was the duty of any Government worthy of the name to ignore ill-will and to put down disorder. There was a point touched upon by his hon. Friend the Member for West St. Pancras to which he would here like to allude. The hon. Member referred to the vast responsibility that Her Majesty's Government should feel from the fact that they had behind them (as the hon. Member incorrectly said) 48 Conservative Members. So much importance had been attached to the Motion of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Hackney, that it might not be amiss to discount the just weight and authority which attached to the hon. and learned Gentleman's name by reminding the House of how very small a proportion, of London he and his Friends represented, and by propounding a doubt whether, upon this particular question, those Gentlemen had at their back the approval of their constituents. London contributed to this House 62 Members, 51 of whom generally supported Her Majesty's Government, and 11 of whom sat and acted with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone). But there was more than that in this proportion of five to one. What evidence had they that of this residuary sixth of Gladstonian electors in the Metropolis the majority were in favour of the continuance of public meetings in Trafalgar Square? If they looked at the Petitions which had been presented to the House they found that 5,000 signatures had been attached to one praying that such meetings should be discontinued, and if they looked at the petitions presented to the House favourable to the continuance of these meetings they found no more than 637 signatures attached to them. But as a Metropolitan candidate of many years standing, he regretted to say he had some experience of London Liberalism, and knowing as he did that London Liberalism, while strongly tinctured with Dissent, was quite untainted by Socialism, he ventured to express a strong doubt whether the majority of the constituents of hon. Gentlemen opposite supported them in their contention, that Trafalgar Square should be turned into a bear garden, and his doubt on this head was not only an inference from his experience of the average London Liberal, whom he knew was quite as much opposed as the average London Conservative to the red flag and the black flag and tumultuous processions, but it was an inference from the action of the hon. Gentlemen themselves. How many Metropolitan Members were present in Trafalgar Square on that memorable Sunday when the hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire (Mr. Cunninghame Graham) was arrested? Where were the Houndsditch Hampdens? Where were the Sidneys and Russells from Shoreditch and Bethnal Green, who were always ready to die on the nearest scaffold in the sacred cause of uncivil and irreligious liberty? Why, not one of them was there in Trafalgar Square. Perhaps they were taking tea in North- umberland Avenue, waiting for the corpses to come in. But at any rate they were conspicuous by their absence. They left the hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire to take the thumps and imprisonment, and now that he had emerged reeking from the fray, these prudent patriots came forward and offered to plaster his cracked crown with their paper resolutions. But even assuming for the purposes of argument that the entire number of Liberal electors in London were in favour of the continuance of these meetings in Trafalgar Square, a very large assumption, especially after the speech of the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Murdock), even assuming that, they were still face to face with this fact, that an overwhelming majority of London, something like five-sixths, were on one side in this question, and a microscopic minority of not more than one-sixth were on the other side. He thought it would be conceded by every rational man that some overwhelming principle of public policy, some principle of cardinal and catholic importance, must be cited to justify the sacrifice of the wishes and convenience of so large a majority to those of so small a minority. No doubt the right of public meeting was such a principle of public policy—was a principle of cardinal and catholic value; but to say that the right of public meeting was attached to a particular spot was childish and absurd, and to contend that with 10 or 12 parks and with hundreds of public halls in London open to anybody who liked to hire them, many of them being offered gratuitously by their owners—to contend that because public meetings were prevented in Trafalgar Square, therefore the right of public meeting was taken away, was perfectly farcical. The truth was that these meetings were held in Trafalgar Square not because it was a convenient place, but because it was an inconvenient place—because it afforded the best basis for the practice of intimidation and annoyance. Trafalgar Square was chosen because it was in the middle of those shops which Burke described as "bursting with opulence." It was chosen because it was in the middle of the clubs and the plate glass. The fact was that the only objects for which the majority of Londoners were asked to tolerate a colossal nuisance in their midst was to afford a field of display for the crazy vanity of a few feather brains, the tools in their turn of an excited editor, aping the absurd airs of a Tribune— Who puts his shall—his popular shall—against A graver bench than ever frowned in Greece. The sum of his business was this—that a vast and overwhelming proportion of the electors of London, if they took into account the women who are non-voters, a still larger proportion of the residents in London, and a great number of people in the country who had been prevented from coming to London to shop through fear of these meetings, all these classes of persons were in favour of maintaining Trafalgar Square as it had hitherto been, a beautiful public place of resort; that the minority who wished to turn Trafalgar Square into a Jacobin Club was a very small minority, and not a very respectable minority; that the holding of public meetings in any part of Trafalgar Square was incompatible with its maintenance as a place of public resort, because of the obvious and proved impossibility of confining the meetings within reasonable limits, and that, therefore, it was the duty of the Government, for the preservation of order and for the protection of property, to prohibit in future all meetings of any kind in any part of the Square. They had already been informed that the Executive Government intended to take away the right of public meeting there for a certain time. They had not told the House how long they intended to keep the embargo up. For his part, he should like to see it made perpetual. He should like to see Trafalgar Square laid down in turf and turned into a place like Leicester Square. If that were done, it would be what it ought to be—namely, an ornament to the Metropolis. London had done a great deal for the present Government. It had returned 51 Members who supported them, and London expected the Government to do something for it. It expected that at least the Government would preserve order and protect the vast stores of property which were accumulated at the West End.

MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)

said, he had, on one or two occasions, endeavoured to catch the eye of Mr. Speaker since the speech of the hon. and learned Attorney General on the other side, which he felt required an answer from some Liberal Metropolitan Member, and to which an answer should be given as early as possible. The Attorney General made some remarks and found fault with the endeavour which was made to tack on to the Motion before the House the Amendment of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh), and the hon. and learned Gentleman had expressed an inability to see what the one portion had to do with the other. Presumably the hon. and learned Member held the same view with respect to an Amendment which stood in his (Mr. Stuart's) name. The inability of the hon. and learned Gentleman to see the connection between these two Motions arose from what, no doubt, was his opinion—namely, the view that hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House below the Gangway were the friends of disorder. If the hon. and learned Gentleman would look into the Resolutions he would see what their object was—that they desired to re-establish, as far as possible, and to maintain the confidence which the people of the Metropolis ought to have in the police and in the management of public meeting in London. He (Mr. Stuart), for one, felt that there was no object which could be more sacred to the mind of any responsible person, or anyone in the House in connection with public affairs at this moment, than to maintain that confidence in the powers that put the law into execution, which had happily been maintained in most parts of Great Britain. The object of the Resolution of the hon. and learned Member for South Hackney was to introduce order and clearness into the subject, which was at present, from the debates in the House, evidently one on which varied opinions existed. Could there be anything more unfortunate for the Government of the day to do than, after the events which had taken place in connection with Trafalgar Square in November last, to positively put down their foot and say that there was, in their opinion, really no right of public meeting at all, and that any public meeting—of course he meant in open spaces—in the Metropolis was exercised entirely subject to their supervision and free will? He (Mr. Stuart) believed that such an action had, unfortunately, got a tendency to increase the present uneasy feeling that there was in the Metropolis. He believed that those who moved the Resolution, and those who moved the Amendments which were going along with it, would be found to be those who were really keeping the peace of the Metropolis by endeavouring to put clearly the right of public meeting, and to establish it under suitable conditions. The hon. and learned Attorney General went so far as to say, or to represent those hon. Members as saying, that they desired that there should be an absolute power to hold a meeting at any hour, of any size, and to give any amount of free will to everybody in Trafalgar Square and other open spaces. That was not at all the object of those who moved and those who supported the Resolution of the hon. and learned Member for South Hackney. They were perfectly aware that if the right of public meeting was to be of advantage to the community, and if it was to continue unimpaired, it must be exercised subject to proper regulations and to any useful restrictions that might be required. But they, at the same time, were of opinion that in the case of Trafalgar Square and of other open spaces in London where meetings at present were commonly held, it would be desirable to apply provisions similar to the Parks Regulation Act of 1872. He would point out what it was in connection with that Act which gave security to public meetings and rendered them free from danger and alarm. There was a body established, not the police, but separate and apart from the police, to whom anyone desiring to hold a meeting in Hyde Park, or other place under their control, was required to apply. He thought that distinction of a separate body was a very valuable distinction, which did not, in any sense, exist in the case of Trafalgar Square or other like situated open spaces. There was another very important point in the regulation under that Act which had received the sanction of the House, and that was the notice that had to be given some days beforehand to Her Majesty's Board of Works, the body concerned, of the intention to hold a meeting. Such a notification took in the case, for instance, of Hyde Park, precisely the same position that the engaging of a hall would take, were there a hall suit- able for such a meeting; and it had been his experience that the Metropolitan Board of Works treated very fairly any proposals that were brought before them, and were very willing to enter into any arrangement for the good order and good conduct of the meetings. And he could feel no doubt whatever that were such an Act in its general character extended to Trafalgar Square, the meetings there would be free from all those features which had from time to time been objected to, and that the uneasy feeling which existed in a large measure on the part of the people of London, that they were losing some right through the action of the Government, would cease and disappear. The next point on which those who were bringing forward these Resolutions were endeavouring to secure peace and confidence in London was contained in the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton. The hon. Gentleman moved for an inquiry into the conduct of the police. Do not let anyone think that an attack was being made on the police force in general. On the contrary, it was necessary, in order to obtain such a Committee of Inquiry as the hon. Member for Northampton proposed, to show some primâ facie case of improper action on the part of certain members of the police force. That such improper action had taken place on the part of several members—a considerable number of members of the police force—he thought, after the speech of his hon. Friend, and after such other particulars as they would, he hoped, have brought before them before the end of the debate, there could be no reasonable ground for denying. Surely, to inquire into such allegations as had been brought forward by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Northampton would not in themselves lead to the weakening of the force. On the contrary, in the interests of the police themselves—in the interests of their proper position and utility—and in the interests of the peace of the Metropolis, and, above all, in the interests of the confidence of the people of London in the police, he believed that such an inquiry was urgently required. As to the Amendment of which he (Mr. Stuart) had given Notice, it would be out of Order to refer to it in more than one passing word. As had been said in many quarters of the House, it was hard to believe that any regulation of the circumstances under which meetings were held, or any inquiry into the conduct of the police, could establish what might be called a stable equilibrium in the position of the police in the Metropolis, for the growth of confidence was a very slow growth, and the confidence of the people of London in the Metropolitan Police had been sadly shaken. The question had arisen how was confidence to be re-established, and he could not believe that it could be effectually and permanently re-established, except by utilizing their experience from what certainly existed in England—namely, that confidence was best established and best maintained in the police force, when that force was in the hands of the ratepayers for whom it acted. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General, and not a few other Members on the other side of the House, had spoken with great force of the meetings of the unemployed which had taken taken place previously to the 13th November. They had all fallen, it seemed to him, into the same error of conceiving that the meetings of the unemployed which took place previously to the 13th November and the meeting of the 13th November itself had anything whatever to do with one another. The meeting of the 13th November was one which was carried out by the same body as had organized many meetings in the Metropolis, both in Trafalgar Square and elsewhere, with great success and free from all elements of disorder, and from any cause or possible cause of alarm. In speaking of the meetings of the unemployed which were not interfered with by the Government, he should like to say this—that he felt that, however disorderly they might have been—and certainly, in many cases, they were disorderly—the expression of opinion by the poor and the weak and the miserable of this great City was not a thing which could lightly be repressed, even though that expression of opinion might have connected with it many foolish statements and many foolish proposals. It should be the aim of all in the House to ascertain, as far as they could ascertain it, where the root of the difficulty of these unemployed lay, and that could not be ascertained without listening to what they themselves had to say. They had not the means of hiring large halls for their meetings; their speeches were not reported in the newspapers; they were obliged to hold their meetings in some places or under some circumstances which enabled them to attract attention. And here, with respect to these meetings and the unemployed and their demands, let him repeat in the House words which he had used elsewhere. There was no doubt in the demands of these people something, much of which was wrong, and much of which was erroneous; but the origin of their demands was that a real cause and a real trouble existed, which was not only felt by these people, but was a trouble in consequence to the whole body politic. There was nothing that he and his Friends felt more at this moment in the beginning of these democratic times than the necessity of guarding the security of property. That security was a thing at which they all must aim; but he had said this—that whereas the law had in the past very largely aimed at securing to those who had the enjoyment of what they had, it ought also to set about more than it had done creating that condition of existence in which those who earned should get their fair share of what they earned, and thereby establish one of the best sources of security that those who had should secure the free and undisputed enjoyment of what they had. The meeting of the 13th November, which was undertaken by a number of persons well accustomed to carry through such meetings, and who in other cases carried them through without any cause of alarm and without any danger, differed also in another respect from these meetings of the unemployed. They took place under circumstances in which there might be, and there was, considerable evil done to the shopkeepers and others in the neighbourhood. He should like here to call attention to what an hon. Member, who quoted a considerable number of letters respecting the falling-off of visitors at hotels and the like, replied in answer to a question which he (Mr. Stuart) interposed. The hon. Member said that the letters as to the falling-off of visitors at the hotels, and of persons coming from foreign countries to London, were dated subsequent to November 13, bearing out what had been all along said, that it was the action of the Government and the authorities which created the alarm. But that meeting was held on a Sunday; the traffic was absent; the streets were not thronged with ordinary passengers. The shops were shut, so that the difficulties which were said to have existed, and which did exist, in connection with other meetings, had not existed in connection with this one. It was remarkably unfortunate for the Government, who disavowed all intention of interfering with political meetings, and meetings for bonâ fide political purposes, that the first meeting they did interfere with was held for a bonâ fide political purpose, and free from all those subsidiary disadvantages—if he might call them so—attendant on the other meetings. As to the meeting of the 13th November, it was said that some of the people went to it with serious arms. So far that was a great misfortune; but they had before them, evidence which they had got from many sources, that club after club which came to the meeting in the procession, in order to evade any appearance of violence or threat, left behind them, intentionally, not only their sticks, but even their umbrellas, and that they had arranged as they advanced towards the Square to have some sort of Homeric controversy with the police who would meet them, in order that they might assert their legal right, as they believed, to go to the public meeting in the Square, and then turn aside and go to Hyde Park or elsewhere. Evidence largely to that effect, no doubt, could be brought before any Committee, should the Government repent of the position they had taken up, and enable the House to establish a Committee of Inquiry. The processionists had reason to believe that the police would meet them without violence and without force. Considerable confidence had grown up in the police, in the gradual growth of that slow-growing plant, since the Metropolitan Police was first introduced into London, and in the previous large meetings and gatherings which had been held the police had offered very considerable help. In regard to one of those meetings which he was connected with last Easter Monday, he had had occasion to write thanking the police for the great care and good sense with which they had conducted their various arrangements; but with regard to that meeting and with respect to other meetings which passed off with great ease and quietness, those whose cue was always to represent the people as turbulent had used before the event language no less inflamed than they did of the meeting in Trafalgar Square. If anyone would turn to The Morning Post of Friday, April 8, a few days before that Hyde Park meeting, they would see a leading article there which contained the following words:— It can only be by some unfortunate technicality that such a meeting can escape being called treasonable. Public opinion must not allow itself to be blinded by a name. It has now to choose under which king it will serve. A rule shared by Parliament with the mob is a farce to-day, and will be a tragedy to-morrow. There is no middle course. There can be no delay in the decision. The Executive Government, fortunately, did not yield to that incitement. He had no doubt, if they had, they would have plunged London into the same disorder and condition into which they plunged it on the 13th November last. The meeting was uninterfered with, and passed off peaceably. Some journals had made a considerable effort to represent the people of London as turbulent and not law-abiding. He would read an extract from The Observer, of December 11, 1887—a passage from an account of a meeting of a body styling itself "The English Land Restoration League." The objects of that body, like the objects of the Socialists, might be good or bad. That had nothing to do with the present question, and as yet the Government had not ventured to prevent any meeting on the specified ground that they did not agree with its object. The only instance in which they did that was in Ireland, in the case of the suppressed branches of the National League. But of this meeting, here was the concluding part of the account— A force of foot police attended from the local police station, and was under the direction of Inspectors Alstin and Robinson. Several horse patrols were also in the neighbourhood of the gathering "— an item of news which he would venture to say had practically no other utility than to alarm nervous people, and to keep up the delusion—the wicked and wickedly fostered delusion—that the people of London generally were turbulent and law-breaking. It was short shrift that these gentry would give to the common people. Here was a quotation from The Globe of May 13, referring to a meeting of Socialists. It said— There is really no need to waste public time, outside the House any more than in it, by discussing the rights and wrongs of the case. The first duty of the police is emphatically not to protect public meetings, which are dangerous to public order, but to suppress them. All very good; but the whole thing lay in the words "dangerous to public order," and his contention was that whatever of the nature of alarm and danger it partook was entirely due to the action of the Government and the police. That was not the first time events of that kind had happened in connection with the police force. An instance in which an inquiry into the action of the police was granted by the House had been quoted by his hon. Friend the Member for Northampton. He would give another, which was still more germane to the case in point. A meeting announced to take place on the 13th of May, 1833, in Coldbath Fields, was proclaimed as an unlawful assembly; but the people gathered, and a conflict ensued between them and the new police, in the course of which one policeman was killed and two others were grievously wounded. On July 12 a Select Committee, with power to send for persons, papers, and records, was appointed to inquire into the conduct of the police in dispersing the meeting. It reported on August 23. It exonerated the police from blame, at any rate on most points; but its 7th Resolution was as follows:— That, while it is the opinion of this Committee that the conduct of the police as a body on the occasion in question afforded no just ground of complaint, they feel it a duty to advert to the importance of the utmost caution and vigilance on the part of the superintendents and other officers of the police to check any unnecessary violence among their men on all occasions, but more especially where large, bodies of them are employed in the preservation or suppression of disturbance, and the maintenance of the public peace. Not a word of such caution had escaped from any Member of the Government to those responsible for the action of the police. The right of public meeting in Trafalgar Square had been much disputed, and it had been treated by others better able to deal with the matter than he was; he only desired to read to the House an extract from a letter he had received from a gentleman who was engaged in the temperance organization of London. The writer said— It happens that, in conjunction with a friend, I have had an exceptional experience of meetings in Trafalgar Square. We have held more meetings there than any other men in London, having conducted them weekly, weather permitting, during all the summer months from the beginning of May to the end of September each year from 1878 to 1885; and I supplied certain information to Mr. Saunders when charged at Bow Street which was regarded as valuable, inasmuch as it tended to show, on the authority of the Chief Commissioner of Police, that the present interpretation of the law by those who contend for the right of meeting is the same as the official interpretation during the years mentioned. When about to start Sunday morning meetings at Trafalgar Square, on the first Sunday in May, 1878, I made the police acquainted with our intention. Having no reply, my friend and I attended for the purpose; but just as we commenced the constable on duty interrupted us: and upon an appeal to a sergeant, who professed to know nothing of our right to be there, or of our communication, suggested it would be well if he were to simply report the circumstances, and that we should postpone our meeting until the following week. This we agreed to do. The same evening some police officers made inquiries about me at my lodgings in North Street, Westminster, and I afterwards received an acknowledgment of my letter, signed by Colonel Henderson, and dated 7th May, 1878, in which he said—'I have no power to grant any permission to hold meetings in Trafalgar Square, and I cannot but think it a very unsuitable place for public meetings on Sundays.' I replied to Colonel Henderson, explaining our object, and simply asking not to be interfered with. The next letter I received, dated 11th May—which was left in the custody of the Court after my evidence before the magistrate in the Graham and Burns case—stated that the Chief Commissioner had neither power to prohibit or permit meetings, and that the police could only act according to instructions, without regard to the object of the meeting. The words underlined arc significant, taken in conjunction with subsequent action. Acting on our right, we continued the meetings, and afterwards received an intimation that the police had received instructions not to interfere. Such instructions were literally repeated year by year as our intention to resume the meetings was announced. Thus, and according to all usage up to the recent action, it would appear that our interpretation of the law now was the official interpretation. I ought to add that Mr. Poland, in cross-examination, after I had proved receipt of the second letter, sought to show that our meetings, being quiet, ordinary temperance meetings, could not be regarded as objectionable. This is answered by the fact that the Chief Commissioner did express opinion against the meetings, but virtually admitted he had no right or power to interfere. Before leaving this part of the subject, he would say that undoubtedly there was danger and alarm in Trafalgar Square on the 13th of November; but the danger arose from filling the Square with armed men to prevent the people going there. No people had more firmly endeavoured to prevent a recurrence of such danger than those who represented the Liberal Party in London. Passing the Resolution even with the addition of the Amendment would not entirely suffice. Continued confidence in the police could not be expected so long as the force was in the hands of the Executive Government of the day, necessarily representing one Party. It was a most unfortunate position for the police, and the source of many troubles. Let them act ever so immaculately, they could not interfere with any political meeting, where even there might be just ground for interference, without raising in the minds of the people of the Metropolis grave suspicion of the propriety and motives of their action. He desired to set the Government free from that difficulty; to free the police from that suspicion. It would require the best wits and firmest minds to define the exact position of the police force in the future, but warnings were offered from experience. In France there was a police force which had developed in one way, and in the boroughs of England there was a development in another direction. In France bureaucratic centralization had borne its full fruit. In France the police—in Paris at any rate—had ceased to a great extent to be that protective force it ought to be, and had become the ready instrument of oppression, revolution, and personal ambition. We had in London seeds of the same dangerous growth. As in Paris, the police were under the control of the Executive Government, and with a head irresponsible to the people The people had no power over their police, and such an arrangement was apt for political misrule, and still more apt for the suspicion of such. In the towns of England, on the other hand, there was no such suspicion or fear of conflict, for the police were the servants rather than the masters of the people, and any complaint of police action was at once referred to the Watch Committees. He looked forward with great hope and expectation to the day when there could no longer be such debates as these in the House of Commons. ["Hear, hear!"] Not that the debates would cease for reasons hon. Members applauded, not because defence of popular rights would cease, but because the people would have a Representative Court of Appeal short of Parliament. ["Hear, hear!"] The present position in London was a standing menace to the liberties of England, and steps in the wrong direction were being taken in London just now. The police of London had in the last few years become more and more an embarracked body, separated from the civil life of the people. He would have them restored to a position of a civil and loss of a military body. Surely, Londoners were not less capable than the inhabitants of other towns of managing their own police affairs? The state of London was a standing menace to liberty, and he called the attention of the House to how this matter stood. The general police Act for England was passed in 1839, and at that time the police were under the management of and paid by the localities. But in 1856 an unfortunate change was made, and a quarter of the charge for police was placed on the Consolidated Fund, a proportionate share of control being given to the Central Authority. In 1875 a further step in the same direction was taken, and the contribution from Imperial Funds raised to one-half. Further, he would point out that when a Conservative Government carried out the centralizing policy in reference to prisons, it was an open secret that the then Home Secretary—Sir R. Assheton Cross—made inquiries in several of the large boroughs to ascertain if it could be made acceptable to local opinion that a larger share of the cost of the police should fall on, the Imperial Fund, and the management pass into the hands of the Central Authority. An excuse, a possibility for that happening, a ground of argument by which it could be urged, existed in the position of the present Metropolitan Police Force. He therefore urged the House to adopt not only the original Resolution but also the Amendment, and to adopt them in the interests of peace, of security, and of good government in the Metropolis.

MR. JESSE COLLINGS (Birmintgham, Bordesley)

said, the hon. Member for the Hoxton Division of Shoreditch (Mr. Stuart) had made a very interesting speech, with the greater part of which many on that side would thoroughly agree; but hardly anything in the speech had anything to do with the Resolution or the Amendment. Municipal Government in London, or in Ireland, the stopping of the bureau- cratic tendencies, the transfer of prisons to the control of Government, all these were interesting matters to be brought up for discussion at a proper time. The hon. Member appealed to Provincial Members on the question, and Provincial Members, though they might not know much about London, were perfectly well aware of what the people of the Provinces thought with regard to this Trafalgar Square business; and when hon. Members got to know what those thoughts were they would see that they had failed to blind the people of the Provinces as to the nature of these proceedings by references to the want of London Municipal Government and other things. He agreed that the poor should have facilities for expressing their grievances. Who amongst them wished for a moment to deny such? It was, indeed, in favour of the liberties of the poor that law-abiding observances were to be insisted upon. Then the hon. Member asked that the Amendment should be agreed to, having a few minutes before stated that nothing in the Resolution or the Amendment would secure the object he had in view. He was reluctant to impose himself on the attention of the House, but on this occasion he was specially unwilling to give a silent vote. It had been stated by more than one speaker that this was not a Party question. In our system of Party Government too many things were reduced to the level of a lever to lift the Opposition into power, but he trusted that no Party would ever allow the question of law and order, on which all government must exist, to be degraded into a Party weapon to secure a Party triumph. An appeal was made by his right hon. Friend to Dissentient Members of the Liberal Party—what his right hon. Friend meant he did not know. Did he refer to the so-called Unionist Liberals the "remnant that remaineth" of the old Liberal Party, which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. W. E. Gladstone) so thoroughly smashed in l886? His hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hackney (Sir Charles Russell) objected to the term "Separatists;" then why did he apply to others the term "Dissentient Liberals?" To be Dissentients there must be something to dissent from—would his hon. and learned Friend have the courage to define the thing from which they were dissenting? He had not permission to do that. The hon. and learned Member for Dundee said it was unwise to bring the Crown into the controversy, but he was inclined to think it was an unwise thing to bring on the controversy at all, and hon. Members would find that they had attained very little from the alliance they had made, and the now form of Liberalism they had introduced. The hon. and learned Member for Dundee said—and he was not the only one who had said it—that the respectable artizans of London were divorced from law and order. He (Mr. Jesse Collings) did not believe a word of it. Of the respectable artizans, the workmen—by which he meant the men who worked—he did not believe for a moment that they were divorced from law and order. Just to the extent which that democracy to which his hon. and learned Friend referred gained ground would the workmen recognize that law and order formed the basis of democracy, without which it could not progress and would cease to exist. There was one feature in the controversy he regretted. No one on the Liberal side had uttered one word of sympathy as to the way in which the police had been served. In the thronged community of London, men, women, and children went about the streets, not thinking of arming themselves for self-defence, simply because they trusted in and relied on the protection of the law, and the representatives of the law. He could understand the terror that would be excited if for a moment there were introduced into the minds of men, women, or children a feeling that there was anything like rottenness in the representatives of the power of the law. What made the policeman so powerful? Man for man he was not physically superior to his fellow-citizens, and as a body the police were much less numerous. It was only because they bore the badge of representatives of the law, only because it was felt that the whole power of the Kingdom was behind them, that half-a-dozen policemen could in tolerably large towns enable the inhabitants to walk the streets in peace and sleep securely in their homes. They were not friends of a Liberal democracy who would put out a finger to disturb this state of things. It was this that Liberals had been lighting for for the last 50 years, but the proceedings and the speeches of so-called Liberals during the debate contained doctrines that did much to check the progress made and the victory almost achieved. Nearly the whole of the controversy had turned upon legal points, and to non-legal minds it was an intellectual pleasure to listen. The case as put by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Hackney (Sir Charles Rusaell) seemed to admit of no contradiction, and in listening to him they thought he was right. But when the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Matthews) began to speak in reply the non-legal mind was disposed to consider that he, too, was absolutely right. This was the bewilderment the non-legal mind got into by the everlasting dealing with legal technicalities and subtleties which had been how the subject had been treated. It would seem impertinent for him to refer to what had been said on nice points of law, but there were one or two points that presented difficulties to the non-legal mind. For instance, that part of the speech of the hon. and learned Member for South Hackney (Sir Charles Russell) which occupied so much time, and to which he attached so much importance, was the ''historical creation of Trafalgar Square.'' He did not think that had anything to do with it. He had no doubt that at one time people went bird's-nesting in Trafalgar Square. If Trafalgar Square were suitable for pursuits of that sort then it was hardly suitable for them now. One could quite understand that 30 years ago there might be many places in this City and in other towns of England quite suitable for a purpose for which they were no longer suitable. There had been much talk about the right of ingress and thoroughfare. Of course there was a right of ingress and thoroughfare in the streets, but if 500 or 600 people possessing that right were to stop and to address each other, and form a public meeting, the whole case would be altered. Let them come down from these legal heights to the region of common sense—he meant, by common sense, the sense of common people; the sort of argument which the people of the country would understand. They might depend upon it that the majority of people would not understand many of the arguments hon. Members seemod to rely upon. Now, the Resolution must be taken with the Amendment moved to it; must be taken with the speeches which had been delivered in the House in the course of the debate, and with the speeches which were being and had been delivered elsewhere; it must be taken with all those curious proceedings which had taken place at public meetings. That being so, the Amendment, which appeared in itself so very innocent, was a thing of very grave meaning. Two statements were made by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for South Hackney which seemed to him to surrender the whole case. In the first place, the hon. and learned Gentleman admitted that previous to the 13th of November there had been held a number of meetings of a disorderly character and causing considerable annoyance, inconvenience, and injury to persons whose businesses surrounded Trafalgar Square; and he admitted that it was with a view of preventing the recurrence of these things that the Government took action. His hon. and learned Friend said very fairly— I do not question and never have questioned the right of the Executive to stop any meeting which they can satisfy any proper tribunal was an unlawful meeting, either because of its avowed object, or because it was calculated to inspire the minds of ordinary persons in the neighbourhood with fear. His hon. and learned Friend practically admitted that there were abundant warnings given to the Government, and that the Government had a right to interfere. He (Mr. Jesse Collings) took it that the right carried the duty. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] Well, Parliament did not put powers into the hands of the Executive without the intention that the Executive should use them, and therefore he took it that the right carried the duty. At any rate, if the Government had not exercised the right they would have had to bear the responsibility of whatever consequences resulted. According to the admissions of the Mover of the Motion the Government had warnings of the necessity, and they had power to exercise the right. They did exercise it, and according to the opinions of the jury at the recent trial they exercised it properly, and it was well known that the exercise of the right had resulted in the public good. Suppose the Go- vernment had not acted, and suppose the police had been overpowered and a part of London had been sacked—and that was not an extravagant supposition by any means—what sort of a Resolution would right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench be moving at the present time in that event? They would be moving a Resolution coudenming this weak and miserable Government that did not know how to perform the first duty of Government—namely, that of governing. He did not forget that his hon. and learned Friend (Sir Charles Russell) referred to the continuous character of the regulation affecting Trafalgar Square, but that was a point which the people of England would not attach much importance to. It was too nice, and in view of the great things that had to be settled and the dangers that had to be encountered it disappeared altogether. There was no question of free speech in this matter whatever. There was no question of the right of public speaking; nothing of the kind was involved. The only question involved was as to whether free speech and the right of public meeting should be so arranged as to be a terror, an inconvenience, and a source of danger to other members of the community who had as much right to protection as those who held the meeting. It was really a question whether the people might live in peace in their own houses. They had heard much talk about the rights of the people. Which people were they who were referred to? Matters must be so arranged that while they secured the rights of one section of the people they did not do away with the rights of another. Let them take the case of America. He had taken considerable interest in this matter, having always thought himself a great upholder of free speech. In America there was free speech and there was the right of public meeting; but he questioned if there was any country in the world in which, an Executive was armed with such powers for the regulation of meetings with regard to time, place, and purpose, particularly of place, as America, and he shuddered to think what would have happened if the occurrences in Trafalgar Square had taken place in America. He should like to know what would have happened if such occurrences had taken place in Switzerland or Belgium? He was glad to think that in this country we could secure law and order and free speech and the right of free meeting without resorting to the terrible expedients to which the Executive in America had recourse. His hon. and learned Friend (Sir Charles Russell) said that there was a feeling of disquiet widely entertained. He assured his hon. and learned Friend that there was such a feeling, but that it was entertained in a very opposite direction to that in which his hon. and learned Friend presumed it was entertained. He (Mr. Jesse Collings) noticed that in all parts of the country, about the time of the meeting in Trafalgar Square, there was an angry feeling on the part of people of all classes at the supposed inaction of the Government. He was not speaking of London; he gave the supporters of the Resolution London. He knew what he was speaking about. In the Provinces and amongst the law-abiding people—the solid-thinking people of the Provinces—there was un questionably at the time a very angry feeling on the supposed inaction of the Government. He was not speaking of the shouting classes; he was not speaking of the Caucus for instance, but he was speaking of that vast mass—that vast majority of the people of England—stay-at-home men; the arm-chair politicians. [Laughter.] Yes; he knew those men; they had been a trouble in former times because they won elections, and they had won elections sometimes against the Party to which he belonged. His hon. Friends upon the Opposition side of the House had got in the Caucus a machine, but they did not know how to use it. He was present at its birth, attended it in its infancy, and he knew its tricks. Tools must be for those who could use them, and, because they did not know how to gauge its proper value, the Caucus was at the bottom of all the misfortunes of his hon. Friends. He hoped they would be wiser in future, because when that body promised them large majorities and—


Order, order! The constitution of the body to which the hon. Gentleman refers is not now before the House.


said, he begged the Speaker's pardon for having been led into digression. The constitution of the Caucus had certainly no ap- parent connection with the Resolution. He had intended to remark when he made the digression that in his speech his hon, and learned Friend did not utter one word in defence of disorder. He was sure nothing would be further from his hon. and learned Friend's wish or will to do anything to promote disorder, but he should like to have heard something more from the hon. and learned Gentleman and from others in favour of law and order. He should like to have heard from them, in defence of the police, some recognition of the difficulties of the police; he should like to have heard something which would have indicated that there was another side to the question, because they had been told to-night that there were 112 policemen who were severely injured, some of them permanently. That was a matter which really demanded their sympathy in some form or other, because these men had acted in the pursuit of their duty. The police were the arm of the Executive, and when 112 of them were knocked about by people whom they did not seek after at all, and when this happened when they were in the pursuit of duty imposed upon them, the House ought at least to have heard a little more expressions of sympathy with them. Again, let him refer to America. If hon. Members read the American papers they would know that most severe sentences were inflicted upon any men who opposed the police or put themselves in the way of the police in the execution of their duty. That was quite right, because it was the only safeguard for a democratic country. There was only one other remark he had to make before he sat down. His hon. Friend the Member for North-East Bethnal Green (Mr. Howell) made a remark which, in his opinion, was very regrettable. The hon. Gentleman said the people of this country had not yet learned, but were learning, that the only way to get justice done in the House of Commons was to create scenes of disorder. That, as he had said, was a very regrettable remark to make in the House of Commons. To him the government and management of 4,000,000 or 5,000,000 of human beings, with all their varied interests and troubles and everything else, was a very serious thing. Society itself in a manner hung upon it. When he heard such sentiments proceeding from a democrat he thought it was regrettable in the highest degree. He could quite understand it if they lived in a country with a despotic Government, but they lived in a country where every man had got a vote, where the Executive had no hereditary power or despotic power, but was the creation of the people and the Parliament; and, that being so, it was mere folly to talk about the interference of the police with this and with that. It was not only folly, but it seemed to him wicked to utter such a sentiment as the one he had referred to, which was to be reported and to be read by thousands of people who would, perhaps, put a very wrong construction upon it. There was no doubt the action of the Government would be criticized in the constituencies. Southwark, for instance, did not agree with it; but Deptford did and Doncaster did. He did not think that any man who could by letter or telegram, or in any other way, suggest to the people any other appeal than to the ballot box was a friend of the democracy—a friend of the poor. In fact, such a man had yet to learn how democratic and popular government was to be built up. He (Mr. Jesse Collings), for one, had no hesitation in voting on this occasion. Hon. Members might move as innocent-looking Resolutions or Amendments as they chose, but the common-sense feeling of the people of this country would be that the question at issue was really whether or not a certain number of people should disobey or defy the law they did not agree with—whether or not they might break policemen's heads who, in the execution of their duty, sought to enforce the law. Such was what the people of England understood by this Resolution; and he was very much mistaken if his hon. and right hon. Friends on the Front Opposition Bench did not find that they had made a great blunder from their own point of view by allowing those Resolutions to be proposed.


I cannot follow the hon. Member who has just sat down (Mr. Jesse Collings) through his somewhat discursive observations; for if I were to attempt to do so I should bring down upon myself that condemnation which the hon. Member brought down upon himself. From one point of view, I admit the observations of the hon. Member have been of interest. He has given to the House the confessions of an old Caucus-monger. The hon. Member told us that managers of Caucuses have forgotten the tricks of the Caucus. I daresay they forget them at the time they lost the services of the hon. Member. [Cries of "Order!"] Well, I apologize, and will not pursue this line any further. The hon. and learned Attorney General (Sir Richard Webster) gave a challenge to this side of the House which I have very great pleasure in accepting. It has been already pointed out in the course of this debate that if the Government really believe in their case, and are really serious in contending not merely that it is a question which may be disputed, but that the legal proposition they put forward is one which is beyond doubt, and, therefore, not fit to be a subject of inquiry, why did they not test the legal position when they had the opportunity of prosecuting Mr. William Saunders? The Attorney General told the House that it would have been impossible for the Government to have raised the question in the prosecution of Mr. Saunders. The hon. and learned Gentleman also invited any person sitting on this side who assumed to himself any knowledge of the legal condition of things existing with regard to Mr. Saunders' case to point to him the mode in which that prosecution might have been instituted and maintained. I would undertake, if the hon. and learned Gentleman were here, to give him the information; but, in his absence, I will give it to the Solicitor General, pointing out the two modes by which the Government, if in earnest, might have raised this very question in the prosecution of Mr. Saunders in the Police Act. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General mentioned a prosecution under a local Police Act for obstructing a highway; and, as similar provisions existed in the Metropolitan Police Act, a similar charge mighthave beenmade againstMr. Saunders, and it would have been open to him to have set up a defence involving the point at issue. The Home Secretary said the notice of Sir Charles Warren was issued under the 52nd section of 2 & 3 Vict. The 54th section of that Act provides that every person shall be liable to a penalty of not more than 40s. who, within the limits of the Metro- politan Police Act, shall commit certain offences; and one of these is wilfully disregarding or not conforming himself to the directions issued under the section. Sir Charles Warren issued his notice under the section; Mr. Saunders gave notice that he would disregard it, and he went to the place and disregarded it. What was easier than to institute a prosecution which would enable Mr. Saunders to raise the defence on the proposition of law involved in the debate? We agree in the main with the observations of the Home Secretary, whose speech appeared to be divided into two parts. The first part was one of law, and the second one of facts. The Home Secretary presented to the House, no doubt, a deplorable condition of things, and I am not here, for one moment, to palliate any of the outrages that have resulted from these gatherings. He is but a poor friend of the cause of the people who would attempt to defend any of the outrages that were committed, and he does but little justice to his cause. But this is the answer that I make to my right hon. Friend (Mr. Matthews) with regard to that portion of his case in which he dealt with the facts. These deplorable instances themselves speak more eloquently and cry more loudly for a solution of this question, and make it imperative that this question must be determined one way or the other, whether we regard it from the point of view of the Home Secretary, or from that of the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Murdoch). Whether we regard either of the pictures drawn by the speakers, so far as the facts are concerned they establish the case in such a way as to call upon the House to deal with the matter, and so dispose of all doubt in connection with it, so that no misapprehensions shall exist either on the part of those who administer the law, or in the minds of those for whom the law is administered. The Attorney General foisted upon the House, if I may use the expression, this proposition—that we are contending in support of my hon. and learned Friend's (Sir Charles Russell's) Motion for the right of public meeting in a public thoroughfare. But we do nothing of the kind; it has never been suggested. No one on this side ever made any such ridiculous contention. My hon. and learned Friend showed that this is not the case of a claim of the right to meet in a thoroughfare. The Home Secretary has argued that the section of the Act of 1844 makes it impossible for any lawyer to contend that Trafalgar Square is not an ordinary street or thoroughfare. The right hon. Gentleman said— Thinga were put up in Trafalgar Square which showed that Parliament contemplated a condition of affairs inconsistent with the dedication of the Square as an ordinary highway, and that it was intended by Parliament that the public should have the use and enjoyment of the Square possibly in a more complete way than they had the use and enjoymentof the Parks. I agree that it is a thoroughfare, plus something else; but I contend that there were rights secured by the public in right of user. That is really the whole of the right hon. Gentleman's case. He admits the right of thoroughfare, and "possibly some greater right," and it is obvious that we on the Opposition side of the House must, for the sake of the people of this Metropolis, and also for the sake of other people in other parts of the country, ascertain what those rights are. We want to know whether there is a right of user or not? We do not know if there is such a right at present, and the Motion of my hon. and learned Friend will, if accepted, afford us an opportunity of ascertaining how far that right exists. Mr. Justice Charles, at the Central Criminal Court, did not speak of Trafalgar Square as a thoroughfare coupled with any rights obtained by user; but, having considered the observations addressed to him, he said— I can find no warrant for telling you that there is a right of public meeting either in Trafalgar Square or any other thoroughfare, showing that all the Judges in that case considered the possession of this legality utterly apart from the question of user, and considered it merely from the point of view of a public thoroughfare. How different is that from the position of my hon. and learned Friend, who put forward the user recognized by various Home Secretaries, by the Law Officers of the Crown, and even protected by the police? Surely that is a state of things on which my hon. and learned Friend is justified in relying, and I hope that no Party spirit will prevent hon. Gentlemen from giving an opinion on this matter as presented to the House by my hon. and learned Friend—that is, a question for decision and inquiry, and the sooner that inquiry takes place the better will it be not only for those whose duty it is to administer the law, but for those who are to obey the law.

SIR HENRY JAMES (Bury, Lancashire)

I am afraid, Sir, that the House will be somewhat alarmed at the prospect of another lawyer taking part in this debate. I will do my utmost to allay that alarm by dealing as little as possible with that part of the discussion which touches upon the legal aspects of the question. The legal aspects of the question have been placed before us with rare ability by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Hackney (Sir Charles Russell), and by the hon. and learned Gantleman the Attorney General (Sir Richard Webster); but I hope I may be forgiven for saying that there is another point of view which renders thair arguments immaterial. It is that point of view which I shall endeavour to place before the House. The proposition which my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Hackney put forward in his speech, which was a speech of great moderation, of great discretion as well as of ability, was in substance, though not in words, that the public have the right of meeting—of holding public meetings—in Trafalgar Square. He did not pledge himself to that proposition, but I think he conveyed it to the House so as to justify every layman in fighting behind the shield which he presented. While he did not in words put forward exactly that proposition, he was endeavouring to maintain his position by it. My hon. and learned Friend admits that if this is a legal right even as he has put it forward, it is not a positive right in the ordinary sense of the word that can be enforced. My hon. and learned Friend said he did not question, and never has questioned, the right of the Executive to stop any meeting which they can satisfy any proper tribunal is an unlawful meeting. If you so qualify the right by a rule so laid down, I think we shall be pretty nearly agreed that it ia comparatively immaterial whether the strict technical right exists or not. I think that what my hon. and learned Friend meant to put before the House was not that there was a legal right that could be enforced, but that there was a practice grown up that ought not to be arbitrarily dealt with, and that approached to a legal right. The hon. and learned Attorney General has urged to this House a strong argument that there is ownership vested in the Crown, and that the ownership enables the Representative of the Crown, the Executive Government, to treat any persons at their will as trespassers, and to prevent any persons taking part in meetings in the Square. That argument is almost perfectly immaterial in the consideration of this matter. This question of legal ownership may be put forward to-night as an abstract proposition, but it is a right that can only be held in reserve, to be used in circumstances we can scarcely realize, and which have not been put forward in this instance. The police who refused to allow the meetings to take place did not put forward interference with the right of ownership in the Crown, but interference with the right of public safety. That right of protecting public safety my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hackney admits; and to the exercise of that right it is admitted the right or practice—call it which you will—of holding public meetings in the Square is subject. If the action of the Executive Government has been in accordance with the performance of that admitted duty, where is the blame to be attached? The Square is public property. It is to be devoted to public uses and for public purposes; and it is the duty of the Government to see that the public have the use of the Square, and to so regulate it that the rights of the public shall not be interfered with. Even if my hon. and learned Friend could establish the right to hold meetings in the Square, no one knows better than he how the right of every citizen is controlled by the maxim that you must use that which is your own so as not to injure anybody else. A man occupying his own house has a right to indulge in music, or even, if he gives an evening party, to hire a band of music, and let it play all night; but if he follows out that right to the extent of having music for many hours, or at inappropriate hours on many days and nights, so as to interfere with the comfort of his neighbours, a Court of Equity will very soon restrain him in the exercise of his right. So that if the use of the Square be established as a public right, it must not be exorcised by one section of the public to the injury or annoyance or exclusion of the rest. During years that had elapsed no doubt a practice of holding public meetings in Trafalgar Square had sprung up, and I admit that user would practically deprive a Government of the right of arbitrary interference. If the Government had come forward and said—"We will have no meetings at all," they must give good reason for so doing. If they had allowed the holding of one meeting which was favourable to their own political views, and forbade the holding of another meeting which was unfavourable to those views, they would not have been able to withstand for one month the pressure of public opinion. But my hon. and learned Friend cannot show that the action of the Government has been influenced by a desire to prevent one particular class of public meetings. The honesty and the honour of Members of this House, to whatever Party they may belong, would denounce a Government which had acted in such a manner. The phrase "unlawful meeting" is an awkward one to use. The sense in which we must employ the words "unlawful meeting" in considering the Resolution now before the House is that the meeting is one which will create fear in the minds of ordinary persons. The meetings before February, 1886, were not so likely to creato such fear as to make the Government think it necessary to interfere with them. That meeting, I believe, belongs to no Government, and the responsibility for it attaches to no Government. If I am not mistaken, it took place on the very day of the change of Government, and there was no Home Secretary to bear the responsibility of the measures that were adopted. But it was that meeting which initiated the system of lawlessness that created terror in the minds of honest men. My hon. and learned Friend prosecuted two of the speakers at that meeting who used language, as he alleged, which tended to encourage the men by whom shops were looted and property was destroyed. If there were a reasonable fear of a repetition of these things the meetings became unlawful. While such a state of things occasioned alarm to peaceable subjects of Her Majesty in the Metropolis, it was an attraction to another class who looked forward to a continuance of the meetings in the hope that the scenes of February, 1886, might be repeated. In October, 1887, we came to a condition of things which could never be tolerated in any country where civilization existed. On this subject I do not speak from mere hearsay, for I myself witnessed the meetings. My avocation during many days in October last caused me to pass through Trafalgar Square. There were some honest enthusiasts who endeavoured to explain before a limited audience their views on political and social topics, but there was a large and an organized crowd which gathered round these few speakers and these few listeners. It was not the orators and their audiences, it was not the Army, but their camp followers who were the dangerous persons. They conducted themselves in such a way as to render it unsafe for any woman or child to pass across Trafalgar Square. Indeed, it was dangerous for the strongest man to go there. The crowd were looking forward to an opportunity for breaking through the police and performing acts of destruction, of robbery, and of riot. Of course, people have a right to pass and repass through the Square, and if they were prevented from so doing in consequence of meetings being hold there daily, it became the imperative duty of the Government to interfere on behalf of all peaceful subjects, because this property was public property. The interference of the Government became a duty, the neglect of which would have brought upon them deserved censure. It was the bounden duty of the Government to prevent the continuance of a state of things which every time it recurred would produce reasonable fear in the minds of ordinary persons. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Hackney admitted that the meeting of the 13th November was unlawful, and that the Government acted rightly in stopping it. He did so in most distinct terms. What, then, is the point on which he relies in order to censure the Government? He says that the notice was general, and not particular and specific, and he urges that Sir Charles Warren ought not to have declared, as he did, that until further notice a meeting should not be held. But, after all, this is a practical and not a lawyer's question. If you have to deal with, an unlawful meeting of the character I have described, you must stop it in advance. If, on behalf of the community, you are entitled to prevent an unlawful meeting, you must do it by anticipation. If you do not a collision must occur, and you accentuate and do not prevent the evil you fear. The condition of things at that time was that if for one day permission had been given to hold a meeting it would have been attended by all the camp followers, who came there merely for the purpose of disturbance. If that general notice had not been given the whole of the mischief which the Government were striving to prevent would have been produced. Upon Sir Charles Warren rested the responsibility of determining whether things were to continue as they had been going on, and he took the only practical course that could be taken. Let me say a word on the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt), who, though he disparaged a resort to a bare legal argument of this question, suggested that the proper course to have pursued would have been to serve a writ of intrusion. I wonder what those who were served with this writ would have done with it. What satisfaction would it have been to the men whose property was at stake every hour of the day? I cannot help, however, referring to one sentence of the right hon. Gentleman for which many men will heartily thank him. I keep a debtor and creditor account of my right hon. Friend's sayings, and though the balance is at present much to his debit, yet this saying I will put down to his credit without deduction and without discount—that he would not join in any attack on the police. Everyone will recognize the loyal spirit in which that was said. The right hon. Gentleman himself knows the devotion of the police to their duty, and he knows how that duty is performed. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for York (Mr. Lockwood) says that he and his Friends separate themselves entirely from those who create disorder. But they cannot if these disturbances take place. The police themselves cannot separate those who create disorder from those who do not, if these meetings take place. Those who have the conduct of these meetings do nothing, let it be admitted, to encourage riot and disorder and disturbance; but these are the inevitable consequences of such meetings. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Hackney asked what is to be done, and whether the right of public meeting in Trafalgar Square is ever to be restored? I hope we may be able to go back to the old state of things; but it will not be reached until a loyal support is given to those who have to keep the peace, and until every discouragement is given to those who break the law, especially by those who bear high responsibility, who had better cease to bring forward ambiguous Motions which may mean anything, and may mislead many. It was remarkable that my lion, and learned Friend who brought forward this Motion forgot to point out what kind of "inquiry" he wanted. My right hon. Friend the Member for Derby was a little more explicit, and he said that the inquiry was wanted to determine what number of places are open for the purposes of public meeting. I can tell him. They are exactly the same number as were open for public meeting when he was Home Secretary. If the same conditions as exist now had existed when he was Home Secretary, the number would have been exactly the same. If those who now demand that Trafalgar Square shall be open for public meeting could guarantee that order shall be maintained, the same number of places will be open as when the right hon. Gentleman was Home Secretary. He has endeavoured to cast responsibility for what took place in 1881 upon others beside himself. It is certainly an inconvenient practice to refer to advice which he received from the Law Officers of the Crown, advice which has never been made public, which he discloses from memory, and advice which was given on a case which he has not mentioned to the House. I will warrant that if that opinion was signed by Sir Farrer Herschell it was quite right; but, as far as I am entitled to surmise, the question submitted to us may not have referred to the disturbance of the public peace. It may have been a question as to stopping access to the House of Commons. How, then, has that opinion any bearing on the question as to the meeting in Trafalgar Square on the 13th of November, when, admittedly, the public peace was gravely disturbed, and when my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hackney admits an unlawful meeting was held? There is another aspect of the question on which I should like to touch. We are now face to face with a problem as great and as grave as any that ever existed in any country—the problem that has arisen owing to the rapid increase of the population, which is year by year imposing new duties on the Government and new anxieties upon the Executive. That growth of population has caused large numbers to drift into the large towns, and especially into the centre of all—the Metropolis. Year by year the number of unemployed men in the Metropolis is thereby being increased, men to whom every sympathy should be extended, but who make demands which we who have not felt the sharp pangs of hunger can scarcely understand. Of one thing be certain—that the worst place for solving this great problem will be the streets of London, and that there are no means by which it will be so dangerous to attempt to solve it as by means of conflicts with the armed power of the law; and, Sir, I say that those who now by Motion, by action, and by their votes encourage these men—who ought to be guided and not incited—to attempt to meet unrestrained and uncontrolled by law, are bringing on and are hastening events that will create disorders which will end in disasters, and the responsibility for which I, for one, will take no part in bearing.


said, that although he did not claim, like the hon. Member for the Bordealey Division of Birmingham (Mr. Jesse Collings), to know what people thought, he should like, with the leave of the House, to endeavour to justify his conduct and that of the people of London in the events which had occurred during the last four months. He wished to free the people from the aspersions cast upon them of being revolutionary. He looked upon those events as being important rather in their social than in their political aspects. They had had some ingenious and eloquent speeches from the lawyers on both sides of the House. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bury (Sir Henry James)—in a nice piece of special pleading—put the question before them from his point of view; but while he was tearing his passion to tatters, he could not but remember that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had been accustomed to impart passion and pathos into his speeches all the days of his life, according as his brief was marked 50 or 500. The light hon. and learned Gentleman had challenged any man in the House to be the guarantee for public order and peace, were a meeting held in Trafalgar Square. It was a curious thing that Her Majesty's Government were unable to answer for peace and order; but he (Mr. Graham) relied so much upon the law-abiding qualities of the working population of London that he would endeavour, were he allowed to do so by the Government, to hold a meeting in Trafalgar Square, and, as a private man, if riot or damage ensued, he would pay for it with his person, or in any way the Government might think fit. He had some little right to be heard on this question. For what he considered his duty he was beaten and assaulted in the sight of London. He was put to great inconvenience and expense, and he had to serve a month's imprisonment. [Laughter, and cries of "We have him to keep the people in order!"] He could tell right hon. Gentlemen who laughed at the poor that the people of London looked at the question from a vastly different aspect. Was it wonderful that the people of London did not attach the same importance to legal argument that that House was disposed to attach to it? What did the proletariat of London know of the legal aspect of the question? They had seen what they considered, rightly or wrongly, right turned against them. They had seen themselves beaten down on a place where they thought they had the right to assemble for merely expressing that right which their fathers had exercised for 40 years. Would they have been worthy to be called Englishmen had they failed to remonstrate? Was it wonderful that a little bitterness had been imported into their speeches and remonstrances, when they had seen, as he had done, the the women and children beaten down by police? In dealing with the conduct of the police, it would ill befit him to make an attack upon them. He did not intend to do so. A policeman was a man to be pitied. Surely a man who lived execrated amongst his fellows was an object to be pitied. He deplored not the conduct of the police, but of those who sot them on. He would attack not even the Government, but the social system that had forced the best of our young men into the police and the best of our young women into the streets. In the future Government would have to pay their janissaries better, or else they would not be able to recruit them from the people of England when they came to apprehend the duties that the acceptance of the blood money entailed upon them. There was one point, however, which he considered totally indefensible on the part of the Government, and that was why, during the long, useless guard on the 13th November, the police were kept on the Square without food or refreshment? There was a design in that—the design being deliberately to create a feeling of hatred between the police and the people. If that was the design of the Government they had succeeded—[laughter, and cries of "We are glad of it!"]—and, having sown the wind, it was not his fault if perchance they reaped the whirlwind. If the temper of the Government was to laugh at the sufferings of the poor of London, and to suppress all free speech there as they were endeavouring to do in Ireland, he deplored it, and he deplored it as a partizan of law and order, because free speech was their only safety-valve for so large and dense a population as that of London. The inevitable result would be that secret societies would be formed here, as in Russia, and he would be the first to deplore that. Hon. Gentlemen need not flatter themselves that the same spirit of hatred that was growing up betwixt class and class in Russia was not growing up here in England. He appealed to anyone who had followed the social and political movements of the day to say that the proletariat of London was not as well able to judge upon social circumstances as the proletariat of Russia. They were not deceived by phrases. They estimated a cheat upon the Stock Exchange and the Turf with the habitual criminals in our gaols, and they failed to see the difference between the titled where of Belgravia and the poor prostitute of Regent Street, except as regarded sympathy and censure. And when they saw such a bitter spirit of hatred at work—and it was at work—he would put it to them whether it was safe to shut up the only safety-valve that was left to the people—that, namely, of expressing their feelings in public meeting? The Government had endeavoured to confuse the issue by representing the working men's clubs as bodies of revolutionaries and organized plunderers. He indignantly denied it, and would assert that if they had not been interfered with the meeting would have been as orderly and legal as any meeting that was ever held in the Square. He did not wish to say that the trial and sentence passed upon him was not a perfectly fair and legal one from the Judge's point of view; but it required more than a finding of a Judge and jury to lay at rest for ever the question of free meeting in the capital of the British Empire. He had been tried on three counts—assault on the police, causing a riot, and illegal assembly; but the good sense and honesty of a British jury acquitted him instantly on the counts of assault and riot; therefore, he failed to see how any fair-minded man could come forward with the stale argument of a riot having been caused either by his action or that of the working men of London. What sort of riot could it be when 60,000 men were to have assembled, and all the properties which the hon. and learned Attorney General (Sir Richard Webster) could produce in Court were two pokers, a piece of iron in paper, and a piece of wood with nails in it? That was a formidable array of weapons with which to subvert the British Constitution. There was an illegal assembly, however, and that was the assembly of 4,000 police and soldiery in the middle of the Metropolis, for no adequate reason, and in times of high peace. That there was no bloodshed or damage to property was not the result of the Government's action, but of the good conduct, the good temper, and the self-denial of the people under great provocation. But the real question was not touched at his trial, and the Government had not raised it in Mr. Saunders's case, because he presumed they thought they had no chance of succeeding. Why had he not been allowed to raise the question in a legal way? He had hitherto had no opportunity of defending himself in that House; but he would now, in the little time left him, endea- vour to show that there was no other course open to him than that which ha had pursued. He totally denied that his meeting had any connection with those that went before. It seemed to him that the objection to his meeting arose from the fear of the Government that in London there would be a large vote of sympathy passed with one of the most prominent victims of their Irish administration. He challenged anyone to say what Statute or unwritten law he broke on that occasion. He was found guilty of the obsolete offence of illegal assembly. He admitted it was bad taste of the people of London to parade their insolent starvation in the face of the rich and trading portions of the town. They should have starved in their garrets, as he had no doubt many Members of Her Majesty's Government and most of the upper classes would have wished them to do. [Cries of "Order!" and "Divide!"] He was not in the habit of asking for mercy at the hands of any man; but the masses of the City of London looked to the Speaker for justice on this occasion. They looked to him to let him (Mr. Cunninghame Graham), their advocate, lay their case before the House; and he appealed to the Speaker now, and he knew he should not appeal in vain. The son of him who gave the people free bread would not deny their Representative free speech, at least in Parliament. It had been charged against him that he had stirred up a lot of ignorant men to dash their heads against a wall. It had been charged against him that he had spoken sedition, and that he was a revolutionary. If to be revolutionary was to wish to ameliorate the condition of the poor of this City, to wish for a more democratic form of government, to wish that Members of Parliament should be paid for their services, to wish to pass Liberal measures of a similar nature, then he was a revolutionary. It had also been urged that he had stirred up men to break the law. That was an absolute and foundationless calumny. He would not ask for any more indulgence from that House, but would thank them for the courteous way in which they had listened to a man struggling with weakness endeavouring to place before them what he considered a more serious aspect of a Constitutional question; and he would only renew the pledge he had given before in public, but in no spirit of challenge to this House, and no spirit of disrespect to the Speaker, that a time would come—he said it with confidence, certainly being able to fulfil his pledge—when he would hold a meeting of as many men as Trafalgar Square would contain, and when the Government of the country, no matter whether Whig or Tory—so greatly should public opinion have developed by that time—would be but too glad to assist him in keeping law and order on that occasion.


(who was received with loud and prolonged cries of "Divide!" and "Spoken!" from the Radical and Home Rule Members) said, that he wished to speak on the Amendment of the junior Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh), who had made certain charges against the police of assaulting and maltreating persons after they were in custody. But he only mentioned one case in which evidence of assault was adduced in Court—namely, the case of the man Rogers, who, according to the evidence of an Inspector, was struck by a constable, and was brought before Mr. Partridge at Westminster. All the other cases had been privately communicated to the hon. Member, and he (Mr. Matthews) could not help protesting against this mode of attacking members of a responsible force. All the men who were said by the hon. Member to have been maltreated by the police had appeared before magistrates; but in only one case—that of Rogers—was any complaint made.


said, that the case of another man was also mentioned in Court. [Loud cries of "Name!"] He had not the papers containing the name with him then, having taken the bundle downstairs some hours ago, but he would undertake to make good his statement before a Committee of that House.


said, that while these matters were fresh, they had not been brought to the notice of the authorities, and they had only now been produced for a particular purpose. As he said, since these proceedings, he had sat day by day, and no complaint had readied him at the Home Office. Had any charge of maltreatment, supported even by a shadow of primâ facie evidence, been brought before him, he would at once have ordered an inquiry by the Commissioners of Police or instituted a prosecution. He might tell the hon. Member for Northampton that the policeman implicated in the case of Rogers had been called upon to resign, and was no longer a member of the force. He protested against the police having such charges brought against them in the House suddenly and without Notice, when the hon. Member for Northampton had weeks and months in which he might have brought them before a magistrate, or before the High Court of Justice, in the shape of an action, or in the shape of a complaint to the Home Office, where they could have been investigated. And he pledged himself even now, if the hon. Member would bring a primâ facie case of misconduct against the police, the matter would be taken up and thoroughly inquired into by the Director of Public Prosecutions. [Mr. BRADLAUGH said he undertook to furnish evidence.] There was another allegation he would reply to. The hon. Member for North-West Lanarkshire (Mr. Cunninghame Graham) had alleged that there was a design on the part of the Government to produce hatred between the police and the public; and the hon. Member for Dundee (Mr. Firth) had said that the conduct and management of the police had been such as to induce the working men of London to withdraw their help from the preservation of law and order. He (Mr. Matthews) denied those allegations as directly and absolutely as possible. It was not the Government who desired to produce ill-will between the police and the people of the Metropolis. He did not believe that such a feeling existed; but he believed that the really honest working men of the Metropolis had as much confidence in the police as they ever had before. He (Mr. Matthews) warned hon. Gentlemen who professed to be the special and peculiar Representatives of the democracy, that they were entering on a most dangerous path when they made so broadly those accusations against those who were only the servants of the public and the defenders of the law. It was in that manner that liberties perished in a democracy; and no course could be more perilous to the public weal than to try to inflame the minds of the people against the guardians of public order, and to scatter unsupported charges broadcast against them. The Government had been condemned by the right hon. Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt) for forbidding all meetings in Trafalgar Square. He (Mr. Matthews) would wish to rest the defence of their conduct in that respect on the eloquent speech of the right hon. and learned Member for Bury (Sir Henry James). The Government could not pretend to pick and choose between one meeting and another. The interests of public order required that that chronic malady of disorder near Trafalgar Square should be checked. How could they say with confidence that one meeting would be safe and another dangerous? The only possible and prudent course was to forbid all meetings, Those who said their design was to prevent free speech in the Metropolis forgot that meetings at that very time were going on in Hyde Park and other parts of London unchecked and even protected. It never had been the desire of the Government to interfere with free speech, nor in anything they had done had they any intention of departing from the line which all previous Governments had followed—namely, that of non-interference with public meetings in any place where neither obstruction nor disorder was anticipated.


, in reply, said, it now seemed that the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary was content to rest the justification for the stoppage of all meetings in Trafalgar Square, and of all processions in its neighbourhood, on the defence offered for the Government by the right hon. and learned Member for Bury (Sir Henry James). If so, it was uncommonly hard on the Home Secretary himself, and still more so on the Attorney General. What was the line of defence taken by the right hon. and learned Member for Bury? He began by admitting—and he (Sir Charles Russell) thanked him for it—that in the case of Trafalgar Square there had been a long uninterrupted user, for a great many years by the people of the Metropolis, of the Square as a place of public meeting, and that that right had been practically exercised—he (Sir Charles Russell) was now using the word "right" not in the strict legal sense of the term —with the recognition and sanction of the Home Secretary of the day, the police, and the authorities of the time. And the conclusion which his right hon. and learned Friend drew, and drew rightly, from those premises was that a user so recognized and sanctioned and so uninterrupted gave a right which might be a right with an imperfect sanction attached to it, but nevertheless was a right which his right hon. and learned Friend would allow to be one properly describable as in the nature of a Constitutional right. His right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Bury went further, for he admitted that it was such a right as no Government could venture to interfere with by arbitrary action. Those were important admissions, because it gave the go-by to almost all those arguments which they had had urged upon them, from a legal point of view during the debate, of which they had heard so much about, the Square being the private property of the Crown, so that those who went there without the leave of its Representatives were guilty of trespass; it gave the go-by also to the ground of obstruction being alleged as a reason against the holding of meetings in Trafalgar Square. If the Government had come down and said they fairly admitted there had been a right—it might be of imperfect sanction but still a right exercised by the people and recognized by authority—but that they had had to interfere with it in a particular and definite case in the interest of the public, which they themselves thought sufficient in exceptional circumstances, he and those on his side of the House might have taken a different view of the matter, though not perhaps agreeing with the contention of the Government. But up to that moment the attitude of the Government was one of absolute denial of any Constitutional or legal right on the part of the public to the user of the Square, whether of perfect or imperfect sanction, and the assertion of the right of the Executive Government on legal as well as Constitutional grounds, when they pleased and as long as they pleased, and with or without special reason or justification, to put a stop to all meetings in the Square. The hon. and learned Attorney General had blamed him for an omission of reference to an Act which, in the judgment of his hon. and learned Friend had some bearing on the public or private character of the Square. Now, certainly he had not seen the Statute alluded to; but having now seen it, he said that if he had seen it before, he would not have mentioned it, because in his judgment, it had no bearing whatever on the matter. The simple reason was, that that Act contemplated a possibility which did not become a fact—namely, that the Crown would pay the money advanced in connection with Trafalgar Square; but inasmuch as that fact was never given effect to, and inasmuch as the Act of 1844 declared that Trafalgar Square had been acquired, formed, and embellished at the public expense, he was content to rest on that allegation that it was in all senses of the word public, and not private property. He had been blamed for not referring to the conduct of the police. But he had expressly stated in his speech that he made no reference to the police conduct in the matter. He desired, however, to say now, what he had said publicly, that the police had onerous and responsible duties to perform, that they deserved the sympathy and the support of the public in the performance of those duties, but that just in proportion as their duties were responsible and their power over and in connection with the people great, so was it important that their powers should be properly exercised. He repudiated the suggestion that when it was urged on primâ facie grounds that there ought to be an inquiry into the conduct of the police, that that was an attack on the police. It was not so regarded when Lord Palmerston assented to such an inquiry in the case cited by the junior Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh), nor on the occasion when the present Government set at work a Royal Commission to inquire into the Belfast Riots. The ground upon which the present inquiry was suggested was, that imputations had been made in very many quarters and in a great many instances, applying to many parts of the Metropolis and not to Trafalgar Square alone, of acts of violence on the part of the police, for which the allegation was that there was no justification. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Matthews) said that if any such cases were brought to his notice he would take prompt measures and direct a prosecu- tion. But his right hon. Friend forgot that in a great number of these cases there was not, and there could not be, identification of the particular men guilty of the violence. The inquiry wanted was one into the general conduct of a not inconsiderable number of police, in order that the force of public opinion, if they were found to be guilty of this conduct, might reassure the public mind, and teach the police the lesson that while in the discharge of their duties every allowance was to be made for them and every sympathy extended to them; if there had been an excess in the exercise of their power and unnecessary violence in the discharge of their duty, it was the obligation of the House of Commons and of those responsible for the peace of the country to see that that violence should be checked and punished.

MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

Mr. Speaker—


rose in his place, and claimed to move "That the Question be now put."

Question, "That the Question be now put," put accordingly, and agreed to.

Question put, "That those words be there added."

The House divided:—Ayes 207; Noes 322: Majority 115.—(Div. List, No. 26.)


claimed to move "That the Main Question be now put."

Main Question put accordingly,

The House divided:—Ayes 224; Noes 316: Majority 92.

Abraham, W. (Glam.) Broadhurst, H.
Abraham, W. (Limerick, W.) Brown, A. L.
Bruce, hon. R. P.
Acland, A. H. D. Brunner, J. T.
Acland, C. T. D. Bryce, J.
Allison, H. A. Buchanan, T. R.
Anderson, C. H. Burt, T.
Asquith, H. H. Buxton, S. C.
Atherley-Jones, L. Byrne, G. M.
Austin, J. Caine, W. S.
Balfour, rt. hon. J. B. Cameron, C.
Ballantine, W. H. W. Cameron, J. M.
Barbour, W. B. Campbell, Sir G.
Barran, J. Campbell, H.
Barry, J. Campbell-Bannerman, right hon. H
Biggar, J. G.
Blane, A. Carew, J. L.
Bolton, J. C. Causton, R. K.
Bolton, T. D. Cavan, Earl of
Bradlaugh, C. Chamberlain, R.
Bright, W. L. Channing, F. A.
Childers, right hon. H. C. E. Lalor, R.
Lawson, Sir W.
Clancy, J. J. Lawson, H. L. W.
Clark, Dr. G. B. Leahy, J.
Cobb, H. P. Leake, R.
Coleridge, hon. B. Lefevre, right hon. J. G. S.
Colman, J. J.
Commins, A. Lewis, T. P.
Condon, T. J. Lockwood, F.
Conway, M. Lyell, L.
Corbet, W. J. Macdonald, W. A.
Cossham, H. MacInnes, M.
Cox, J. R. M'Arthur, A.
Cozens-Hardy, H. H. M 'Arthur, W. A.
Craven, J. M'Cartan, M.
Crawford, D. M'Carthy, J.
Cremer, W. R. M'Carthy, J. H.
Crilly, D. M'Donald, P.
Crossley, E. M'Donald, Dr. R.
Deasy, J. M'Ewan, W.
Dillon, J. M'Lagan, P.
Dillwyn, L. L. M'Laren, W. S. B.
Dodds, J. Mahony, P.
Ellis, J. Maitland, W. F.
Ellis, J. E. Mappin, Sir F. T.
Ellis, T. E. Mayne, T.
Esslemont, P. Menzies, R. S.
Evershed, S. Montagu, S.
Farquharson, Dr. R. Morgan, right hon. G.O.
Fenwick, C.
Ferguson.R. C. Munro- Morgan, O. V.
Finucane, J. Morley, rt. hon, J.
Firth, J. F. B. Mundella, right hon. A. J.
Foley, P. J.
Forater, Sir C. Murphy, W. M.
Foster, Sir W. B. Neville, R.
Fox, Dr. J. F. Newnes, G.
Fry, T. Nolan, Colonel J. P.
Fuller, G. P. Nolan, J.
Gane, J. L. O'Brien, J. F. X.
Gardner, H. O'Brien, P.
Gaskell, C. G. Milnes- O'Brien, P. J.
Gill, T. P. O'Brien, W.
Gladstone, right hon. W. E. O'Connor, A.
O'Connor, J.
Gladstone. H. J. O'Connor, T. P.
Gourley, E. T. O'Hanlon, T.
Graham, R. C. O'Kelly, J.
Gray, E. D. Palmer, Sir C. M.
Grey, Sir E, Parker, C. S.
Gully, W. C. Parnell, C. S.
Haldane,R. B. Paulton, J. M.
Hanbury-Tracy, hon. F. S. A. Pease, A. E.
Pease, H. F.
Harrington, E. Pickard, B.
Harrington, T. C. Pickersgill, E. H.
Harris, M. Picton, J. A.
Hayden, L. P. Pinkerton, J.
Hayne, C. Seale- Playfair, rt. hon. Sir L.
Hingley, B.
Hooper, J. Plowden, Sir W. C.
Howell, G. Portman, hon. E. B.
Hoyle, I. Power, P. J.
Hunter, W. A. Price, T. P.
Illingworth, A. Priestley, B.
Jacoby, J. A. Quinn, T.
Joicey, J. Rathbone, W.
Jordan, J. Redmond, W. H. K.
Kay-Shuttleworth, rt. hon. Sir U. J. Reed. Sir E. J.
Reid, R. T.
Kenny, C. S. Rendel, S.
Kenny, J. E. Richard, H.
Kilbride, D. Roberts, J.
Robertson, E. Tanner, C. K.
Roe, T. Thomas, A,
Roscoe, Sir H. E. Trevelyan, right hon. Sir G. O.
Rowlands, J.
Rowlands, W. B. Tuite, J.
Rowntree, J. Vivian, Sir H. H.
Russell, Sir C. Wallace, R.
Samuelson, Sir B. Wardle, H.
Samuelson, G. B. Warmington, C. M.
Schwann, C. E. Watt, H.
Sheehan, J. D. Wayman, T.
Simon, Sir J. Whitbread, S.
Slagg, J. Will, J. S.
Smith, S. Williams, A. J.
Spencer, hon. C. R. Williamson, S.
Stack, J. Wilson, C. H.
Stanhope, hon. P. J. Wilson, H. J.
Stansfeld, right hon. J. Winterbotham, A. B.
Stevenson, F. S. Woodall, W.
Stevenson,. T. C. Woodhead, J.
Stewart, H. Wright, C.
Stuart, J.
Sullivan, D. TELLERS.
Summers, W. Flower, C.
Sutherland, A. Morley, A.
Swinburne, Sir J.
Addison, J. E. W. Bridgeman, Col. hon. F. C.
Agg-Gardner, J. T.
Ainslie, W. G. Bristowe, T. L.
Aird, J. Brodrick, hon. W. St. J.F.
Allsopp, hon. P.
Ambrose, W. Brookfield, A. M.
Amherst, W. A. T. Brooks, Sir W. C.
Anstruther, H. T. Bruce, Lord H.
Ashmead-Bartlett, E. Burdett-Coutts, W. L. Ash.-B.
Baden-Powell, Sir G. S.
Burghley, Lord
Bailey, Sir J. R. Caldwell, J.
Baird, J. G. A. Campbell, J. A.
Balfour, rt. hon. A. J. Cavendish, Lord E.
Banes, Major G. E. Chaplin, right hon. H.
Baring, T. C. Charrington, S.
Baring, Viscount Churchill, rt. hn. Lord R. H. S.
Barnes, A.
Barry, A. H. Smith- Clarke, Sir E. G.
Bartley, G. C. T. Cochrane-Baillie, hon. C. W. A. N.
Barttelot, Sir W. B.
Bass, H. Coddington. W.
Bates, Sir E. Coghill, D. H.
Baumann, A. A. Collings, J.
Beach, right hon. Sir M. E. Hicks- Colomb, Capt. J. C. R.
Commerell, Adml. Sir J.E.
Beach, W. W. B.
Beadel, W. J. Compton, F.
Beckett, W. Corbett, A. C.
Bentinck, rt. hn. G. C. Corbett, J.
Bentinck, Lord H. C. Corry, Sir J. P.
Bentinck, W. G. C. Cotton, Capt. E. T. D.
Beresford, Lord C. W. De la Poer Cross, H. S.
Crossman, Gen. Sir W.
Bethell, Commander G. R. Cubitt, right hon. G.
Currie, Sir D.
Bickford-Smith, W. Curzon, Viscount
Biddulph, M. Curzon, hon. G. N.
Bigwood, J. Dalrymple, Sir C.
Birkbeck, Sir E. Darling, C. J.
Blundell, Col. H. B. H. Davenport, H. T.
Bond, G. H. Davenport, W. B.
Bonsor, H. C. O. Dawnay, Colonel hon. L. P.
Boord, T. W.
Borthwick, Sir A, De Cobain, E. S. W.
De Lisle, E. J. L. M. P. Hamilton, right hon. Lord G. F.
De Worms, Baron H. Hamilton, Lord E.
Dickson, Major A. G. Hamilton, Col. C. E.
Dimsdale, Baron R. Hamley, Gen. Sir E. B.
Dixon, G.
Dixon-Hartland, F. D. Hankey, F. A.
Donkin, R. S. Hardcastle, F.
Dorington, Sir J. E. Hartington, Marq. of
Dugdale, J. S. Hastings, G. W.
Duncan, Colonel F. Havelock-Allan, Sir H. M.
Duncombe, A.
Dyke, right hon. Sir W. H. Heath, A. R.
Heathcote, Capt. J. H. Edwards-
Edwards-Moss, T. C.
Egerton, hon. A. de T. Heaton, J. H.
Elcho, Lord Herbert, hon. S.
Elliot, hon. A. R. D. Hermon-Hodge, R. T.
Elliot, hon. H. F. H. Hervey, Lord F.
Elliot, Sir G. Hill, right hon. Lord A. W.
Elliot, G. W.
Ellis, Sir J. W. Hill, Colonel E. S.
Elton, C. I. Hill, A. S.
Ewing, Sir A. O. Hoare, E. B.
Eyre, Colonel H. Hoare, S.
Farquharson, H. R. Hobhouse, H.
Feilden, Lieut.-Gen. R. J. Houldsworth, Sir W. H.
Howard, J.
Fellowes, A. E. Howorth, H. H.
Fergusson, right hon. Sir J. Hozier, J. H. C.
Hubbard, E.
Field, Admiral E. Hughes, Colonel E.
Fielden, T. Hughes-Hallett, Col. F. C.
Finch, G. H.
Finlay, R. B. Hulse, E. H.
Fisher, W. H. Hunt, F. S.
Fitzgerald, R. U. P. Hunter, Sir W. G.
Fitzwilliam, hon. W. H. W. Isaacs, L. H.
Isaacson, F. W.
Fitzwilliam, hon. W. J. W. Jackson, W. L.
James, rt. hon. Sir H.
Fitz-Wygram, General Sir F. W. Jarvis, A. W.
Jeffreys, A. F.
Fletcher, Sir H. Jennings, L. J.
Folkestone, right hon. Viscount Johnston, W.
Kelly, J. R.
Forwood, A. B. Kennaway, Sir J. H.
Fowler, Sir R. N. Kenrick, W.
Fraser, General C. C. Kenyon, hon. G. T.
Fry, L. Kerans, F. H.
Fulton, J. F. Kimber, H.
Gardner, R. Richardson- King, H. S.
King-Harman, right hon. Colonel E. R.
Gathorne-Hardy, hon. A. E.
Knatchbull-Hugessen, H. T.
Gedge, S.
Gent-Davis, R. Knightley, Sir R.
Giles, A. Knowles, L,
Gilliat, J. S. Lafone, A.
Goldsworthy, Major General W. T. Lambert, C.
Laurie, Colonel R. P.
Gorst, Sir J. E. Lawrence, Sir J. J. T
Goschen, right hon. G. J. Lawrance, J. C.
Lawrence, W. F.
Gray, C. W. Lea, T.
Green, Sir E. Lees, E.
Grenall, Sir G. Legh, T, W.
Grimston, Viscount Leighton, S.
Grotrian, F. B. Lewisham, right hon. Viscount
Gunter, Colonel R.
Hall, C. Llewellyn; E. H.
Halsey, T. F. Long, W. H.
Hambro, Col. C. J. T. Low, M.
Lowther, hon. W. Rothschild, Baron F. J. de
Lymington, Viscount
Macdonald, right hon. J. H. A. Round, J.
Royden, T. B.
Mackintosh, C. F. Russell, Sir G.
Maclean, F. W. Russell, T. W.
Maclean, J. M. Salt, T.
Maclure, J. W. Sandys, Lieut-Col. T. M.
M'Calmont, Captain J.
Madden, D. H. Saunderson, Colonel E. J.
Makins, Colonel W. T.
Malcolm, Col. J. W. Sellar, A. C.
Mallock, R. Selwin-Ibbetson, right hon. Sir H. J.
Maple, J. B.
March, Earl of Selwyn, Capt. C. W.
Marriott, right hon. W. T. Seton-Karr, H.
Shaw-Stewart, M. H.
Maskelyne, M. H. N. Story- Sidebotham, J. W.
Sidebottom, T. H.
Matthews, right hon. H. Sidebottom, W.
Sinclair, W. P.
Mattinson, M. W. Smith, rt. hon. W. H.
Maxwell, Sir H. E. Smith, A.
Mayne, Admiral R. C. Spencer, J. E.
Mills, hon. C. W. Stanhope, rt. hon. E.
More, R. J. Stanley, E. J.
Morrison, W. Stephens, H. C.
Moss, R. Stewart, M. J.
Mount, W. G. Sutherland, T.
Mowbray, rt. hon. Sir J. R. Talbot, J. G.
Taylor, F.
Mowbray, R. G. C. Temple, Sir R.
Mulholland, H. L. Thorburn, W.
Muncaster, Lord Tollemache, H. J.
Muntz, P. A. Tomlinson, W. E. M.
Murdoch, C. T. Trotter, H. J.
Newark, Viscount Vernon, hon. G. R.
Noble, W. Vincent, C. E. H.
Norris, E. S. Walsh, hon. A. H. J.
Northcote, hon. Sir H. S. Waring, Colonel T.
Watson, J.
Norton, R. Webster, Sir R. E.
O'Neill, hon. R. T. Webster, R. G.
Paget, Sir R. H. West, Colonel W. C.
Parker, hon. F. Weymouth, Viscount
Pearce, Sir W. Wharton, J. L.
Pelly, Sir L. White, J. B.
Penton, Captain F. T. Whitley, E.
Plunket, right hon. D. R. Whitmore, C. A.
Wiggin, H.
Powell, F. S. Wilson, Sir S.
Price, Captain G. E. Winn, hon. R.
Puleston, Sir J. H. Wodehouse, E. R.
Quilter, W. C. Wolmer, Viscount
Raikes, rt. hon. H. C. Wood, N.
Rankin, J. Wortley, C. B. Stuart-
Rasch, Major F. C. Wright, H. S.
Reed, H. B. Wroughton, P
Ridley, Sir M. W. Yerburgh, R. A.
Ritchie, right hon. C. T. Young, C. E. B.
Robertson, J. P. B. TELLERS.
Robinson, B. Douglas, A. Akers-
Rollit, Sir A. K. Walrond, Col. W. H.
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