HC Deb 14 February 1890 vol 341 cc315-401


Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [12th February.]—[See page 128.]

Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.


In moving the Amendment to the Address, Sir, of which I have given notice, I wish in the first place to make some comparison between the general character and nature of the coercion of the right hon. Gentleman the present Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and the nature of the coercion which was used by the late Government during the Viceroyalty of Lord Spencer. I also wish to compare the offences with which the late Government had to deal and the offences with which the right hon. Gentleman has to deal; and I do this not for the purpose of going back unnecessarily into bygone times, but in order to show in its true light the nature of the action of the right hon. Gentleman, the pettiness of the prosecution which the agents of his Government daily inflict upon many persons, and the utter gratuitousness of very much of the coercive action which has distinguished the administration of the present Chief Secretary. Now, Sir, it is true that the Coercion Act which was administered by Lord Spencer contained provisions directly interfering with freedom of combination, freedom of speech, and so forth, and contained many such provisions. But there are material differences between the present Crimes Act and the Crimes Act of 1882 even in this particular; because charges involving the intrepretation of the law of conspiracy were carefully kept outside the summary jurisdiction clauses of the Act of 1882. Under the Act of 1887 we find that the interpretation of the law of conspiracy has been placed solely at the disposition of the removable magistrates in Ireland, and daily and weekly we have cases in which most delicate questions of conspiracy are interpreted by men who, from their very utterances, show themselves to be absolutely incapable of such a task. That appears to me to be one of the most important differences between the Summary Jurisdiction Clauses of the Act of 1882 and those of the present Act. But there was a wide difference—and a very much larger and greater difference—in the method of administration. I do not say that Lord Spencer's Government was entirely free from all attempts to use those provisions against freedom of speech, against the right of combination, and against the freedom of the Press; but those attempts were few in number, and they were not persisted in. The times, too, were very different. Lord Spencer had then to contend with a great and dangerous secret conspiracy, which was supposed to have burrowed even under the very foundations of the Castle. He had to contend with the calendar of crime which had accumulated during the winters of 1881 and 1882 to most appalling proportions. But the present administration of the right hon. Gentleman admittedly had no such crime to contend with. If ever infringements of freedom of speech, of the liberty of the Press, and of the right of combination were justifiable, they were justifiable in the time of panic, of dismay, and of uncertainty which the executive of Ireland had to go through during that period. But the administration of the right hon. Gentleman has not been attended by any such alarming symptoms. On the contrary, he found Ireland comparatively free from crime. But, with a fatuity which is extraordinary, and which would be incredible if it were not true, almost every Act of his administration seems to have been directed to drive the Irish people into that crime and disobedience to the law from which they have happily been to a great extent free during the last few years. Now, Sir, we found fault strenuously with the administration of Lord Spencer; and I believe that we were justified in very much of our criticism. But as I have said, the main distinction between these two administrations is that in the former the action of the law was directed against actual crime and secret conspiracy, whereas in the latter the action of the law has been directed against the right of combination, the freedom of the Press, and the freedom of speech. And the excuse for this is boycotting and intimidation. I do not contend—and I have never contended since the commencement of the year 1881—that there has not been much unjustifiable and criminal boycotting in Ireland. And I do not now say that, if the right hon. Gentleman were afraid of a revival of the kind of boycotting which existed in the years 1880, 1881, and 1882, he would not be justified in many of the measures by which he has tried to enforce the summary jurisdiction clauses of the Crimes Act. But the right hon. Gentleman cannot plead any such excuse as that. He cannot plead that the boycotting of to-day is of the same criminal character and is attended, or has been attended, with the consequence of crime which attended certainly some, and perhaps much, of the boycotting of earlier periods. Now let me go further; and I will say that there has been a wide distinction between the kind and character of the boycotting in these last years and the kind and character of the boycotting of earlier years. I think—in fact I know that we are entitled to claim this as regards the action of the two Irish organisations—first the Land League and next the National League. While there was undoubtedly—and I said this almost in the same words at the commencement of the year 1881, so that no one can say that I am cutting my coat to suit recent events —while there was undoubtedly much in the action of the Land League of 1880 to condemn, much regret to be expressed, many things left undone that ought to have been done, yet the history of our movement from that day to this has shown that the action of our organisation has been constantly modified and moderated in recognition of the efforts of the Legislature to pass ameliorative measures for Ireland. The National League of to-day is as widely different from the Land League of 1880 as any figure of speech, expressive of utter dissimilarity, could possibly convey. It should have been the duty of a statesman, of anyone with the instinct of a statesman, to note this change, and to have seen that in his administration he did not permit a movement which had so changed in its character to be treated in the same drastic way which might have been justifiable in its earlier stage. The right hon. Gentleman has not followed that course. On the contrary, the coercion of latter years, instead of being modified in its character, has increased, and become more bitter and more exasperating. The coercive legislation of Mr. Forster did not possess the cruel, malignant, and persecuting character of that of the right hon. Gentleman; and he has consequently lost the chance which might once have been his, and he is unable to-day to boast that his administration in Ireland has been less cruel and less coercive than that of any preceding Chief Secretary. He has lost the opportunity which, if he had been a statesman, he would have been glad to seize. The comparatively good times which have come to Ireland, the increase of prices owing to the improvement in the English trade, which has raised prices higher than at any period since 1878, gave the right hon. Gentleman this opportunity—gave him the opportunity for which the late Mr. Forster would have given his eyes—of relaxing the stringency of his administration in Ireland; for it is a notorious fact that whenever the Irish peasant, by the advent of a good season, is just able to pay his rent and to keep his head above water, he becomes peaceable undoubtedly and does pay his rent as long as he can, until another period of depression comes and brings about the situation in which he is utterly unable to meet the demands of his landlord. One of the curses and one of the most terrible mistakes of the action of Parliament has been that they do not, take advantage of these good seasons to bring forward, measures of amelioration while there is yet time, so as to provide for the bad times which must come again, some day or other, and which, when they do come, will again plunge the country into the same confusion and trouble followed by fresh coercive legislation. If you were wise now you would take advantage of the good times in Ireland permanently to reduce rents to such a level that tenants would be able to lay by some provision for bad years, which in the regular cycle come about. Of course, you will not do that. You will probably use these good seasons for the purpose of getting off to the British taxpayer the estates of the Irish landlords at an inflated and excessive valuation. I think I have shown practically that the coercion of the right hon. Gentleman, while he has not had to cope with secret conspiracy, has been directed against combination, against freedom of speech, and against the liberty of the Press. Let us take the case of the Press prosecutions in Ireland. They have been very numerous, far more numerous than the Press prosecutions during the years from 1879 to 1885 of the late Government. The Press prosecutions during the last two years, since the passing of the Coercion Act, have been far more numerous than all the Press prosecutions put together during the greater number of years I have just quoted. They have been, in every case except one, not for editorial comments, not for incitement to boycott, or to commit personal injury, or incitements which could in any sense be construed as incitements to outrage, but for such offences as reporting meetings of suppressed branches of the League—clearly a new offence, and an offence which would not be an offence if committed in England; reports of resolutions of branches of the League, suppressed or not suppressed; the reports of correspondents from other parts of the country with regard to events which had happened, or were happening, in the district; reports of opinions expressed by other persons, by correspondents in writing letters to the newspapers; but nothing connected with the direct action of the editor himself. These Press prosecutions have taken place in several counties, and it is remarkable that the counties which have been distinguished by the greater number of these prosecutions have been counties equally distinguished during the whole period since 1879 for the absence of crime and intimidation as compared with the rest of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman has selected the most peaceable counties—not only the most peaceable now, but the counties in Ireland which have been always most peaceable, always most clear of outrage and intimidation—for the purpose of enforcing this most objectionable and obnoxious action against the freedom of the Press. There have been altogether, according to my information, within the last two years 18 Press prosecutions by the right hon. Gentleman. Four of these took place in counties which I cannot claim as having been amongst the most peaceable counties, although they were not counties distinguished for crimes and intimidation. These four prosecutions took place in the counties of Cork, Kerry, and Sligo. The remaining prosecutions took place in these counties— Wexford, 2; Queen's County, 2; Carlow, 1; Tipperary, 4; Waterford, 4; and Kildare, 1. If it had been a question of drawing up a list of counties which might fairly have been left outside any Coercion Act, it would have been permissible to include in the list the name of every one of these counties which I have just read out. I was hoping that I might have in my hand a list for the last 16 years of the crime in those counties, as compared with the crime and intimidation throughout Ireland generally. But I am only able to go back for a short period in the way of preparing an absolutely perfect and correct statement. However, I have been able to obtain for the year 1881 a total for all Ireland. I find that the total, exclusive of threatening letters, was 2,218. In the county of Wexford, one of the counties I have enumerated, the number of agrarian offences, exclusive of threatening letters, was 17; in Kildare, 9; in Waterford, 55; in Carlow, 11; in Tipperary, one of the largest counties in Ireland, 150; in Sligo, 63; in Queen's County, 68; and in Limerick, 163. For the nine counties then we have a total of 536 agrarian offences, including the largest county in Ireland, which counts as four; and for all Ireland a total of 2,248 agrarian offences. Now, I have gone back to 1881 in order to take an extreme case and one that was least in, favour of my argument; but even then you will see from the figures I have read that these are amongst the most peaceable of the Irish counties. If you except the county of Tipperary, you will find that the average of these counties, where Press prosecutions have been so numerous in the present year, is remarkably low as compared with the rest of Ireland. Take the Case of Wexford, where we have two Press prosecutions; in the year 1889, exclusive of threatening letters, there were only six agrarian crimes. In Kildare, where we have one Press prosecution, there were only two cases of agrarian crime. In Waterford, where there were four prosecutions, there were only four agrarian offences; in Carlow, where there was one prosecution, there was only one agrarian offence; in Sligo, where there was one prosecution, there were ten agrarian offences. Now, Sir, my argument is that the condition of the districts should be taken into account, on the one hand by speakers, and on the otter hand by Her Majesty's Government—that a public speaker addressing an audience in a disturbed district which has been remarkable for the prevalence of agrarian crime ought to be far more careful of what he says and of what he does than when he addresses an audience in a district where there has been little or no agrarian crime; and that speeches and appeals which would be permissible in the one case would not be permissible or judicious in the other case. But if public speakers are required to observe these points—and they may justly be required to do so —ought not the Government on their part to admit a corresponding obligation? Ought they not to recognise that the absence of crime in certain districts and counties—not merely the absence this year, but the notorious and remarkable absence during many years—ought they not to admit that such good conduct should cause them carefully to consider before they strike any blow against those great rights and privileges to which you in this country owe the foundation of your liberties? This is what I claim for the Irish people. I claim for them nothing more than you claim for yourselves in this country. If a district is unhappily given over to crime —and outrage, if you like—prohibit, public speaking there. I do not say you would be justified in doing so, but I admit that there would be some excuse for you. But in the other counties of Ireland, which have been so remarkably tree from disturbance and outrage, even in the worst years of the Land League, I submit that some recognition of the fact is due from the executive authority that the same measures should not be meted out to such localities as are meted out to the blood-stained districts of Kerry and Galway. Now, the Press has been attacked for trivial offences. As I have shown, it has been attacked in districts where there was no excuse, where it could not be claimed by the greatest stretch of imagination that cither crime or intimidation was likely to result. Mr. T. D. Sullivan, the venerable and respected editor of the Irish Nation was in the earlier stages of this movement accused of an offence, was brought before a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, and the magistrates were asked to inflict imprisonment upon him as a common felon. His offence was that he had published Reports of so-called suppressed branches of the National League. I believe one of his offences was publishing Reports of meetings that had not been proved to have been held at all. The Chief Secretary of Ireland, while stating in this House that the majority of the Reports of the meetings of suppressed branches were bogus Reports, was pursuing Irish editors for publishing these bogus Reports, and was insisting by his agents, the Crown prosecutors in the Irish Law Courts, that the mere fact of the meeting being published in the newspaper was evidence that it had taken place. And here I have to make a comment on a letter from the Chief Secretary for Ireland, which contains statements of a most misleading character, to put the matter in the mildest terms, with regard to his action in reference to these Press prosecutions. The right hon. Gentleman, through his private secretary, in a letter of January 24 mentioned the case of Mr. M'Inerney, which was the only one where intimidation is said to have been used against anybody, as illustrating the action of the Government. Now, Sir, a more unfounded statement was never made by an Irish Minister. I think the right hon. gentleman will not deny that, with the exception of one other ease, there was no similar case to that of Mr. M'Inerney in the whole list of these so-called Press offences. In every other case the persons accused were charged with having published reports of suppressed branches, items of news, and, in one or two cases, letters from corres- pondents giving accounts of occurrences in another part of the county. And, so far from its being possible to hold the editors of these publications personally responsible for any design of intimidation or illegality, the nature of the evidence given at the trial in each case showed that the charge of intimidation was only sustained by the exercise of the most constructive ingenuity on the part of the Crown prosecuting officials, and the utmost pliability on the part of the movable tools of the prosecution who pass sentences. Now, the nature of these Press offences, which I repeat were of a most frivolous character, is evident to the House; but in addition it was not proved, or sought to be proved, that in any one case crime, outrage, or intimidation was prevalent in the district, or that crime or outrage had resulted, or was likely to result, from the publication. But the same spirit marks the conduct of the right hon. Gentleman and his policy all through his administration. His administration of the Coercion Act and with regard to other cases has been an administration of petty persecution, of frivolous charges, of action taken in many cases against children, in some cases against old women, in other cases against little newsboys. The great campaign of the right hon. Gentleman against the Press commenced in 1887 by an attack against the street newsboys, and winds up in 1889 with a fusillade all along the line against the unfortunate editors, marking an advance and progress in administration to which I would commend the attention of the House. Then there are those other prosecutions. What were they for? They were either for exclusive dealing or for petty constructive acts of intimidation, or such offences as hooting against the police, groaning against Balfour, or lighting bonfires in the streets to celebrate the release of political prisoners. The fact of the matter is that the right hon. Gentleman is spoiling for a fight. He has no opportunity of exhibiting his greatness and his valour. He is circumscribed, he is cabined, cribbed, and confined by the peaceable disposition of the Irish, and by the entire absence of any provocation for the use of that abominable and nefarious Crimes Act, and he is obliged to invent offences; to go about like the traditional Irishman in Donnybrook, and exclaim, "Will nobody tread upon the tail of my coat?" And when some poor little urchin takes him at his word and smiles at him from behind the street corner, he rushes at him and knocks his brains out with a bludgeon or transfixes him with a bayonet. The offences where intimidation has been charged have been offences of exclusive dealing. We—my Colleagues and I—take our stand upon this. I have already spoken of the boycotting of 1880 and the earlier years of the movement. I admit that much of it, probably a great portion of it, was unjustifiable. We heard the speeches which were delivered in those days by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, the late Mr. Forster the late Mr. Bright, and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby on those Benches, and we strongly contested the action of the Government in those days, and we contested much of the material and drift of their speeches. But, at the same time, I felt, and I believe that many of my Colleagues felt with me, that their criticism of some of our action—sins, as I have said, of omission rather than of commission—was justifiable, and I hope that I profited by the lesson which was conveyed. I believe that the Irish movement from that day to this has profited by these criticisms, and we also felt that there was much that was justifiable in their criticism on the kind of boycotting which was going on in those days. But I recollect well that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, when he was defending the introduction of that most unfortunate Act of Mr. Forster's, authorising the suspension of the habeas corpus in Ireland, said that it was not intended that this Act should be used against exclusive dealing. That is in my memory as one of the paragraphs of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. That appeared to me to draw a distinction—a justifiable and proper distinction—between boycotting or exclusive dealing not accompanied with intimidation, and boycotting accompanied with intimidation, and I have endeavoured to keep that in my mind ever since. I think that those who are responsible for the present agrarian movement in Ireland are entitled to claim that on the one hand they have kept the movement free from crime, and on the other hand they have purged the practice of boycotting from vices which were attendant on the old system, and that, so far as boycotting has been carried out in Ireland, it has been the harmless and permissible practice of exclusive dealing—of saying, "I refuse to deal with you; I refuse to sell you goods." Most commonly that is spoken to the police, who are perfectly well able to take care of themselves and who cannot possibly suffer in fame, fortune, or reputation, or to the emergency men, who are always able to supply themselves with the articles they demand, but make a practice of going about to ask for things they do not want for the mere purpose of getting up prosecutions against unfortunate tradesmen. I do not, and I cannot, recognise anything criminal—it may be illegal under your Coercion Act—in such a practice. I do not believe that such a practice would be held to be illegal in England. I do not believe, if for political purposes a shopkeeper declined to sell goods on the ground of polities, that that person could be prosecuted for intimidation and sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour. Such prosecutions as these are of common occurrence in Ireland—they are weekly, at times every day—and in the majority of cases in districts which, as I have said, are free from crime and have always been so. But the police go into shops and ask to be supplied with drink—probably they have had quite enough drink already—the shopkeeper refuses to supply them; he is at once arrested, and marched off to the police barracks and charged with intimidation, bail being refused. He is kept all night in barracks, and brought up in a fortnight or so before two removable magistrates, and frequently sentenced to six months' imprisonment on a plank bed. The same thing occurs with regard to the alleged boycotting at fairs. The offences are not sustained by any evidence. The fact that any accused person has stood near the cattle of a boycotted person and is alleged by the police to have nodded or winked, or "smiled a humbugging kind of a smile," is considered quite sufficient to subject him to a long term of imprisonment as a common felon. The records of your Summary Jurisdiction Courts teem with such cases, and I will take one or two examples. At Dungarvan an unfortunate Mr. Feeley was bound over to give bail to keep the peace, or in default to be imprisoned for a month, because he had stood near the cattle of a man named Walsh, who had taken his farm, and "nodded and looked determinedly" at two buyers. The boycotted person was proved to have been repeatedly fined for drunkenness and assault. Let me take another case of boycotting cattle and pigs in a fair. At a Coercion Court at Carrick-on-Suir a charge was made against the president and a member of the Rathcormack branch of the Land League for conspiring to induce persons un-known not to deal with one Edward Davis, who had exposed for sale a lamb and two pigs at the fair in July last. The lambs and pigs were, in fact, sold by Davis. All that was proved or alleged against the defendants was that they "looked, peeped, and finally smiled" at Davis, in cross-examination the constable defined the smile as a hostile smile; he also said it was a "humbugging" smile, such as was apparent in the face of the solicitor for the defendants at the moment of asking the question. The case was adjourned several times, and finally in December, three months after the prosecution was initiated, the Crown agent announced that the prosecution would not be persisted in "in consequence of a technical difficulty which had arisen." Those are two examples of the system adopted with regard to alleged boycotting of the sale of cattle and pigs at fairs. I maintain, even if these things were real and if they were done ever so often, that it is perfectly permissible according to any law to point out to buyers that they are doing an injury to the public interests and the future prospects of Ireland by encouraging the taking of evicted farms and by encouraging the stealing of the tenant right which was conferred by the Act of 1881, for the first time, upon Irish tenants, that such conduct is detrimental to public interests, and that they, as patriotic Irishmen, ought not to persist in it. The fact that charges of intimidation are fabricated upon evidence of such things, which, as I have suggested, might happen with propriety, upon the mere evidence of nods and smiles and winks, shows the demoralisation to which the right hon. Gentleman has reduced the administration of the law in Ireland. I say further, that no English Government would have attempted for a single moment to interfere with the dockers in their recent strike in the manner in which Irish farmers, evicted Irish tenants, and officials of the National League have been weekly interfered with by the agents of the Government in Ireland. The English dockers were allowed to exhort and advise the blacklegs, in the hearing and under the very eyes of the police, that they were doing an unpatriotic thing and injuring the cause of their fellow-workmen in going in to take their places in the docks; and no English newspaper, from the Times downwards, dared to complain of such conduct. Why is the Irish tenant farmer to be prohibited from doing these things which are perfectly permissible and are done every day in trade disputes in England? We will look now at another class of prosecutions, not for exclusive dealing, but for petty offences which were of no account whatever, and to support which no evidence was brought forward. A number of cases were set down at Yonghal Petty Sessions in connection with the celebration of the release of William O'Brien from Galway Gaol on December 20 last. The town was brilliantly illuminated on that occasion and tar-barrels blazed in every street. It was in connection with the tar-barrels that the prosecutions were instituted. The charge in every case was that the defendant "did make or assist in making a fire commonly called a bonfire." The District Inspector asked the Bench to deal very severely with the cases before them. The first case was against a widow named Mary Smith, who was seen by the police to throw oil into a tar-barrel. She did not deny it, and the Bench inflicted the maximum penalty of 10s., or imprisonment in default of paying the fine. Michael Leahy, who was described as "the leading figure of the night," and John Power, who was seen by the police to stoop over a lighted tar-barrel as if to make it burn better, were also fined 10s.; Patrick Bowland, who called a constable "bloodhound" and "Balfour," was for this crime ordered to find bail for his future good behaviour or go to gaol, and he chose the latter alternative, being thereupon promptly ushered into the dock. The other defendants refused to pay the penalties, and were escorted to gaol by a large crowd. The Inspector said several of the defendants were members of the Royal Naval Reserve, and he thought the matter should be reported to the authorities with a view to having their pay stopped, and the magistrate said he would report the matter. At Tipperary a Mr. Carew was summoned for kicking a bucket belonging to a boycotted person in the public streets. The case was dismissed on the ground that the occurrence was accidental, but on a second hearing the defendant was fined 10s. and costs. In the same town Miss Mary Quain was summoned for groaning at the police. Mr. Quain, her father, an auctioneer, who was present in Court, said he would not allow his daughter to attend. I think that in this conduct he showed not only his self-respect, but his courage and manhood. The Chairman said this was a most serious thing, and ordered the clerk to take a note of what Mr. Quain said. Mr. Quain said it was no use telling a lie; he was prepared to take the consequences, and the Chairman then ordered a warrant to issue for Miss Qnain's arrest. Here is another petty prosecution for intimidation. Michael Griffin, secretary of a branch of the National League, was tried for intimidating Richard Haynes. It appeared that Griffin displayed in his shop window a cartoon published in United Ireland in which there was a pictorial representation of land-grabbers. The police-sergeant, ordered him to take it down, which he-refused to do, and a constable, on a favourable opportunity, went into the shop and stole the picture. [Mr. E. HARRINGTON: Law and order.] Haynes deposed that he was intimidated on several occasions by Griffin, who called him "a low, mean, land-grabber." Griffin's defence was that he was talking about the picture. Mr. Irwin sentenced him to two months' imprisonment with hard labour, and at the expiration of that sentence to find bail or in default to go to prison for a further period of two months. An appeal was lodged. This is one of the cases in which a system of cumulative punishments for the same offence has been adopted by those magistrates in Ireland. By a recent decision of the English Court for Crown Cases Reserved, it has been held that it is illegal for any Court to punish a person twice for the same offence; yet it is the common and constant practice of those Irish magistrates to sentence a person to a term of imprisonment, and for the same offence and on the same evidence to order him to find bail for his good behaviour on the termination of his imprisonment, or to go to gaol for a further period. We claim that under the decision which, has just been given these second sentences are absolutely illegal, but we have not been able to get the Irish Courts up to the present to hold them to be illegal. We believe, however, now, that the highauthority of the decision in the English case will bind, not only the Irish removables, but the higher tribunals, such as the Court of Common Pleas and the Court of Exchequer, and that this abominable scandal and this illegal practice of inflicting a succession of punishments for the same offence will be put a stop to in Ireland. Now I come to a matter which is, perhaps, one of the most contemptible and cowardly things which has happened in Ireland in the shape of intimidation—or attempted intimidation, for it did not have its effect—by a Government official. It was a case where a number of persons were brought up before the magistrates for blowing horns. At the Petty Sessions charges were brought under the old Statute of Edward III. against two men to the effect that they were not of good fame; and that complaint had been made against them, that they were justly suspected of an intention to break the public peace and to cause annoyance to certain persons, that; inasmuch as they did Take part with certain persons unknown in disturbing the public peace by blowing a horn, and did on the 21st November, at Tullamore, unlawfully disturb the public peace by blowing a horn, with the intention of causing an annoyance. They were commanded to appear on December 6th, 1889, and state why they should not be required to enter into bail to be of good behaviour for such a period as the Justices shall seem fit, or in default to be imprisoned for such period as the presiding Justices shall judge. At the conclusion of the first case, when the magistrates retired, Mr. Braddelldeclined to adjudicate. After the decision was announced a scene of great excitement ensued, whereupon District Inspector Ball ordered the Court to be cleared. One of the defendants cried "God Save Ireland; blow the horn." The horn was blown in Court as a response. The District Inspector stated that it was the habit to set the children to blow horns; and I ask the particular attention of the House to this circumstance. Colonel Turner, one of the Divisional Commissioners for that part of Ireland, directed the Inspector to announce that there was power in the Act which would be put into force whereby the children for blowing those horns could be sent to a reformatory for terms of two to five years, the parents having to bear the cost of their-maintenance. A voice cried, "Have courage boys;" one of the prisoners said, "God Save Ireland; blow the horn." Outside the Court the magistrates and police were treated to a serenade by the horn-blowers, and they were accompanied a considerable distance on their way home. The prisoners accused of blowing horns were sentenced to four months imprisonment, and in addition to this Colonel Turner had the manliness to direct that the parents of the little children who had blown the horns should be threatened with the terrible fate of the imprisonment of their children in a reformatory for five years—a terrible fate both to the children and to the parents, and a use of the Reformatory Act which was never contemplated. Those little children thought that they were doing what was for the good of their country. It will not be pretended that they blew those horns on account of the natural depravity of disposition, or because they were fit inmates for a reformatory. They were the children of honest, respectable poor people in the neighbourhood; and yet those people were threatened with the most terrible deprivation which any parent can endure—the loss of their children and the burial of them in a reformatory. They were thus threatened by an officer who bore Her Majesty's Commission in the British Army. I stigmatise that conduct on the part of Colonel Turner as a cowardly and infamous act, as an action which threw discredit on the pro fession to which he belongs, on the cloth which he wears. It shows the dsmoralisation which falls even on brave men when they are sent over to Ireland to carry out an infamous policy. Colonel Turner probably thought of the conduct of Gessler when he made Tell shoot an arrow at an apple placed on his son's head. He imitated as well as he could in a feeble and halting-way, and as far as is permissible in these days, the conduct of that historic character; he hoped under the form of law to imitate at a long distance the conduct of the tyrant Gessler. I could go on for hours giving the House examples of this kind. I have searched the records of coercion. I have failed to find, either in the Parliamentary Returns or anywhere else, that crime exists or that intimidation exists. This action on the part of the Government is gratuitous. It will defeat its own ends. You have been favoured, as I have already shown, with considerable prosperity and with the return of better times in Ireland. But the right hon. Gentleman lias foolish'y thrown away his advantage. He has deliberately adopted the policy of petty and systematic exasperation which in itself is all sufficient to avert the heart of the Irish people from any respect for the law or its administrators. I am glad that he has not succeeded in turning back the current of Irish freedom, that the Irish, people have resolutely turned away from the commission of crime and actions which could not be defended, and that they have held fast by the rights of combination, that they have stood by freedom of spe3ch, the liberty of the Press. I say to them, "Go on and prosper in that course; by persistence in bearing unmerited suffering you will gain for yourselves and for your country the great benefits upon which all our hearts are set." To the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, in his noble conduct in laying aside office, power, and emoluments, to others who have given up their political life and political career while helping to secure this great justice to the Irish people—I say to them also, let them not lose courage. They have been richly rewarded in the changed attitude of Ireland; let them continue to the end in the confident belief that their reward will be permanent, that it will be one not only of changed attitude on the part of the Irish people, but that the reconciliation between the two nations will be perfected and completed, and that the strife of so many centuries will soon have been ended for ever. I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name.

Amendment proposed, At end of paragraph 10, after the word "us," to insert the words: "And we humbly represent to Your Majesty that the happy growth of peaceful and amicable relations between the peoples of Ireland and of Great Britain has been grievously impeded by the unjust, exasperating, and futile administration not only of the exceptional repressive legislation of the year 1887, but of the ordinary Criminal Code by Her Majesty's Government; that notwithstanding the long-continued tranquillity of the Country, considerable sections of the Irish people are still harassed with invasions of their liberties and alienated from the Law by the conduct and character of many of its administrators, and large bodies of Irish tenants, whose sufferings brought about the Land Act of 1887, are debarred from the benefits of that Act, deprived of the right of combination and of public meeting, and subjected to wholesale eviction in the interest of landlord combinations, despite their repeatedly-expressed readiness to submit the justice of their claims to the judgment of any Court of Arbitration. And we humbly regret that Your Majesty's Gracious Speech from the Throne contains no proposals to remedy '.he legitimate discontent of the Irish people in those respects."—(Mr, Parnell.)

Question proposed, "That these words be there inserted."


I think any one who compares the terms of the Amendment with the speech of the hon. Member for Cork must feel that there is a certain degree of disproportion between the two. The Amendment in its terms is as grave and serious an indictment, not only of the administration of the Criminal Law, but of the entire system of government in Ireland as could well be imagined. I would ask the House what portion of the Amendment has been even approached by the speech of the hon. Member? He has amused the House by reading extracts of cases. [Dissent.] Has he not amused the House? I mean that he has intentionally amused the House by giving instances of cases which he describes as trivial, such as lighting tar barrels, and sounding horns. But I do not find in the speech of the hon. Member, or of any Member who has yet addressed the House, any material on which he could found a serious indictment against the adminis- tration of the law in Ireland. The hon. Member has, no doubt, referred to the administration of the Criminal Code in Ireland, but has he said a word which has any bearing upon such an important portion of his Amendment as this?— That, notwithstanding the long-continued tranquillity of the country, considerable sections of the Irish people are still harassed with invasions of their liberties and alienated from the law by the conduct and character of many of its administrators, and large bodies of Irish tenants, whose sufferings brought about the Land Act of 1887, are debarred from the benefits of that Act, deprived of the right of combination and of public meeting, and subjected to wholesale eviction in the interests of landlord combinations, despite their repeatedly expressed readiness to submit the justice of their claims to the Judgment of any Court of Arbitration. Has the hon. Member even attempted to prove that allegation? Has he not left out everything having any reference to this portion of his indictment? With regard to what in Ireland is a matter of the gravest interest-the relations between landlord and tenant—there is not one single suggestion on the part of the hon. Member that those relations are not now comparaively satisfactory.


The hon. and learned Gentleman will hear of that before the debate closes.


Well, having regard to the position of the hon. Gentleman, one would have expected that this portion of his indictment against the Government would have been, at all events, opened to the House. The hon. Gentleman commenced his speech by a comparison between the administration of the Crimes Act of 1882 and the Crimes Act of 1887 in Ireland; and he used the expression that "times were very different then." Well, times were different then in some respects. The administration of the law in the hands of my right hon. Friend (Mr. Balfour), has not now what the administration of the law in those days had—the support not only of the Government, but of the Opposition. That is one serious respect in which times differ. But so far as regards the attitude of the hon. Member and his friends towards the administration of the law, there is no change. I have refreshed my memory by reference to the debate which occurred on February 26th, 1883, when the hon. Member for Cork moved an Amendment to the Address, and in his speech I find adjectives as strong applied to the administration of the Act of 1882 as he applied to the administration of the Act of 1887 by my right hon. Friend. The hon. Gentleman called it not only "malignant," but "iniquitous" and "unjust." I find that the hon. Member also in his speech referred to two particulars in which the administration of the old Act was open to his attack, and in which he draws a favourable comparison between the administration of the Act of 1882 and of the Act of 1887. I took down the words of the hon. Member, and two of the particulars were freedom of the Press and the right of public meeting. I find in the hon. Member's speech then a complaint almost in the same terms of interference with freedom of the Press and the right of public meeting as he makes now.


And combination.


But the powers of the Act of 1887 bear no comparison with the Act of 1882 in respect of interference with the liberty of the Press or the right of public meeting. The Act of 1882 contained very great powers prohibiting public meetings and of seizing on newspapers. With regard to the right of public meeting, the hon. Member said, in 1883, that the Act of 1882 was so oppressive that public meetings had ceased to be held at all. Yet now the hon. Member says that one of the particulars in which the administration of the Act of 1887 compares favourably with that of the Act of 1882 is with respect to public meetings. Is it the fact that public meetings cannot be held in Ireland? I think what we see in the Press proves that they can. There is a remarkable omission in the speech of the hon. Member. He undertook to prove that the administration of the law in Ireland had been futile, by which I understand that it had not attained the result which the administration of the law must aim at, namely, the diminution and repression of crime. Has he attempted to prove that statement? Has crime in Ireland diminished under the administration of my right hon. Friend? That happens to be a matter which can be proved by statistics and by the evidence of facts. Now, I would call attention in regard to the alleged futility of the administration of the law by my right hon. Friend to a very few figures. On June 30, 1887, before the passing of the Crimes Act, the number of persons boycotted in Ireland was 4,901. On December 31, 1889, the number was 152. Is that evidence of futility? Take again agrarian crime, excluding and including threatening notices. On June 30, 1887, the number of agrarian crimes in Ireland, exclusive of threatening notices, was 149; the total, including threatening notices, was 221. The number on December 31, 1889, exclusive of threatening notices, was 63; including them it was 93. Is that evidence of futility?


Police statistics.


The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian suggested in his speech the other night that the improvement in the state of Ireland in regard to crime might be attributed to the influence of hope and expectation rather than to what he calls coercive legislation. That, again, is a statement which can be brought to the test of facts. I presume that the right hon. Gentleman means by "hope and expectation" that the Irish people believe that his policy will be ultimately accepted by the nation. There was a time in 1886, shortly after the right hon. Gentleman introduced what was then, at all events, his Irish policy, when the influence of hope might have been expected to have been felt. I find, however, for the quarter ending March 31, the number of agrarian offences in Ireland was 256; but at the end of the next quarter, after the introduction of the right hon. Gentleman's Irish policy, under the influence of "hope and expectation" they increased to 297. I find a further remarkable fact when I compare the influence of hope and expectation with the efforts which followed the administration by his Government of the Crimes Act of 1882. The right hon. Gentleman went through a number of considerations, in which I deem it my duty to follow him, and I must ask for the kind indulgence of the House if I have to go necessarily somewhat into matters of detail It is easy to amuse the House by referring to highly-coloured accounts of what occured in police courts in Ireland. If you take accounts of what happens in police courts in this country you will also find some that and highly coloured and highly spiced, and it is easy to understand that reports may be still further dressed up in journals hostile to the administration of the law. Modern boycotting, according to the hon. Member opposite, is a degenerate form of boycotting—not that boycotting of which we heard such admirable descriptions in times past from the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian.


We took some tips from the Primrose League.


Modern boycotting, in fact, is represented by hon. Members as exclusive dealing only, but impartial spectators in Ireland do not take quite the same view of the case, and it does occur to me that starvation, the deprivation of the necessaries of life, must be as disagreeable for the victim now as it was in the early days of the agitation. From the Freeman's Journal I will read part of a charge delivered by one of the ablest Judges on the Irish Bench, once an ornament of this House. Baron Dowse, addressing the Grand Jury of Kerry, at Tralee, on March 11, 1889, said:— I am informed by the proper authorities, who can speak with confidence in these matters, that the crime of boycotting has decreased of late, and that whereas there were some years ago several hundreds of persons in the county boycotted, the number is very considerably decreased, and in the month of January of the present year, the agrarian outrages in Kerry only amounted to five in number, as compared with a very considerable number in former years. Well, now, I am very glad to be able to say that there is a decrease in the number of boycotting offences. The number of persons boycotted in February, 1888, was 131, and now the number is only 33. A distinguished statesman, a great master of language—namely. Mr. Gladstone—said that boycotting was 'organised intimidation,' and he stated in 1882 that 'the creed of boycotting, like every other creed, requires a sanction, and the sanction of boycotting, that which stands in the rear of boycotting, and by which alone boycotting can in the long run be made thoroughly effective is the murder which is not to be denounced.' Now, these words are as true to-day as they were on the day they were spoken It may be said that political exigencies should ignore the meaning of these words. But nothing can make any difference, not even in the lapse of years, in the definition of a crime of this description. The maxims of morality, fortunately, do not depend upon the necessities of statesmen. These are not the words of an irresponsible person, but of an able and experienced Judge, holding a position of absolute independence, and having equal knowledge of what boycotting was in 1882 and of what it is now. The hon. Member for Cork does not seem to appreciate the fact that conspiracies, even to the point of starvation, if unaccompanied by the elements of intimidation and undue influence, cannot be punished under the Crimes Act. Such a conspiracy can of course be made the subject of indictment at Common Law, but a prosecution cannot be undertaken in respect of it under the Statute. If Magistrates confuse the two kinds of conspiracy and deal under the Crimes Act with a conspiracy punishable at Common Law, their decision can be reviewed and set right, as in the Killeagh case. If, then, there has been any conviction under the Act for conspiracy unaccompanied by intimidation or undue influence, the remedy is perfectly plain. The hon. Member has discussed the subject of Press prosecutions, beginning his review of the cases at a very early period of the administration of the Crimes Act. He will forgive me, I hope, if I only deal with the cases that occurred last year, for the others have been discussed over and over again. The hon. Member says that Press prosecutions have been instituted in peaceful districts, where there could be no excuse for their institution. I quite agree that regard must be had to the circumstances under which words are spoken. There is a wide difference between throwing a lighted match on the high road and throwing one into a powder magazine, and I wish that the followers of the hon. Gentleman who have addressed my countrymen in various parts of Ireland had more frequently borne that consideration in mind. But when Press prosecutions are instituted in comparatively peaceful counties, it is done for the purpose of preventing the introduction into those counties of illegal combinations and the system of intimidation which have proved so disastrous elsewhere. That was the reason of the prosecution in Kildare to which the hon. Member has referred. The prosecutions during the past year were all in respect of articles or notices calculated to intimidate. The hon. Member, I know, draws a distinction between articles and notices—a distinction which may affect the editorial mind; but what about the effect on the mind of the reader, what about the results to the victim of intimidation? Whether the editor of a paper has the manliness to express in a leading article his view about a man who has taken an evicted farm, or whether he publishes his views in the form of a Report of a meeting of a suppressed League, is not the result the same in the reader's mind? Let any hon. Member produce an instance of a prosecution following upon the publication of a Report of an innocent character, and we shall then have something to discuss.


Mine. There are heaps.


The hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity of producing one out of the heaps. The question is whether these intimidatory notices are calculated to produce an effect in the country. Now with reference to cases: I shall refer to one. M'Hugh, the editor of the Sligo Champion, was tried and sentenced to a term of imprisonment. His case came on appeal before a gentleman whom hon. Members opposite have described as a learned and merciful Judge—and rightly so described—and the sentence of four months' imprisonment passed by the Court below was affirmed, and the Judge, in delivering sentence, commented in the strongest terms upon the character of the publication and the intimidatory tendency of what appeared in it. I make this broad general statement. What are called Press prosecutions are not so at all; to call them so is a gross misnomer. They are prosecutions for doing by means of the Press what would be equally criminal if done by any other means. These prosecutions in no sense interfere with the liberty of the Press. If you commit a crime by means of the Press you cannot shelter yourself behind the doctrine of the liberty of the Press. The liberty of the Press is not assailed because your criminal action is assailed. It is not for me to criticise the Act of 1882, or its administration, and I will not do so. But this I will say, that what are called Press prosecutions under the Act of 1887 should not be so called, and that there were clauses in the Act of 1882 directed against the Press, while there are none in the Act of 1887. The hon. Member for Cork brought forward a number of cases which he described—and I think the House will entirely agree with him—as trivial cases. Of course the gravamen of his accusation was that the persons prosecuted were old women, children, and newsboys. It is easy to make general statements about prosecutions of this kind, but I should like some hon. Member in the course of this debate to bring forward some case of the prosecution of newsboys. No such case has yet been adduced. The hon. Member called attention to the lighting of some tar-barrels in the streets, as to which he said that the maximum penalty of a 10s. fine was inflicted. Well, that was not a prosecution under the Crimes Act at all. I am almost certain it was a prosecution under the Towns Improvement Act, because somehow or other the maximum penalty of 10s. is familiar to me in connection with that Act. I am not sure whether those who live in England enjoy legislation similar to that which, is in force in Ireland, but there are provisions in that Act under which certain specified trivial offences in the public streets can be summarily prosecuted, and I have not the smallest doubt if any person were to light a tar-barrel in the Strand—[Laughter]— well, say in some nice quiet street in a cathedral town, he would be prosecuted under an Act of this kind in England, and that the maximum penalty would probably be inflicted. Does the hon. Member recognise that we are here for the purpose of encountering a serious indictment against the administration of the law in Ireland by the Government? Yet in this—one of the main cases in support of that indictment the Government have no concern whatever, except that the police are the usual prosecutors. The administration of such Acts as I have referred to forms no part of the work of the Executive Government which is now on its trial. There was a case referred to by the hon. Member as to which I have some information. He mentioned as a gross instance of the maladministration of the law the prosecution of Mr. T. Queley at Dungarvan, County Waterford. Mr. Queley was ordered to find sureties for his good behaviour for doing that which the Member for Cork said, in his opinion, was a perfect legal act. The hon. Member said that for a man to tell persons that if they buy from or sell to A B they are doing an unpatriotic act, and that the goods of A B are boycotted, is perfectly legal. Unfortunately, on this point the hon. Member is in direct conflict with the Court of Exchequer in Ireland. The hon. Member may be quite right and the Court of Exchequer may be quite wrong. ["Hear, hear!"] I gather from the hon. Member's attitude that he considers himself to be in the right, but I do not know whether the House generally will be content to accept his view and to receive their idea of the law, either of England or Ireland, not from a Court of Law, but from an hon. Member in this House. At all events, whether the Court of Exchequer is right or wrong we are bound to accept its decisions. Proceedings had been taken against Queley in consequence of the boycotting of Matthew Walsh. Queley, it seems, made a regular practice of following Walsh about to different markets inducing people to refrain from buying his pigs, Walsh's offence having been the taking of an evicted farm. Queley acted towards Walsh in a most exasperating manner, and for this he was ordered to find sureties for his good behaviour, it being held that his conduct amounted to intimidation. In this case there were all the elements that would have warranted a conviction at Common Law wholly irrespective of any Crimes Act, just as in the case at Manchester the other day. Are people not to-draw inferences from facts? Why was not this man allowed to sell his cattle? [Laughter from the Home Rule Members.] Why was he compelled to take them home unsold? Hon. Members may laugh and treat this and similar cases lightly, but do they realise what it means when a man in this position of life cannot sell his cattle? It means ruin and starvation, and it is intended to mean ruin and starvation. I am happy to say that this system of boycotting cattle at sales is being successfully dealt with, for it is a most serious matter. I presume that the cases which the hon. Member has brought forward are the strongest in his favour which he can find.


No; I took them at random.


Of course I accept the hon. Member's statement, but I should have thought that when the hon. Gentleman was going to directly impeach the action of the Government he would have selected the strongest cases he could find in support of his contentions.


I think it highly probable that I did unwittingly pick out the best cases for the Government.


Well, if the hon. Member took the cases at random, I think I may assume that they are a fair sample. Her Majesty's Government are quite prepared to stand by the action they have taken in grappling with this system of boycotting cattle at fairs, a practice the illegality of which has been pronounced by the Court of Exchequer in Ireland, and which has constituted an evil of the greatest magnitude. The hon. member has also referred to what he terms the system of punishing persons twice for the same offence by holding them to bail to be of good behaviour. But in this view the hon. Member is again in conflict with the highest Courts of law, which both in England and Ireland have laid it down that the precautionary measure of taking- securities that a man will keep the peace is not a punitive sentence or one which can be regarded as in the nature of punishment. It has been laid down by Judge after Judge in England and Ireland, that there is nothing punitive in the sentence, but that it is merely precautionary and intended to secure proper obedience to the laws of the country. The hon. Member describes the administration of the law in Ireland as "exasperating." Whom does it exasperate? Does it exasperate the 4,900 boycotted persons who have been saved from a living death, or does it exasperate the boycotters? If it is a terror to evildoers, I can only say that in so doing it fulfils one of the legitimate functions of the law. There is one portion of the population, however, that it does not exasperate. I allude to that portion, which, I believe, is composed of the majority of the people of Ireland, without distinction of class or creed, whoso desire it is to pursue their business in peace, without molestation and intimidation. This portion of the population regards the administration of the law with feelings not of exasperation but of gratitude, as securing to them that protection and security without which prosperity and progress are alike impossible.

SIR G. TREVELYAN (Glasgow, Bridgeton)

The Opposition in this House are not responsible for the present method of governing Ireland, nor are they amenable to it. They are not the authors of that method, nor are they in any sense the instruments of the Government, nor, again, are they its victims. They are able, I hope, to apply a tolerably impartial mind to the question raised by the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. Parnell) —an Amendment which contains some very important propositions. I have listened to the hon. Member's speech, and to that of the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite, and having, in addition, thought out two or three points which the hon. Member himself left untouched, unwilling, as I presume he was, to trespass on the time of the House, I hope I shall be able to make out a ease for the Vote, which I believe many Members, if not all those on this side of the House who owe allegiance to the leaders of the Opposition, will give. Both the hon. Member for Cork and the right hon. and learned Gentleman have referred to the fact that times are changed. No doubt they are. The right lion, and learned Gentleman lays stress upon the fact that in the old days, when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone) was in office and the hon. Member for Cork attacked the administration of the Law in Ireland, the Government of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian received the support of the Conservative Party. On one occasion in the past the hon. Member for Cork brought forward an Amendment to the Address, asserting that the recent policy of the Chief Secretary in Ireland had not tended to the interests of tranquillity or contentment of the Irish people, protesting against the wanton prohibition of constitutional meetings, whereby the exercise of the right of free speech was practically extinguished in Ireland, and condemning the Irish Executive for having permitted bodies of magistrates to make public declarations applauding the conduct of Lord Rossmore. No wonder that, in resisting that Amendment, our Government was supported by the Conservatives! That was an unjust Amendment. The Government of Ireland in those days laboured under great difficulties, because free speech was attacked from two quarters. We laid down for ourselves the rule that meetings should be pro- hibited only where outrages would follow the excitement, and that rule we believe we kept. But hon. Gentlemen in Ulster thought that that was not sufficient. They thought that in the heart of Ulster, where there were no outrages and no fear of outrages, meetings of the League should not be allowed, because they were disliked. Being attacked on both sides the Government found it difficult to steer a clear course, but I believe we were in this matter patriotic, and I am sure we were impartial. Then, says the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cork, times have changed in Ireland, and he gives the reasons. I will acknowledge those reasons by saying that before we left Ireland the National League was such a body that we absolutely refused, notwithstanding the great criticism, and even the obloquy of many of the Irish Conservatives, to take steps against it. Since then there are reasons why still greater changes have come over the spirit of the leading organisation of Nationalist Ireland for the time being. That is, that a Conservative Government came in, the Viceroy of which spoke of ruling Ireland by what he called amity and concord: and since then again a great measure has been brought forward for the purpose of satisfying Irish aspirations, a measure about which I say nothing now, except that the people in Great Britain take such a deep interest in it that they turned out a Government on it. Now the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Parnell) brought forward a number of cases which reflect, in his opinion, on the administration of justice in Ireland. I shall not go through those cases except so far as they are impugned by the Attorney General, who objects to the epithets unjust, exasperating, and futile. It is not difficult to understand the abuses of the administration of what is called law in Ireland, when the Attorney General for Ireland treats Press prosecutions lightly. [Mr. MADDEN: No.] I gathered that was the case; but I am willing to withdraw the word "lightly," and say the hon. and learned Gentleman regards Press prosecutions as proceedings which can be defended with an extremely small amount of argument. Conceive what would be the effect in this country if an editor was thrown into prison, and, above all, on hard labour, for an offence which would probably be called libel, but which partook of a political character; and then imagine what would be the state of things in the country if in the course of 18 months or two years 18 or 20 very severe penalties were imposed on the Press. The Attorney General says that these are not Press prosecutions at all, that they only punish the crime which is committed by means of the Press. That is mere juggling with words. Everybody knows that one of the clearest principles of jurisprudence, and certainly of politics, is that you cannot without the very greatest danger and wrong punish what is called the incitement to crime by the Press instead of punishing the crime itself. The longer I live the more I am persuaded that the rule in this matter may be made, as it were, absolute. It certainly was made, if not absolute, very nearly so for many months, I should think we might count the period by years, towards the end of the Government of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian. If you once infringe that rule and begin to punish for what is called incitement you very soon begin to punish for incitement which leads to no crime, and that in this case has been strangely so. Cordon, in Jamaica, was hanged because he incited the negroes to outrage. [An hon. Member: Quite right too.] An hon. Gentleman opposite says "Quite right too." I remember at that time arguing with a friend of mine, who likewise sat on the opposite benches to myself, against the hanging of Gordon. I said, "Here you have the Fenian agitation. John Bright spoke the other day | about the wrongs of Ireland. Would you hang John Bright?" and he replied, "Certainly I would." The Attorney General says that in no case do these prosecutions interfere with the liberty of the Press. Let me show the House how these prosecutions interfere with the liberty of the Press in the most subtle and trenchant manner. The great objection brought by the hon. Member for Cork against these prosecutions is that they are not for bitter and brutal leading articles, but for the reports of meetings and proceedings written by people other than the editor. I do not think that in any case can it be proved that serious outrage has followed the printing of the reports. But mark the manner in which this method of dealing with the Press lays the whole Press of Ireland at the absolute disposal of the Government. I suppose I am not exaggerating when I say that these proceedings have no or only a very partial, deterrent effect. Men have been punished by publishing the reports of suppressed branches of the National League, but directly they had been released they had proceeded to publish similar reports. The Government really choose who they shall prosecute, and they, of course, choose who they shall punish, because this is an offence for which there is no defence. So the Government has at its mercy the whole of the Irish Press, loyal or disloyal, to use their own words, which publish reports of suppressed branches of the League. Then the Attorney General spoke on the question of boycotting, and I must say he generalised far too much upon the horrors of boycotting, which is at present being punished in Ireland. It is idle to tell us that murder is stalking about in Ireland now. It is not so. In 1882 murder and murderous crimes were enormously prevalent in Ireland, but two years after they ceased, and they have never been revived. The Attorney General tells us that boycotting consists in the denial of the necessaries of life, in starvation, and so forth. I should like to refer to one case in particular. In Miltown Malbay there was some serious boycotting. Two persons were tried, and there was a great deal of discontent and disorder in the town. The next time that one of these cases came on for trial the parish priest, in his anxiety to prevent disorder, advised the publicans to close their shops; but the police, who it was proved had sufficient whisky in their barracks to satisfy their requirements, went round to 24 public houses, and in each case asked for a glass of whisky, which was refused. The 24 publicans were thereupon brought up for refusing to supply the police with necessaries. Twelve of them consented to express their regret for their action, but the others, who refused to do so, received a month's imprisonment each. This is the way in which the statistics of boycotting are made up, and the police are thus converted into the most odious characters in the world—namely, com- mon informers. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has said that a good many of the cases that have been brought forward by the hon. Member for Cork are risible cases, but I can assure the right hon. and learned Gentleman that where respectable honest tradesmen are sentenced to prison for a month it is no laughing matter. The right hon. and learned Gentleman speaks of the extreme danger of lighting bonfires. InScotland£300,000 is spent on the police annually, in Ireland not very far short of £1,800,000. Surely the enormous force of police which the latter sum represents ought to be able to preserve order in the time of a little popular excitement by the process by which it is kept; elsewhere—by being present and pleasant. It is not long since I was in a country town in England when a crowd lighted a bonfire and burnt a celebrated character in effigy, still no man was sent for 10 days. Now, I want to bring forward one or two cases that are not risible, and these are the cases which, above all others, give me the opportunity, which I am very glad to have, of declaring early in the Session what I think are the mistakes which the Government are committing in Ireland. We have been told that there is nothing that is a crime in Ireland that is not equally a crime in England. I, however, can give an instance of an absolutely new crime that has been created in Ireland by the Crimes Act of 1887. To belong to the National League would have been no offence under the Crimes Act of 1882, whereas it is a crime under the Crimes Act of 1887. My contention is that, under the latter Act the Government have the power, if they desire to do so, to use the law for political purposes. In one Irish county as many as 38 people have received an average of over two months' imprisonment with hard labour for the new crime of attending meetings of suppressed branches of the National League. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to the legality of a particular class of punishment whereby a man is sentenced to a lengthened term, of imprisonment for refusing to be bound over to keep the peace. In one case the hon. Member for Mid Cork (Dr. Tanner) had been condemned to one month's imprisonment for an alleged offence, and in the course of the proceedings the hon. Member had used some hot words, the hottest of which were to the effect that the magistrates had come down to the Court With their sentence in their pockets. For saying this the hon. Member was ordered to be bound over to keep the peace or to be sent to prison in default. An appeal was made to the Court of Exchequer, with the result that the original and governing sentence was revised for a technical reason. The binding over, however, was confirmed; but Baron Dowse said that if he had been the judge he should not have thought it worth while to take notice of the language used. That was at first, but Baron Dowse, at a later period, said with regard to the form of warrant that No doubt the magistrates had come down with their ammunition ready, thereby repeating the very offence of the hon. Member. The first was a very serious statement, but he took no notice of the words; the second was more serious still. The Chief Baron said:— I think if I were held to good behaviour there is nothing in the world would induce me to give security. Now whatever it may be in England, and I have not dealt much in this matter, it is in Ireland considered a point of honour among high and low not to give security when it is called for in this way. I do not praise or blame it. I take the feeling as it is, and I say that to call upon a man to give security as an alternative to a term of imprisonment is in Ireland equivalent to passing a sentence of imprisonment, and the Lord Chief Baron used words to this effect. Here you have a state of things in which one judge says no notice ought to have been taken of the words used, and the other says that notice being taken of the language is equivalent to the magistrates passing a sentence of three months imprisonment. That is a specimen case of the administration of justice in Ireland. This case was brought before the House of Commons, and instead of the Government making one of those speeches such as a wise Government would make, seeking out the best case they could, but allowing that it was hard law, and that its application was slightly indiscreet, and that they would take care such punishments were not carried out; instead of that the Government take such a, line that all the removable magistrates all over Ireland know on the high authority of the rulers of Ireland that to require security is the right course to take, and that a majority in Parliament agree that this is the right course to take. There is one part of his Resolution as to which the hon. Member for Cork has said nothing, but it is a point that I feel extremely strong about, and that is the position of the Irish tenants whose sufferings have been brought about by the Land Act of 1887, who are deprived of the benefit of that Act and deprived of the right of combination. It will be hardly believed that that eminent nobleman, who was lately Viceroy of Ireland, and after holding that high office for two years came back to his own neighbourhood, where he was entertained by his friends with great honour and compliments at a dinner, made a long and powerful speech chiefly upon the Land Question, and there was not one single word in that speech from first to last tnat informed his hearers that owing to the fall in prices rents had come to be unjust, and that the hon. Member for Cork had urged the Government to revise rents; that the Government had refused; but the next year on revising the rents acknowledged that the rents were unjust, and that in the interval large arrears of these unjust rents had grown up, and for being unable to pay these arrears of unjust rents—I do not say all, I do not say most —but many of these Irish tenants were being evicted. How many are there being evicted? There is not an assertion made more frequently by those who undertake to inform their fellow-countryman in this country than that the number of evictions have fallen very low; but surely to a House of Commons containing a large number of Irish Members this is not an assertion to make. They know that by the Act of 1887, a powerful, grinding, but all silent and unostentatious process was instituted, which carries out all that is serious in eviction. The terrible circumstances of an eviction scene, the police, the soldiers, the battering ram, the old people carried out and laid by the roadside, are not there, but what constitutes the real misery of an eviction? That a man leaves the home he or his forefathers created to at least one-half of its value, and often more. I was reading recently an article in the journal of the English Agricultural Society—written by an eminent Conservative, Mr. Pell, and he with considerable knowledge tells his readers how in England and Scotland—I do not say in the Highlands—an enormous part of the value of land has been put upon it by the landlords in the shape of buildings, irrigation, draining, and every sort of improvement, and he puts the natural rent of the soil at an extremely low figure. But what he did not say, and had no occasion to say, was that in Ireland everything is done by the tenant and not by the landlord, and the consequence of eviction is that the tenant loses all this. Under Section 7 of the Land Act of 1887 a number of tenants have been converted into caretakers. In 1888 there were 9,752 persons so converted; in the first quarter of 1889, 1,581 tenants were turned into caretakers, and in the second quarter 1,975. I do not want to go beyond my knowledge or outside the Government Returns. I know these men have the opportunity, if they can do it, of redeeming themselves within a certain time. I do not know how many are able to do so but I know that an enormous number do not do so, that the numbers who suffer under the operation of this section, which is in every essential one of eviction though not in name, are very great and altogether belie the too favourable accounts often given by supporters of the Government in the country, though I do not say by Members of the Government themselves. And now I come to the words in reference to combination, and upon this point I feel most intensely. I am not like the hon. Member for Cork in one respect, for if I had to move an Amendment to this part of the Address I should have wished to leave out some words of the Address; I should have wished to leave out the words in commendation of the operation of the Ashbourne Act. The Ashbourne Act has one evil about it as to which I am sure all Members who act with us, whether they come from England, Ireland, or Scotland, will agree fully, and that is that it is too frequently made an instrument of the most serious oppression. When a number of tenants are in arrears with their rent and cannot pay those arrears, then comes the clever agent of the landlord and says: "If you will buy under the Ashbourne Act"— it is called buying but I will not give it the word—"if you will undertake to give an annuity under the Ashbourne Act"—for in my opinion it is the Government for the taxpayers who buy—"if you will agree to terms of settlement with me for my employer you shall be saved from eviction." That is the operation that goes on and we can conceive how even an honourable, a kindly landlord would use the pressure his position over the tenant would give him. But this being the case, the situation being so delicate surely it behoves the Government to be absolutely impartial in the matter? Now, I do not think the Government is absolutely impartial. The Government early in its career—I am referring to a matter as to which, when I was first informed, I took a more serious view of the facts, but what I am stating now is correct. The hon. Member for North Monaghan went down to an estate where there was a question of the landlord selling to the public and the tenants taking an annuity, and in the most moderate language, the most peaceable language that could possibly come from anyone's lips, told the tenants that 17 years' purchase was too high. Well, the Government instituted a prosecution against him. I was incorrect in refering to this on a former occasion when I said he was punished for this; the hon. Member was punished for something else in the same Court. He was not punished for that, but the Government prosecuted him, and thereby proclaimed, let us say, in the most unmistakeable manner they could, that to advise tenants not to give the price asked by the landlord was a punishable crime; and I should imagine that there never was any legal opinion that had a more practical effect, an effect that for my part I believe most disastrous, because the men who were willing to go about the country among the tenants, go into all the circumstances of each case, and give practical advice—were peaceable, quiet-going men, who did not care to run the risk of being sent to prison. But there is a much more serious matter than this. The tenants are not to get advice from those who agree with them, but the landlords can get the most practical advice and assistance from those who agree with them. I touch only the superficies of the question in relation to the Ponsonby estate, but all will agree there was a price at which what is called the sale of the estate might have token place. That price was considered too low by the brother land-lords of Mr. Ponsonby, and they interfered. The Government should have been absolutely impartial, at least, and I think they should have been something better than impartial; they should have endeavoured to act as mediator, as Mr. Drummond would have done in old days. But instead of that they backed up the Landlords' Syndicate, who I do not say were not acting within their perfectly legal right, but with what consequence? I am informed, and I believe rightly, that on all that large estate all but four of the tenants have been served with notices of eviction, and much disorder has been created, a public body has been suspended, and two other public bodies who have taken the same action as the Cork Board of Guardians must either be suspended also or allowed to defy the Government? What will Joe the end of this? I do not wish to go into the circumstances that are almost more painful than those of the Ponsonby estate, upon the Tipperary estate, bat when we consider what have been the direct consequences I can only say in regard to the Ashbourne Act, which was honestly intended by a great number of the people who supported it, and I believe by those who brought it forward, to be of the greatest advantage to Ireland, has produced great misery by the manner in which it has been carried out. One of the most terrible curses in the Scriptures is that where the prophet says, "He shall curse your blessings." The Ashbourne Act was intended to be a blessing, but can anyone say that the action of the landlords to prevent Mr. Ponsonby getting what they considered too low a price has been a blessing—at any rate, to that part of Ireland? How different are arrangements of another sort. Imagine how many arrangements between landlords and tenants might have taken place had the Government brought their powerful influence in the same spirit towards a settlement as that which my hon. Friend the Member for Hackney brought to the settlement of the dispute on the Vandeleur estate. I have been looking at extracts from newspapers, and for the circumstances I do not vouch, but they describe how the long-standing struggle between Mr. Synnot and his tenants has been brought to a happy end as a great victory for the Plan of Campaign; but if the Government had sought to settle by an Arrears Bill, or to a limited extent by personal interposition between landlord and tenant, as Mr. Drummond would have done, I believe there would have been a great many more victories, not for the Plan of Campaign, but victories for peace and for good sense in the relations between landlords and tenants. I have one observation more before I sit down. The hon. Member for Cork has put the word "exasperating" into his Amendment. Now, I must say I feel extremely the manner as well as the matter of the Government of Ireland. The hon. Member for Cork did not complain of it, and I think very likely because he and his friends consider there is something undignified in complaining of mere words. But I am very much impressed with the enormous evils resulting from the rulers of this country not maintaining the language of rulers. The President of the Board of Trade (Sir Michael Hicks Beach) when he was leader of this House, laid down in 1885 a very important doctrine on this matter. An eminent Member of this House had charged an Irish Member with being disloyal to the Crown and hostile to Great Britain. Now, in that there is nothing personally insulting, nothing intended to hurt the feelings; it was a mere expression of that eminent Member's undoubted belief. The leader of a Conservative Government here rebuked his supporter for using language that exceeded the bounds of moderation. Now I think that was wise. But what do our rulers say now? At a great meeting the present Prime Minister is reported to have said, referring to those who act with the Irish Party, that they would hand over the executive government of the United Kingdom to "gentlemen whose exploits he would not describe because they have been set forth by the Special Commission and in the Cronin trial." These words, the meaning of which is plain, used by rulers towards the people they rule in the name of the whole community, are the kind of words that undo almost any good that could be done by kindly legislation, and almost by kindly administration. But I was still more struck with words used by a more reticent person, the late Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, at Belfast. He said the demand for a Parliament in Dublin proceeded from a body of men whose leaders have no stake in the country, who contribute nothing to the wealth of the country, who have nothing to lose and everything to gain, who trust to the changes they clamour for, for a share in the benefits arising from the enterprise of others in which they have no part or lot, and to divide the spoil they never helped to gain. It is a sad thing to find a man who has been the ruler of the country for two years back, saying this of men who have the confidence of five-sixths of their countrymen, who represent an unbroken area of eleven-twelfths of the acreage of the country the twelfth they do not represent, being in one small angle of the country by itself. For a nobleman to say this within a few months of his being chief ruler in the country, proves what I have said. Need I say the description is not a true one? These gentlemen do not want to get what belongs to others; what they want is to have a share in the responsibility and honour of governing their own country. At this moment they who represent the great majority of the people are excluded from this. It is far from them to wish to grab spoils, and I firmly believe they would be the first to object to the enormous sum of a quarter of a million sterling-being paid in pensions and salaries to Bar and Bench. They want to do the business of Ireland; then they should have the opportunity and not be excluded, as if they were foreigners, because of their opinions. They want to pass their own laws on purely Irish subjects, and I think I have shown in the course of my speech that if in 1886 and 1887 they had been allowed to legislate according to Irish ideas on Irish land, there would not be a tenth of the Irish discontent there now is. The Opposition, in whose name I have the honour to speak, wish to settle Ireland in accordance with these aspirations in a manner which we are satisfied will be safe for the Empire. Meanwhile they wish that Ireland should be wisely, mercifully, impartially governed. The hon. Member for Cork has shown how in some respects Ireland is not so governed, and I have shown how in other respects it is not, and so I shall certainly vote for the Amendment.


There is nothing so interesting to Members on this side as to witness the gradual progress of the right hon. Gentleman in the course he has set himself, namely, that of discarding one by one his previous opinions, and adopting those laid before him by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. Even in his attitude and manner we noted the change, for nearly the whole of his remarks were addressed not to the Chair or to this side of the House, but I might almost say with his back turned while he appealed to the sympathy and cheers of hon. Members below the Gang way. In the concluding portion of his speech, the right hon. Gentleman alluded with condemnation to some words used by the noble Lord, the late Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, to the effect that Irish Members had no stake in the country, nor did they add to the wealth of the country. Now T am not sedulous to defend the words the right hon. Gentleman has quoted as those of the noble Lord, and which I have never hoard before, because I think they are such as any Member on this side might equally be attacked for having used. But if the right hon. Gentleman objects to their tone, then I think it would be well for him to withdraw some of the observations he has himself within recent times addressed to the Irish Party. If he objects to these words, which seem to me words expressing an opinion which at all events he has brought no facts to controvert, what has he to say of words he himself used in 1886 when speaking of the Irish Party? He said: — They would set up a separate Executive and they know that this Executive would be composed of Members of the Land League who have been teaching that rent is robbery. I am not concerned to decide whether the words of the noble Lord or of the right hon. Gentleman in reference to the status of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway are the more derogatory to them; but everybody knows this was the right hon. Gentleman's opinion then, and I doubt if he can contest the truth of them now. It cannot be denied that they have described rent as robbery, and that this doctrine is inconsistent with proper government of the country, and the fact of the right hon. Gentleman having changed his political opinion now does not invalidate the truth of his words then. Now the right hon. Gentleman has taken up that portion of the debate which was left open to him by his leader below the Gangway and has dealt with that part of the Amendment which refers to the Irish tenants. He has adopted an exhaustive process of denunciation, but no facts have been adduced by the right hon. Gentleman to support his assertion that the tenants have been debarred from the advantages of the Act of 1887. When the right hon. Gentleman asserts that some 10,000 evictions were threatened in the course of a year, why does he not inform the House that out of those notices only 450 terminated in actual evictions? We have a right to expect from the right hon. Gentleman something less wild in statements than those sweeping assertions that sometimes meet us from below the Gangway. The right hon. Gentleman has after all a reputation to sustain, although sometimes we feel that he is a, little less sedulous to sustain it than we could desire. When he talks of 10,000 evictions surely he ought to bear it in mind reductions in the actual loss of house and home are due to the fact that the enormous benefits given by the Act of 1887 have been shared in by the vast majority of the Irish tenants. When he takes up the question of the Ponsonby estate he argues it from an absolutely partisan point of view. He says that at a point when everybody had agreed as to the price to be paid a landlord, combination came in and stopped that price being accepted. But why did he not tell the House how the price was arrived at? Why did he not tell the House that for between four and five years all rents had been withheld, that intimidation had been largely practised, and that every art which agitators could possibly bring to bear upon tenant and shop-keepers in the town of Youghal had been vigorously applied in order to prevent rents being paid and to reduce the demands of the landlord? Will he get up and tell the House that in a case such as that the Government should step in and settle the dispute in favor of the tenant and on a basis which has been established by that very intimidation? That is a proposition to which I demur. I deny that the Government should step in and settle these eases at all. The Government is bound to amend the law when necessary. In this case they have done so; their function now is to administer it and not to drive bargains on behalf of men who, by a continual violation of the law, had brought very nearly to a conclusion a settlement which is known to be absolutely detrimental to the interests of one party concerned in it. I should like to point out that the right hon. Gentleman in the apology which he gave the House for supporting what is practically a Vote of Censure on the maintenance of law and order by this Government, justifies it by a process the ingenuity of which very few hon. Members present could properly have followed. He is very fond of drawing distinctions, which often seem to us to be distinctions without a difference, between the Crimes Act which he and LordSpencer administered and the Crimes Act of 1887. He began by saying that his own Crimes Act was necessary, and then went on to suggest that the words used by Lord Carnarvon in 1885 had placed matters in a different position, and because the people had, in consequence of the feeling of hope excited in them by the Bill of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, become so much more loyal and peaceful, there was no necessity for this Government to ask for exceptional powers for the maintenance of law. A few minutes before that the right hon. Gentleman had listened to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Attorney General for Ireland, in which it was pointed out that not only had a great increase of crime taken place between the time of the expiration of Lord Spencer's Crimes Act and its proposed resuscitation by Lord Salisbury, but that also during the six months in which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian was proposing his Bill for the establishment of a separate Parliament in Ireland, there was also a large increase in the number of crimes.


When the Bill was thrown out.


If that indicates in any way that they were a more peaceful and more loyal population, it is certainly an argument which if is not easy for an ordinary man to follow. The right hon. Gentleman himself spoke in 1886 in no uncertain tone as to the necessity for the administration of the law, and he said the minority would be a minority no longer if there was a firm determination that the law should no longer be trifled with, but he said nothing in 1886 as to the loyal and peaceable spirit which he now asserts had then grown up. We maintain it is impossible to show that there has been a disposition to maintain law without the application of severe measures, and when the hon. Member for Cork talks of boycotting having undergone a change, we should like to know something about the period when that change took place. We are not in the counsels of the Home Rule Party; we do not know when it was determined that the boycotting was too severe and too rigid, and possibly likely to alienate British constituencies, and certainly unlikely to enlist the sympathies of this House; but we do know that up to a recent data boycotting and intimidation prevailed in an acute form. The House must remember the case of Mr. Hegarty, a man who occupied a good position, but whose business was absolutely ruined, and whose persecution had gone on up to 1887. Mr. Hegarty was the subject of strong utterances on the part of Irish Members. I think the hon. Member for Mid-Cork has left the House, or I should have been tempted to allude to some of the expressions which from his exuberance of language and richness of thought have often brought him prominently under the attention of this House, and sometimes of Courts of Law. That hon. Member described Mr. Hegarty, in 1886, as one of the worst of created beings, as a "low creeping reptile," and finally as "a creeping louse." In April, 1887, two shots were fired at Mr. Hegarty and he was wounded in the head. This is only one of several outrages which occurred in the same year after a prolonged period of boycotting. Only two days ago a man was, in the County of Clare, subjected to a murderous outrage after having been boycotted for land-grabbing for two or three years, and a girl in his cottage was shot in the back. From this, I gather that if there has been any change in the system of boycotting, the reason is not to be found in any particular regard for the victims on the part of the Home Rule Party, but it is to be found in the fact that a strong Crimes Act is in force which can punish promptly the commission of these outrages. Now I should like to say one word as to the disregard, by the right hon. Gentleman of the word "futile" in the Amendment. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman really means us to infer that he looks on this word futile as one which expresses the real state of things. I think the hon. Member for Cork was ill-advised in placing that word in the Amendment. Whatever else the Crimes Act may have been, it has not been futile, and it requires a, stretch of partisan imagination to say that there has been futility in the policy of my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary. That policy may by some be called exasperating and unjust, but will any one venture to get up and say it has been futile?

MR. MAC NEILL (Donegal, S.)

I will.


Well, the hon. Member will find the facts against him, and also the language of his own Front Bench, who always based the success of their Crimes Act on the diminution of crime. With regard to the prosecution of journalists under the Act, the right hon. Gentleman treated the matter as if a man could be punished and prosecuted for simply publishing the fact that a meeting has taken place. If the right hon. Gentleman will, however, refer to the Act, he will see that the meeting must be a meeting of an Association which was formed for the commission of crime, or for carrying on operations by the commission of crime, or for encouraging persons to commit crime. The Reports which have led up to the prosecutions are published with a view to promoting the objects of such an Association as the Act describes, and the right hon. Gentleman must know that the notices so published are as bad and in some cases worse than speeches. Everybody knows it is just as easy by writing as by speaking to secure a given effect against individuals. My right hon. Friend was bound to institute prosecutions in such cases, because it is these attacks on individuals which usually lead to crimes being committed. We have had speeches from two of the ablest orators of the Opposition, but the attack has not brought out a single big principle; it has been based on a variety of small cases, which, as the Attorney General for Ireland has pointed out, are taken almost entirely from well seasoned reports in hostile newspapers. The Government may well take heart from the extremely light charges which have been brought up against them. The point which must remain is this—that a great decrease has taken place in crime, the use of the police has largely decreased, calls on the military have hardly been needed during the last year, but in every department there is increased quiet, and with increased quiet there is increased prosperity. The Crimes Act has not been accompanied by the filling of gaols. The Government have not put 1,000 men into prison without trial. The strongest tribute to my right hon. Friend is that he has so seldom had to put the Act into force, and it is, I think, a consciousness of its success, and that that success is producing its natural results in restoring confidence, as it is restoring order, which makes it necessary for the party below the Gangway opposite to indict the Government for their proceedings, and which has made it incumbent on the right hon. Gentleman, by the exercise of his ingenious mind, to find some pretext for accompanying them into the Lobby.


We have heard from the Treasury Bench the answer the Government have to make to the speech of the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell). The Attorney General for Ireland appears to approve of the opinions expressed by Mr. Baron Dowse; but how does that learned Judge speak of the body of Resident Magistrates? Why, he has stated it as his opinion that it would be as impossible for an Irish Resident Magistrate to state a case as it would be for him to write a Greek ode.

Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,


The hon. Member for Cork mentioned in his speech the case of a man who was sent to prison for two months for insulting a policeman by calling him "Balfour;" but the learned Baron went even beyond that, for in a recent speech he alluded to one of the counsel as "Balfour junior." Reference has also been made by the learned Attorney General to what has been said by Chief Baron Palles, and other Judges; but, for my part, I do not think that the dicta of Judges ought to be brought before the House of Commons, for, after all, they are only men who administer the law as they find it, and I do not think their opinions are of much importance. The Amendment now before the House impugns, as I understand it, the administration by the Government of the ordinary law, and the exceptional law of the country; it asserts that the administration is unjust and harsh, and states that no efforts are being made to relieve the tenants from the coercion incident to the landlords' combination. It likewise impugns, in very vigorous language, the character and conduct of the administration of the Coercion Act. One of the grounds on which the justice of the ordinary administration of the law is impugned is this, that although it is within the knowledge of every one that there has long been a fierce collision between the landlords on the one side and the tenants on the other, the Government have rather fomented the difference than attempted to produce a more satisfactory state of things. For my own part, I say without hesitation that at the present moment Dublin Castle and all the machinery of the Irish Government may be described as a mere auxiliary to the Rent Office, every policeman, from the lowest to the highest, and every magistrate being engaged in the endeavour to exact rent in order that the land may be sold at a fictitious value. I am able to prove that the Government have been as much a party as the landlord has been to the evictions on the Olphert estate. With regard to the question of the celebrated battering ram, the Chief Secretary, who is not, as a rule, very careful as to the opinions of his opponents, has manifested a strange reticence in regard to information which has been asked for on this subject. Ministers have been asked over and over again for a statement of the cost of that battering ram, and at whose cost it has been obtained, but the information has been withheld. There can be no doubt it was intended to be paid for by the Government; but, after the questions put about it in this House, the Landlords' Convention, held in Dublin, agreed to defray the cost. As to the use made of it, it was proved indisputably in this House that that ram was used against no fewer than seven huts. What is the reason the Chief Secretary will not tell us the cost of the battering ram? I leave it to the House to judge whether a Government which resorts to such expedients can be regarded as holding a fair balance between the two classes of the Irish people. This battering ram used by the Government officers was paid for by the Landowners' Association. It is the landlords, therefore, who are subscribing to keep up the war on the Olphert estate. The police are discharging the duty of emergency men with the landlords' instruments of destruction. I shall now have to make some observations in reference to the character of the government of Ireland for which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary is responsible. The right hon. Gentleman is absent from the House just now, but that makes no matter, seeing that he was absent from Ireland during the occurrence of the great majority of the events I am going to describe. I took a note of the right hon. Gentleman's movements. Parliament rose last year on the 13th August, but the right hon. Gentleman did not go to Dublin until the 22nd of October, and then lie spent very few days there, leaving Dublin again on November 6th. On December 17th he came back and remained a month. The right hon. Gentleman proved his bravery by his absence from the scene of action, although specific occurrences which attracted a vast amount of attention were taking place. There was the planting of the Coolgreany estate, the rise of the landlords' syndicate, the breaking off by that syndicate with the Ponsonby tenants, and then the trials which arose out of the transactions at Gweedore —trials so significant that English politicians went over to witness them. The Chancellor of the Exchequer was in the country. But what was he doing? He was going from one landlord's house to another consulting with the landlords about the state of the country and no doubt in reference to the purchase scheme. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had not left more that eight days when Tipperary was proclaimed under the Coercion Act. The Attorney General for Ireland rather twitted the hon. Member for Cork with saying nothing about the ordinary law as administered in Ireland, and perhaps I may, in a humble way, endeavour to supplement that omission. I would say that under the present administration of the ordinary law in Ireland the life of a subject taken by a policeman is of no value, whereas it is high, treason to touch a policeman. I will exemplify this by two cases: There is the notorious case of District inspector Martin, and the case of the two boys who, within a few days of each other, met their death at the hands of the police, one in Tipperary and the other in the streets of Timoleague. I would ask the House to contrast what took place at Gweedore—the severity with which the trial was conducted—with the way in which the police were shielded from justice in reference to these other matters. I think I am strictly correct in saying that in this country there has been no serious conflict between the police and the subjects of the Crown since Peterloo; but in Ireland, during the régime of the right hon. Gentleman, no fewer than 14 men have been murdered or have met their death at the hands of the police, and I say that for the blood of these 14 men—for this massacre—justice has not been brought home to one man, nor has a single individual been a day in custody. The police have a free hand in Ireland. They are the agents of the Government, and the Government are the agents of the landlord. Let me show how matters led up to this. The Chief Secretary had only been three days in office, but had never put a foot in Ireland, when he sent the famous telegram to the police, "Don't hesitate to shoot." That resulted in the death of the young man O'Hanlon. The Chief Secretary was young in his office then. Since that time he has had experience, but it does not seem to have improved him. The massacre of Mitchelstown occurred. Did the right hon. Gentleman improve after that? No; he justified the action of the police. He said— A certain policeman would have been guilty of a grave dereliction of duty if he had not tired to kill. It was contrary to every received regulation that an armed force dealing with a crowd should fire deliberately over their heads. It was well known to everyone conversant with the subject that a more cruel kindness could not be committed, and he was glad to think that it had not been committed by the Irish police. Commenting upon that, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby (Sir W. Harcourt) subsequently said that the police were learning lessons in ferocity they had never learnt before. There was a man put on the removeable bench to teach the police these lessons of ferocity—namely, Mr. Cecil Roche. Here is a sample of his teaching: At the Tralee Petty Sessions, before Colonel Rowan, R. M'Cowen, and Cecil Roche, R.M., two respectable young men named Timothy Cournane and Michael Quinn were charged with assaulting Sergeant M. Cook and Constable Buckley on the 11th August. On the evening in question the police arrested Cournane for drunkenness. He resisted, and a crowd gathered, from which stones were thrown, one of which struck Constable Buckley on the head. Quinn was arrested for throwing a stone, and was sentenced to six months' and Cournane to seven months' imprisonment, with hard labour, and bound to the peace. Mr. Roche, concurring with the sentence, said— I quite agree with the sentence of the Court, and wish to say that in any other country in the civilised world had these men attacked the ministers of the law in the way they had their lives might have been taken, and they (the police) would have been justified by the Government in taking their lives. This was a most deadly attack on these policemen, who behaved with great moderation in firing their revolvers in the air. It is not necessary for me to decide, but if the police took life on the occasion they would, in my opinion, he justified in doing so in the discharge of their duty. Then came the two murders by the police of the 3rd and the 5th of September, and contrast what happened in these cases with what took place in the case of the murder of District Inspector Martin, the only policeman who has met his death at the hands of the people during the régime of the Chief Secretary, whereas 14 members of the public have been done to death by the police. In the case of the murder of District Inspector Martin the whole country round, it will be remembered, was in a state of terror. No fewer than 400 houses were entered without a warrant, no fewer than 150 people were committed to prison, and no fewer than 23 men were returned by the Removable Magistrates as being guilty of the murder or accomplices. Father M'Fadden was arrested and kept in gad for months, the system of police passes was started, prisoners were sent to one of Her Majesty's vessels in handcuffs, though the naval captain refused to take them on board in that condition, and we all know the frantic efforts that were made to obtain convictions against the accused. No one knew the hand that slew District Inspector Martin, but everyone knows who slew the two boys to whom I have referred. When the lads were shot they were simply amusing themselves in the street, taking no part, as they took no interest, in politics. In the case of Daniel Donoghue, who was shot at Timoleague by a policeman named Cullinane, the inquest was held before Dr. Somerville, and Mr. Shinkwin, B.L. (who appeared on behalf of the next-of-kin), said that at the outset of the proceedings he should emphatically protest against the way the jury was constituted. He said it was an old-established law that a Coroner holding an inquisition was very much in the position of a Grand Jury, and the full number of jurors which is allowed should be enrolled if the friends or next-of-kin of the deceased wished it. The Coroner said— That is a mistake. I can hold an inquiry with any number from 12 to 23, and 12 only need agree to a verdict. Mr. Shinkwin then said— Twelve jurors must agree; but in order that the inquest should he perfect and proper, the law does not exempt the Coroner from having 23 men where the next-of-kin wish it. The account from which I am quoting goes on to say— Counsel then quoted from Jervois in support of his argument. He, however, had to protest against the constitution of the jury. Seven of the 12 men enrolled differed in religion and politics from the deceased. It certainly was an extraordinary thing that in a community where over 90 per cent. of the people were of the Catholic persuasion, the number of Protestants on the jury was seven. He had been informed that of the five Catholics one was the brother of a policeman, who had been sent for to a distance of four milts, while there were numbers of respectable residents in the village and neighbouring district who had never been summoned to attend there at all. The police had been scouring the country for miles around that morning in search of men from whom they knew they would get a favourable verdict. It was a barefaced and scandalous attempt at packing a jury. He had been further informed that three-of the Catholics summoned spoke only Irish, and had confessed that they did not understand their position. The five Catholics there were, he was bound to confess, men far inferior to their Protestant fellow-jurors both in their social scale and in point of intelligence. It was a great injustice to put into the hands of a jury so constituted the scales of justice between the relatives of the dead man and the individual who, he was prepared to prove, had so brutally and murderously taken away his life. The House will remember how an hon. Member accused the Irish Constabulary of being addicted to drunkenness. Well, listen to the evidence given at the inquest on the body of Daniel O'Donoghue— Constable Patrick Cullinane, sworn, said —He was on patrol duty at Timoleague on the night of the 3rd September. Constable Thomas Burns was with him. They left the barracks at 9 o'clock that night to go on patrol duty. They did not attend the roll call at 10 o'clock that night —a very serious dereliction of duty, as everyone who understands police discipline will know. In cross-examination the witness said— I am nine years in the force. I came here from Kerry. I am here about three months I went into only one public-house before 9 o'clock that evening. I was standing at the door of another. I took about four drinks up to that time. The four drinks were not taken in public-house. I took two there and two in the barracks. I took one about 5 o'clock at Mr. Griffin's public-house, and the other about 8. I took no drink after 9 o'clock. I was in a public-house after 9 o'clock. I was in four public-houses about 10 o'clock in the discharge of my duty, to see if anybody was there. The doors were shut at this time. I always, when on duty, go to those places to see if anybody is there. I was not drinking in any public-house after 9 that night. Burns was on duty with me. I had not a bottle of whisky that night about me. I don't know whether Burns had. I got into trouble about drinking in Kerry. He was then asked, "Tell us the circumstances," and he replied— I won't, sir. Come, sir, tell us the circumstances. At what station was this?—I can't answer, sir. It is confidential. There are some things connected with the force that might come out. Do you consider your drunkenness confidential in connection with the force?— No, sir. I'll put it to the Coroner whether I'll answer that question. Mr. Wynne: Answer the question. Witness: It was at Banemore Station, in County Kerry. Were you so drunk that you lost your uniform on the occasion?—I did not lose my uniform. How often were you drunk at Banemore?— Only once. Punished, I take it?—Yes. What was the next station you got into trouble at?—I don't know ought I to answer that. Besides getting into this trouble there did you get into trouble at another station?—(After a long pause)—I did, sir. What station was that?—Crotta station' County Kerry. What happened you there?—Absence after roll call. Means being drunk?—No, merely being late for roll call. I did not got into trouble anywhere else. I was fined 7s. 6d. for being late for roll call. My clothes went astray when I was being transferred from Kerry to this county. I did not lose my tunic off my back. Now, of course, the jury in this case disagreed, as a jury so constituted was bound I to disagree. From that case I come to that of the poor boy murdered at Tipperary. It was shown here that there were only 50 people in the street when the boy was shot, that only a few stones were thrown, and no policeman was really hurt. The case was carefully examined into by an independent coroner, and a verdict of wilful murder was returned against Inspector Carter, who ordered the shooting, and the Constable Louhy who fired the shot, the jury who returned the verdict being one that even George Bolton described as "enlightened." The Crown prosecuted the men with a make-believe prosecution, the Bench before whom the prisoners were brought being packed with Removables. As a result, the prisoners were discharged without a stain on their valuable characters. We have heard so far no sensational cry go up by the Government as to the atrocities of the police. How different was the attitude of the Government in the case of Father M'Fadden. Then, I come to another matter. It is important to view the police in the capacity of Government note-takers. About 15 or 16 Members of Parliament have been actually tried and sentenced and convicted on the testimony of police note-takers. The hon. Member for North-East Fermanagh (Mr. W. Redmond) was convicted in September last on evidence taken by these men. The Birmingham Daily Post. commenting on the conviction, said— Once more the police reporters, under the ingenious system of cross-examination which was first devised in Mr. O'Brien's trial a few weeks ago, broke down utterly and disgracefully. The reporters this time professed to have taken their notes in long-hand. Mr. Healy, who defended Mr. Redmond, tested the first reporter by reading to him 587 words; when the policeman's notes were read it was found that he had only written down 87 words. A second reporter declared that he had written down his notes of Mr. Redmond's speech from memory immediately after the meeting. Again the witness broke down under Mr. Healy's test. That ingenious gentleman read to him the short and exceedingly clear and pithy speech which Mr. Chamberlain delivered at Huddersfield on Wednesday morning. The witness was then left alone in the magistrate's room to write notes of the speech from recollection, and at the end of an hour and a half he had not been able, even with the assistance of tobacco, to set down a single word. A third reporter had some distinctly incriminating words written down on his notes, below where he had written the word 'End.' Now, we do not wish to hastily condemn the action of the magistrates. There may have been other evidence upon which they could properly convict, but which is omitted from the scanty reports of the trial. It will be remembered that in Mr. O'Brien's case the police reporter cut a still more ridiculous figure, though the prosecution was able to prove the speech by the report in the newspaper which Mr. O'Brien himself edited. But it must he said very strongly that, so far as the reports go, not only was Mr. Redmond convicted upon insufficient evidence, but that the breakdown of the witnesses upon the question of their capacity to report speeches had been so complete that the magistrates ought to have disregarded their evidence upon all other points as well, and would, indeed, have been justified in regarding the whole case for the prosecution with grace suspicion. However, there is to be an appeal, and when the case is reheard before the County Court Judge a better opportunity will, no doubt, be provided to estimate the sufficiency of the evidence. We have certainly, however, had about enough of these police reporters. We had hoped that the grave scandal which disfigured the O'Brien trial would have opened the eyes of the Irish Authorities to the necessity of employing properly-qualified and professional shorthand writers in the place of the rough and clumsy amateur reporters of the police. Perhaps this second scandal will complete the work of the first. Whatever their alleged offences, and whatever their known character. Irish prisoners must only be convicted and punished when their guilt has been proved beyond question by evidence unassailable, and legally, and logically complete.', This scandal of police repotting has oven attracted the attention of the professional reporters' organ, the Phonetic Journal. It says: — We have no desire to comment upon the political bearings of the matter, but it must be obvious to everybody that if criminal prosecutions are to be instituted upon the evidence of a short-hand note-taker the utmost care should be taken to select only writers of undoubted competence. The plan of using policemen instead of professional short-hand writers may be economical, but it is palpably unjust to the accused, who may be convicted upon the testimony of short-hand notes, which are altogether untrustworthy. That such a course must eventually bring discredit upon the administration of justice is so self-evident that we are surprised that a short-sighted policy of economy should have prevailed so long.….It would be just as reasonable to use policemen with a slight knowledge of drugs to investigate a case of suspected poisoning instead of calling in a pro- perly qualified medical man, on the ground that it would be cheaper to do so. The adsurdity is not greater in the one case than in the other. The Government wish to secure convictions, and so they employ those men. There is another case of police swearing to which I should like to call attention. In Tipperary a crowd of men were charged with riot. The police sergeant produced his note of what took place. At first he said it was the original not, then he said it was not the original note, and produced another note-book, and in the end he confessed that the second was not the original note at all. It is upon evidence such as this that honourable men are sentenced to imprisonment in Ireland. This battalion of swearers are only men after all; and when they have been trained by the Government to swear as desired for political purposes, it is only natural to suppose they will do some business for themselves. We have seen how the police swear by the Government; let us see how they swear by themselves. Sergeant Murphy, a bold and strong man, whose evidence has sent many men to prison under the Coercion Act, had recently to do a little swearing on his own account. Murphy was sued before a County Court Judge and jury at Wexford by an unfortunate girl whom he had seduced. The girl went to the workhouse and gave birth to twins. One of the children died, and the girl sued Murphy for the maintenance of the other and obtained a verdict for £40. What did the miscreant try to do? He endeavoured to intimidate the girl. He first of all wished her to state he was not the father, and then he wrote her a letter to say he would put her in the dock for the murder of the child which died. These are the words of the letter— You put forward a charge that you know to be false—you have given me out as the father of your children, and you have instigated your father to threaten me. You have shown me no mercy. One little life has been put out, and I have carefully preserved letters in which yon threatened to take your child's life. I will bring up the child out of the grave to prove against you. I will cause an inquest to be held, and I will be the chief witness against you. I will show you no mercy. Unless you admit the falsity of the charge in writing into the clock you go. Save your neck if you can. I don't care a damn one way or the other. In this letter he enclosed the following document for the signature of Anne Gladney:— I, Anne Gladney, of Bohanna, County Carlow, do hereby withdraw the charges made against Sergeant W. Murphy. I now admit I stated falsehoods in putting him forward as the father of my children. I now beg his pardon for having done so. The father is—£—. Such are the men in whose hands our lives and property are placed. Let us now view the police in the capacity of administrators of justice. During the Gweedore trials a remarkable incident occurred. Very frequently counsel put a question which is ruled out of order, and then an argument takes place as to the admissability of evidence. During the Gweedore trials The MacDermott wished some evidence to be admitted. Mr. Justice Gibson refused to receive it, and asked The MacDermott if he meant to say so and so. The police officer whom The MacDermott was examining at the time interposed, "That is his contention." The MacDermott quietly added, "You see, my lord, the witness has settled the matter." In November last, at Clonmel, a police-sergeant (Keogh) prosecuted a man named Neill for assault. The Mayor, Mr. Thomas Condon, M.P., who presided, said he witnessed the whole thing and there was exaggeration on both sides, whereupon Sergeant Keogh said, "For the sake of the dignity of the Bench you ought not to adjudicate." Of course, the Irish Members of Parliament ought not to interfere with policemen in what they conceive to be their duty. Now, the Chief Secretary has challenged us to show that law and order in Ireland is futile. I said at the outset of my remarks that the whole administration in Ireland is simply an administration to exact rent under some form or other. Of course, it was only natural to suppose that the Tenants' League would occupy the attention of Her Majesty's Government and of the landlords in general. We find that it has done so. The police have been employed in obstructing the organisation, just as they were employed in obstructing the Irish Members to clear their characters before the Special Commission. At Boyle Michael M'Garth was charged before three Removables, That on the 15th day of December, at Cootehall, in the County of Roscommon, being a proclaimed district under the provisions of the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, 1887, you, the said defendant, did wrongfully and without legal authority unlawfully use intimidation towards certain persons whose names are unknown, to wit, persons who, on the same day attended, or on Sundays usually did attend, the services of the Roman Catholic Church at the chapel of Cootehall aforesaid, with a view to cause the said persons to do an act which they had a legal right to abstain from doing, namely—to subscribe to a certain Association known as the Tenants' Defence Association. The Crown Solicitor thought better of the prosecution, and announced that it would not be proceeded with. But on what ground? That the proclamation in Roscommon had been revoked. The excuse was a shameful one if true, but what if it was false? Sometimes policemen come under the cognisance of Courts of Justice. What occurred at the last Sessions in Waterford is rather remarkable. Action was taken against a policeman for assaulting two boys. The police entered a bandroom, one boy was knocked down, and when he was getting up the policeman struck him on the leg with his baton. Driscoll, the constable, was called, and said he saw a disorderly crowd in Jenkin's Lane. The case then proceeded:— His Honour: How were the crowd disorderly?—Witness: By shouting.—His Honour: Is every crowd that cheers disorderly?—Witness: It was a mixed cheering. [Laughter.] The reason I drew my baton was that I saw a crowd rushing out.—His Honour: I suppose Walsh ran against your baton? [Laughter.]—Witness: He did. [Loud laughter.] The Judge gave decrees against the constable in each case. We find the police dispersing with batons a meeting called in the town of Listowel for the purpose of demonstrating its approval of the result of the Elgin and Nairn and the Peterborough elections. Indeed, the police of Ireland exasperate and irritate in every way all persons who are supposed to have political views different to the Government. As the Government is so often called a bravo Government, and as the Irish Minister is according to his friends, pre-eminently a brave man, let us test the bravery. If ever a challenge was given to a brave man a, challenge was given to the Chief Secretary by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) during last Session. The Chief Secretary said that if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford made in Ireland some of the speeches he made in the House he would receive a little of the "plank bed" discipline. Well, in the following autumn the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) went over to Ireland and attended two meetings of the Tenants' Convention. These meetings are held in a room whore it is not usual to have the presence of police note-takers, but the right hon. Gentleman requested that the Government note-takers might be present at the meeting in Galway, where he expressly advised that the tenants should stick to their combinations. Then he went to Drogheda and attended a meeting of the Tenants' League and again it was proposed to exclude the police reporters but the right hon. Gentleman said "No, let them be present," and then with deliberate plagiarism the right hon. Gentleman repeated the speech to the Massereene tenants for which my hon. Friend Mr. Dillon got six months' imprisonment, and challenged the Government to proceed against him. But this bravo Government showed their courage by letting him alone. Hear what a Unionist print has to say on this incident— It is understood that the Government will not proceed against Mr. Shaw Lefevre, their policy being on all fours with that of the waiter who declined to kill the big blue-bottle on the ground that other Hits would swarm to the funeral and make the nuisance worse. Mr. Shaw Lefevre is an ex-Minister, an occupant of the front Opposition Bench, and one of our Gladstonite lieutenants, and is therefore a different sort of subject to handle from men like Mr. Conybeare. Between letting him pass this time and giving the enemy an opportunity of raising a row in this country and sending fresh sympathisers to Ireland, the Government we hear have decided to adopt the first course. Well, I compliment you on your bravery. Now, a word on the inequalities of sentences. Around any man who is supposed to sympathise with the Nationalist cause the Government forces create a cloud of distrust and obloquy, and if he is guilty of any small offence he is prosecuted to the death, whereas an emergency man has very different treatment, and when proceedings are taken apologies and excuses are forthcoming, though he be found guilty of the most heinous crime. Take an instance. At the Crossmaglen Potty Sessions, a man and his wife were brought before Dr. Palmer, J.P., and Mr. James Hunter, J.P., a local landlord, charged with singing a ballad with the refrain "We'll have good times in ire- land when the landlords go." They were sentenced to three months' imprisonment each. The hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) has stated that they were punished because they were tramps, but that is not so; they were sentenced for impugning the dignity of the landlords, and they were tried before magistrates of whom one was a landlord and the other a Government official. These poor creatures were sentenced to three months' imprisonment for attempting to earn a few halfpence by singing an innocent song, and we find these same magistrates inflicting a fine of sixpence upon a man named M'Nulty for being drunk and disorderly, resisting arrest, cursing and scandalising a patriotic priestand Nationalist of the locality. This is the action of your Government of an "even keel." Last December, for a cruel and unprovoked assault on the police, men who took part were sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment, and at the same Court which sentenced them an emergency man was brought up on the charge of criminally assaulting a little girl of six years old. The evidence was clear, and after the jury had been in consultation for some time, they applied to his Lordship for further advice, and one of their number said that though, the evidence was clear, he could scarcely bring himself to believe it was possible that human nature could be so depraved as to produce a representative capable of committing such a hideous offence. This elicited from the Judge the remark that, with his experience, it was possible that any charge might be true. The prisoner, being an emergency man, was sentenced to six mouths' imprisonment—that is to say, the same sentence as was inflicted upon my hon. friend the Member for South Armagh (Mr. Blane) for giving bread to a starving tenant. Now, at this same winter Assizes at Cork, an emergency man, in the employment of Mrs. Maroney, of Miltown Malbay, for forging his employer's name to a cheque got two months' imprisonment, while a poor child, for stealing a pipe from a shop-window, got six months' imprisonment with hard labour. A perfect cordon of legal protection is drawn around every person who is in the pay of the landlords or the Government, to save them from the consequences of any offences they may commit. We have heard a great deal of the Statute of Edward III., and requiring sureties for good behaviour, and under this enactment there have been several examples of the administration of Courts of Justice, and my hon. Friend the Member for Cork has told us of the offence of blowing horns being visited with four months' imprisonment. In September, in Tipperary, several men were brought before the magistrates charged with riot. The Court could not commit them on the evidence produced by the Crown, but made an Order that the several defendants should find sureties to be of good behaviour for 12 months, themselves in £20, and two sureties of £10 each, with an alternative of two months in gaol. They were acquitted of the offence with which they were charged, but declining to give bail went to gaol on no evidence at all! Of course, the great advantage of this Act is that there is no appeal under it, and the removables are not slow in considering that. I find that at the Cappoquin Petty Sessions in November a man named Thomas Edwards was charged with boycotting the sale of some pigs at the fair. The buyer denied that the defendant had said anything to him about the animals being boycotted, and the defendant declared the whole charge a fabrication, the police having a grudge against him because he had had occasion to report Sergeant Nash to the District Inspector. The Court ordered defendant to be bound ever to keep the peace for twelve months, himself in £20, and two sureties in £10 each, or in default to be imprisoned in Water-ford gaol for two months, the chairman reminding defendant's counsel that, there was no appeal in a, case of this kind. The defendant declined to give bail, and was removed in custody amid the cheers of the crowd. Now, my recollection is distinct that the Chief Secretary led us to believe that a sentence of this kind should be open to appeal. It is interesting to remember that one of the first persons to be charged under this antiquated jurisdiction was the hon. Member for Mid-Cork, who was brought before two Resident Magistrates, one of whom came from Belfast, where he was successful in obtaining a verdict against an Irish Member, and the other was a gentleman whose father was hunted from the police, and these were anxious to retaliate upon the man who had given a severe blow to the Resident Magistrate system by unearthing the Segrave scandal, the embezzler of the Cape. We have heard much on this question of requiring bail, but perhaps I may be allowed to recall Lord Salisbury's view as he expressed it at Hitchin in 1882. He said: It appears that this Act (that is, the Liberal Coercion Act) is of no use for suppressing seditious speeches such as those Mr. Davitt has made, and so there has been disinterred a Statute of Charles I., by which a man can be required to give security for good behaviour, or in default he may be imprisoned. I have not made any particular researches, but it I remember rightly the 10th and 11th of Charles I. (that is, a re-enactmeut of the older Statute) was passed during the Viceroyalty of Stafford. The noble Lord's nephew was not then a mature politician. It is said generally by historians, and particularly by those of Liberal opinions, that that Government was slightly arbitrary, but now that this most liberal Government has shown a marked preference for this Act, I suppose historians will reverse their judgment. It must he confessed that this mode of keeping the peace is likely to give a stimulus to very interesting historical studies. That was about the time when we were listening to Conservative overtures for Home Rule, and on the strength of promises made we voted for Conservatives— may God forgive us! If they institute a search for precedents I daresay the Government will find many others that will be most useful for the control of Ireland. It is my opinion that the Star Chamber jurisdiction was never abolished there, and if that is the case they may find an admirable engine at command. This comes from the statesman who says Ireland cannot be pacified except by 20 years of strong government. I had a complaint to make at the outset of my remarks, but as my observation was of a somewhat personal character, I deferred making it until the hon. Gentleman to whom I referred was present, and he is here now. I would advise the Financial Secretary to the War Department, if he will take advice from a political antagonist, not to make himself a political phonograph; I would recommend him not to assume the responsibility of the rôle of recording angel. He was virtuously indignant with something said by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Bridgeton Division, and wished to rake up old memories which are entirely forgotten on our side, and I believe on his. In that the hon. Gentleman will not succeed. Of all Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench the last person to rake up charges and throw them in the teeth of Members of this House should be the Financial Secretary for War. Was it not he who said on one occasion out of doors, "I will not mince language, I will call the letter Mr. Parnell's letter." But do we not know the hon. Gentleman was compelled not only to mince that language, but to eat his words.

MR. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)

I do not expect to be able to rival the eloquence or the agility of the hon. Member who has just resumed his seat, but for a short time I will trespass on the indulgence of the House. And first I express my sincere regret that an Irishman has been found to vilify so large a number of his countrymen as are to be found in the Royal Irish Constabulary. An allegation was made during the closing period of last Session, and when I was not in the House, by an hon. Member who now sits opposite, that I had spoken of the Royal Irish Constabulary as "Morley's Murderers." I contradicted that statement in a letter to the Times in words and with epithets that I am afraid I should not be Parliamentary in repeating, but as strongly as Parliamentary usage will permit I reiterate my denial. Such words were never uttered by me nor did I entertain at any time any sentiment at all approaching them in character. The Royal Irish Constabulary being Irishmen are not infallible and have their faults. If any hon. Member thinks that to be an Irishman is to be faultless I cannot agree with him. For myself though proud of being an Irishman I cannot claim to be infallible. At most critical periods the Royal Irish Constabulary have exercised the greatest discrimination and judgment in very difficult duties. Allusion has been made to the never-too-much to be regretted outrage that resulted in the death of the Constabulary officer, Mr. Martin, and it has been pointed out as one of the instances in which a section of the people of Ireland committed outrage and murder; but there is this difference dividing the murder of District Inspector Martin from the deaths caused sometimes by the weapons of the Royal Trish Constabulary, that wherever these deaths have occurred, amid scenes of riot and disorder, from the firing of shots by the Constabulary those deaths have been accidental. The death of District Inspector Martin was wilful and designed murder. It cannot be pretended that any member of the Royal Irish Constabulary took deliberate aim with the intention of murder, but in the case of the murder at Gweedore, unquestionably a body of men were guilty of acts leading directly to the death of Mr. Martin. The Financial Secretary for War has been attacked for his able and eloquent speech, which was listened to with pleasure by all on this side of the House, and I congratulate him upon that speech most sincerely and cordially. Much has been said by the hon. Member who introduced this Amendment upon alleged misgovernment of Ireland, but it must not be forgotten that hon. Members opposite have stated their intention to make the Government of Ireland impossible. If the Chief Secretary has succeeded to an unprecedented extent in quieting disorder and tumult, and repressing crime, he deserves the gratitude of all right-minded, right-thinking men, and I thank him for the result of his administration. I think even hon. Members opposite may congratulate themselves. They have adopted a course of conduct whereby they are enabled, without hindrance, to take their seats in this House, their presence not being required elsewhere. I think the very fact that they are hero in force to-night, and joining in this discussion is a proof of the success of the Government of the Chief Secretary in Ireland. I regret that the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for the Bridgeton Division has repeated to-night one of those speeches in which he recanted former opinions, turning his back on his former policy. If he were here now I would ask him does he not recollect addressing me, during the time he held the office of Chief Secretary, a communication in which he thanked those who shared my political opinions for the able support they had given him in his attempt to govern Ireland I But those days are gone by. It is a painful thing to find him turning his back on his former supporters. But at least I think the right hon. Gentleman has not gone so far as to join in a treasonable conspiracy to bring about the independence of Ireland. [Interruptions.] I hear some allusion to the Queen's Crown, but I do not know what it is. The right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Mid Lothian, has spoken of the hon. Member for Cork as the "uncrowned King of Ireland." Perhaps it was with the object of making him a crowned king that a certain number of the party opposite joined in a conspiracy which has been condemned by the Parnell Commission. The day may come when, with the assistance of the right, hon. Gentleman, this undesired event may be nearer accomplishment; but before that day comes some of us in the North of Ireland will have to be reckoned with, that portion of the country which is peaceable, loyal and progressive, and where the Lord Lieutenant was welcomed the other day to the rising town of Belfast by a concourse of loyal people who desire to see a continuance of the connection between Great Britain and Ireland, which, please God, shall never be ended in our time. An attack has been made to-night upon some of the juries of Ireland, I think on the ground that no Roman Catholic was allowed to serve on them, that they were exclusively Protestant. But is it to be imagined for a moment that a Protestant on a jury conscious of his obligations will wilfully perjure himself? I should be ashamed of the name of Protestant if any one of them should violate his conscience and break his solemn obligations on such an occasion. Those who make these accusations of perjury against a section of the Irish people cannot understand what Protestantism means. Reference has been made to the rejoicings which were attempted to be stopped when Mr. O'Brien was released from prison, but it cannot be forgotten by hon. Gentlemen opposite that certain shopkeepers in Youghal who refused to put up their shutters were boycotted, deprived of their trade and means of livelihood. [An hon. MEMBER: It is not true.] One scarcely knows what may be called true in this House; white is made to appear black, and black white. But I say without fear of contradiction that the statement I have now offered has been proved time after time in this House and out of it. I regret that in this debate resulting from the Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork, some more eloquent exponent of the principles I desire to advocate has not risen in my stead, but I feel that no representative from Ireland desires to see the material and moral prosperity of that country more than I do. It is with the desire to promote that material and moral welfare that I hope for a long continuance of the régime, that gives us the present Chief Secretary for Ireland, who has done so much to bring about the pacification of that country by his skilful and able administration, and who has done much and proposes to do more for the material welfare of its people. Every obstruction was thrown in the way last Session of the Light Railways and other Bills, but I trust that the hon. Members opposite have now come to a better frame of mind, and though they may not like the giver they will thankfully accept the gift. The right hon. Gentleman makes no attempt to bribe the Irish people; his legislation is proposed in the belief that it is right, and anyone who has studied his character will appreciate his position, and will feel that he is only doing those things his conscience heartily approves. I do not think this debate should close without one Member for Belfast declaring that we in Ulster—the loyal portion of Ulster—will never join in the conspiracy to bring about the legislative independence of Ireland. The loyal portion of Ulster rejoices in the connection between Ireland and Great Britain, and the rule of Her Most Gracious Majesty, and will not join in any sentimental utterance of "Ireland a Nation," but is content to remain part of the Great British Empire, enjoying all the rights and privileges of that position, the I rejoice, as a Member of Parliament representing a portion of Ulster, to be able to add my voice, however feeble, to the utterances of those who have expressed their determination that Ireland should remain an integral portion of the Empire, and therefore I resist this Amendment, which declares that the policy of Her Majesty's Government has been unjust, exasperating, and futile, because I believe it has been just, successful, and satisfactory. If those who are influential in forming the public opinion of Ireland and controlling to a large extent the feeling and sentiment of the people would only set themselves resolutely to develop the resources of that country and calm instead of exasperating the people, the day would not be far distant when instead of disturbance, disunion, and turmoil, we should see a peaceful, a prosperous, a happy, and a contented Ireland.

MR. P. J. POWER (Waterford, E.)

I should like to remind the House that the hon. Gentleman who has just admonished his fellow-countrymen in such lofty tones has always been a consistent coercionist. The Irish Constabulary know that anything they do will always find in him a defender, and anybody who knows anything about that body must be aware that since the present régime their conduct has become unbearably insolent, doing everything to exasperate the people and delighting in bludgeoning them. I admit that a, great improvement has taken place in trade, particularly in the North of Ireland, while we have also participated to some extent in the general revival of trade. We are told that order is necessary for the well being and the improvement of the condition of the people. We are prepared to admit that if Ireland is to be prosperous and successful it is necessary that respect for law and order should exist. But those who teach that to us seem to forget that if law is to be respected, you must make that law worthy of respect, and any one who has any knowledge of the way in which the law is administered in Ireland will come to the conclusion that, as administered there, it is absolutely unworthy of respect: now referring to the improvement which right hon. Gentlemen opposite say has taken place in Ireland, I find that whereas in the year 1886, £8,296,000 was spent in Poor Law relief, in 1888 the amount, was £8,440,000. Does this increased expenditure; with a decreasing population justify the Ministerial statements? My hon. Friend the Member for South Donegal has cited many cases in which we complain of the manner in which the law has been administered, and I should now like to state the case of my own county of Waterford, which has been harassed and scourged by coercion of the most drastic type. Waterford is far from being a typical county; one can do in it almost with impunity what would be visited with three or four months' imprisonment in other parts of the island; but it possesses a County Court Judge who has the confidence of the people, and who is prepared to mete out justice even-handed between all classes. It is significant that no language we have ever used in regard to the removables equals the abuse heaped upon County Court Judge Waters, because he has had the courage to reverse the decisions in certain cases which came before him. He is supposed to be a Liberal, but when his own Government was in power and when the removables in those days imposed unjust sentences he never hesitated to reverse them. The result is that he is a man who has the respect of the people, and they abide by his decisions because they believe him to be just, and before I quote Judge Waters' statement, let me point out that in Waterford the right of combination does not exist, neither is there the right of public speech, nor freedom of the Press. This Coercion Act of which we complain is aimed not at crime, or at criminals in the ordinary acceptation of the phrase, but at political organisations, and its main object is to break down that very combination which has been rendered absolutely necessary in Ireland by the action of this House. Now, at the Waterford Quarter Sessions in January, 1888, Judge Waters, addressing the Grand Jury, congratulated them on the state of the country as regarded crime. He said:— I have examined the record of the past year, and I am glad to be able to tell you, as you will be glad to hear, that the account of the crime of the County and City of Waterford investigated in this Court during the year 1887 is very light—indeed, I may say, insignificant. It consists altogether of 15 cases. These are made up of five larceny cases, six cases of assault, two of embezzlement, one of arson, and one of attempted burglary, and, considering that the population of the county and city at the last census was 112,768, this number of 15 cases may be reasonably called small. But, Gentlemen, you have no reason to pride yourselves in this county on being exceptionally good and free from crime. You know, I presume, that I am the County Court Judge of two other counties, namely, Cavan and Leitrim, and I am sorry to tell you that the record of crime in Waterford, light as it is, is the heaviest of the three. In Cavan, with a population of 120,008, I had only 14 cases in the year; and in Leitrim, out of 89,795 people, only 11 cases were returned for trial. The total for the three counties is 40 cases. In some of these more than one person was involved, so that the 40 cases included 63 individuals. Now, Gentlemen, it may of course be truly observed that the cases returned for trial to the Court of Quarter Sessions do not by themselves supply a satisfactory index of the crime of a county, as other cases are sent for trial to the Assizes. I have obtained the number of cases sent for trial to the Assizes for each county, and I find that they are as follows:—In Waterford for the entire year 1887 there were 26 cases, in Cavan 13, and in Leitrim 12—in all 51; which, added to the 63 returned for trial to the Quarter Sessions, make a total of 114 persons committed for trial for indictable offences in all Courts for the three counties. These three counties represent a large area, inhabited by a population of 332,616. It is also a diversified area, lying in the three provinces of Munster, Ulster, and Connaught, so that I think it may be considered as fairly representative of the whole country. For the purpose of comparing the crime in this representative area of Ireland with that of England and Scotland I have procured the last published statistics of those parts of the United Kingdom, and they show that the number of committals in England and Wales were 13,856, which gives the rate of one committal to 1,911 people. The population of my three counties is, as I have told you, 332,616, so that to make crime in these counties equal to crime in England the number of committals here should be 174, whereas they amount only to 114—that is to say, our crime is only 03 per cent. of the crime in England, and less than it by a full third. It may be said that a comparison with England is deceptive; that it is not right to compare a rural population, as ours is, with the vast congeries of inhabitants to be found in the great English cities; and that a comparison with Scotland, made on more equal elements, would be juster. Let us see, then, how our ease stands with that of Scotland. In Scotland the committals were 2,535, which gives the proportion of one committal to 1,473 people. In order that the rate or proportion of our crime should equal that of Scotland, the number of committals should be 225, but they are only 114, so that our crime is very nearly only one-half that of Scotland. But it is often said that though criminals may be returned for trial in Ireland the Irish juries will not do their duty, and will not convict even on clear evidence, so that it will be interesting to compare the rate of convictions in the three countries. I find that the rate of convictions in England and Scotland is nearly the same, 77 per cent. of the committals; and, strange to say, the rate of convictions in Waterford is almost identical, differing only by an inconsiderable decimal. In Leitrim the rate of convictions is 82 per cent.; and in Cavan, where I have mixed juries, where Catholics and Orangemen meet in the jury box, the rate of convictions is lowest—only 57 per cent., and not a single case occurred in that county of a jury not agreeing to a verdict one way or other. I drew the Chief Secretary's attention to this remarkable statement last year, and when I complained of the way in which we were taxed for extra police the right hon. Gentleman said it was rash to draw conclusions hastily from statistics of this kind. The fact remains that the Removables do not like their decisions to go before this County Court Judge for review, so they have adopted the suggestion of the Chief Secretary and imposed sentences which do not give a right of appeal, while in other cases they remove the venue of trial and charge the accused before packed juries. Why, even an Englishman, and a Protestant, who has lived in Ireland 37 years, recently wrote to the newspapers that since the last Coercion Act was passed jury packing had been systematically carried on in all cases in which the venue had been changed. If is humiliating beyond expression the way in which the Catholics are treated by such creatures of Dublin Castle as George Bolton. It is bad enough to be ordered to stand by by respectable officials, but it is a gross aggravation of the affront to be told we are unfit to discharge our duties as citizens by a man like Bolton, whose character was described in this House by the present General for England in the following words— Discredited as Casey had been and must be, and infamous as he was as a witness, if it were a conflict of evidence between him and Mr. George Bolton he did not think the balance would be greatly in favour of Mr. Bolton, He was sorry to have to say it, but his view was that the very gravest misfortune that had befallen the Government in Ireland during the last two years had been the having as one of its trusted and responsible servants in a position of great responsibility a mail of the antecedents and character they knew George Bolton to be. Nevertheless, this individual is still in the service of the Crown. These are the men whom we are supposed to respect in Ireland. I have said that the Coercion Act is not aimed at crime. Now the League is proclaimed in Waterford, and they say its power is gone. But the League was never more flourishing than now, and land-grabbers never had a worse time of it than they have now. I am informed that the boycotting of emergency cattle was never before more vigorously carried out. The League is a terror to land-grabbers, and I may mention a case which came under my own observation, where a land-grabber named Michael Walsh, who was under the protection of Mr. Balfour, came forward and offered an abject apology, offered to make any private or public, reparation, and to pay any fine that might be imposed by any properly-constituted tribunal, if he were re-admitted to the League. I hope—and I say it from my place in this House—that this man will be re-admitted and received with open arms. He has had enough of the protection of the right hon. Gentleman; it did him more harm than good; and I may add that the fine he is prepared to pay goes, not to the branch of the League, but to the owner of the property to compensate him for injuries done to it by the previous tenant. Thus it would appear that the object of the Coercion Act—to put down combination and organisation—has not been achieved. In fact, the suppressed branches hold their meetings regularly. I have had the honour of being at meetings of three suppressed branches: indeed, nothing is easier than to attend the meetings, although the people will not give information to the police. It may be said that this is a sign of a bad mind on the part of the people. Bur we say you have burnt into the souls of the Irish people the belief that the law, instead of protecting them, is used for their oppression, and you cannot expect to do away at once with an impression which has been created by centuries of misrule. The right hon. Gentleman has never done boasting of the progress he has made in the pacification of Ireland; but if he looks carefully through the whole of the statistics, and takes cognisance of the state of feeling at present existing, he will find he is very much as he began, and that the organisation he supposes he has crushed has, in reality, been the means of crushing his own policy, the people being more determined now than ever. He tells us he is anxious for a specific settlement of affairs in Ireland, and yet he has again and again refused the measures we have brought forward that would tend to bring about that result. If he really feels the anxiety he has expressed, why has he not dealt in a satisfactory and judicious manner with the question of arrears? All he has done has been to give the County Court Judge power of spreading the instalments over a greater number of years, and has failed to give us that which has been so successful in the North of Ireland. We have had some remarkable trials in reference to the utterances of the Press in Ireland, and not long ago Mr. Ryan, Q.C., who represented the Crown, when questioned as to his conduct of a particular case admitted that this Coercion Act, which is said not to have created any new crime, has created new crime. I would suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should get one of his Secretaries to write to Mr. Ryan, and question him on the subject. Before many days are over there will be an election in the Western Division of the County of Waterford, at which we shall be able to test what the people think of the policy of the right hon. Gentleman. He may sneer at such a test, but it is the only test we have, and we shall apply it at that election. The Duke of Devonshire has large property in the district, and so has Mr. Villiers Stuart, who was once a Member of this House, both of whom, will now be able to gauge the amount of influence they can exercise in the return of any nominee of theirs. None of us will go over to assist the National candidate, and yet I venture to say that while the candidate of our opponents may poll perhaps 500, our candidate, in, all probability, will poll between 4,000 and 5,000. I wish here to give an instance of the system of espionage which is carried on in Ireland, and of which English Members can have no possible idea. In England, I believe, you have one policeman to every 1,252 individuals, but in my constituency we have one policeman to every 314 persons, and the police complain that they are overworked and cannot fully perform their duties. I think there is something in that complaint, because of the extraordinary duties that are imposed upon them. I went to the December fair at Waterford, where I spoke to a constituent of mine named Horan. While doing so a policeman stood as close to us as the hon. Member immediately below me is to me. When spoken to be said—"I have been told off to look after this gentleman wherever he goes." Well, we went into two or three shops, into all of which the police followed us and remained there until we went out. I had occasion also to go to the National Bank, and a policeman followed me even there, and remained until I left. I could not do any business in the man's presence, and reported the matter to the manager of the Bank, telling him it was a shame that we could not do our business without being dogged in that way. I believe the manager communicated what had taken place to the authorities. That is a simple illustration of how, instead of looking after crime, the police are employed in looking after the political opponents of the Government. It may be remembered that in the case of "O' Brien v, Salisbury," tried at Lancaster, Captain Slacke, who is one of the satraps of the South of Ireland, was asked what was the condition of Waterford during the 10 years commencing with 1868. His reply was that it was remarkably quiet and peaceful, while in the succeeding 10 years it was turbulent. He also stated that the condition of Tipperary during the 10 years preceding the Land League was remarkably peaceful, but that after that it became very turbulent. He was then questioned as to the crime during those two periods, and was obliged to acknowledge that during the 10 years previous to the establishment of the Land League no less than 28 murders and attempted murders took place in Tipperary; but that in the 10 years subsequent to the establishment of the League there was not a single murder. When he was pressed upon the subject and asked—"Do you not consider that that was a remarkable index of the state of the county?" his reply was—"In the early days there was no combination, while in the later period there was combination"—a statement evidencing that in his mind the great sin of the Irish people was not agrarian crime, but the fact that they combined. These, Sir, are some of the reasons that induce me to give my support to the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Cork. I think the policy of the Government is exasperating, and that by the present system they are almost endeavouring to drive the Irish people into the commission of crime. I consider the policy of the right hon. Gentleman, whose name will never be forgotten in Ireland, has been futile to an eminent degree; that it has not subdued the spirit of our people, but has rather had the effect of stimulating and purifying it. He may introduce his County Government Bill. We will accept that measure for what it may be worth, and use it on our different platforms in making our larger demands. [Ministerial ironical cheers.] I would say to those who cheer that observation that we do not want to disguise our sentiments. We have never once admitted that any measure of County Government would settle the Irish Question, although it may settle the landlords. If we accept the measure we shall only accept it as an instalment; and it will be used, as I have stated, on so many platforms as a lever for obtaining the inalienable right of the Irish people to make their own laws in the capital of their own country.


I think it must have struck every one who has listened to this debate that its character represented very accurately the present political situation. Irishmen are quiet on the other side of the water, and Irishmen are quiet in the House of Commons. This Motion, which is made year after year, is, in fact, a Vote of Want of Confidence in Her Majesty's Government. It is a, hardy annual, which takes 12 months to grow, it flowers in February; and then disappears, I am happy to say, without leaving any seed behind. It is a matter of great satisfaction to those who sit on this side of the House that, there is one characteristic of these annual attacks, namely, that they become weaker and weaker from year to year. We all remember the vigorous attack made two years ago, which I may describe as the Mitchelstown-Dopping attack. Members came down to this House full of fire, not to say of fury; and I remember in particular my friend the senior Member for Northampton came down full of the deeds of valour executed at Mitchelstown. Well, that agitation vanished away. It was succeeded in the following year by the attack made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Morley), who was assisted by his leader, the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone), the principal attack on that occasion being the Mary Colliton attack, the "Mary" turning out to be really "Michael." On the present occasion we have had a renewed attack. The hon. Member for Cork had, as he thought, a grand opportunity, and I expected to hear from him a great speech, such a speech as from his well-known ability he is capable of making. Of the character of the speech he has made I leave the House to judge. They will be aided in forming that judgment by the silence of the hon. Gentleman's own compatriots on the other side of the House. When a Vote of Want of Confidence in Her Majesty's Government takes the form of a series of attacks on the Irish Administration in small Petty Sessions questions, which can have no possible effect on the great question at issue, and then culminates in an onslaught of three-quarters of an hour on prosecutions undertaken by the Government against the Press, I ask myself whether the hon. Member has not given up and abandoned the policy of which he was supposed to be the propounder, and to which the hon. Member who has just sat down has alluded. Sir, we have heard no mention in the hon. Member's speech of any alternative policy. I need hardly point out that if this Amendment is carried by a majority of this House it will have the effect of displacing those Gentlemen who now sit on the Treasury Bench, and will place gentlemen opposite in power. Therefore, I imagine that in proposing a Vote of Want of Confidence we should have had from the hon. Member for Cork at least some indication of the policy which he and his friends would carry into effect, if they were placed in the same position as those now sitting on the Treasury Bench. This is a vote of a very serious character. It includes the whole system of Her Majesty's Government in dealing with Ireland, and attacks it root and branch. If the Amendment is carried it carries with it an absolute condemnation of the policy of the Government and the Unionist policy. Well, Sir, I have read this Amendment with considerable attention, and it appears to me so utterly unlike anything I should have expected from the hon. Member for Cork, whose ability and astuteness I greatly admire and acknowledge, that I hardly believe he can have drawn it up himself. I think it must have been done by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. Shaw Lefevre), who has distinguished himself beyond any other Member of the House, in present as well as in former times, as the greatest manufacturer and discoverer of mare's nests. The reason why I decline to believe that the hon. Member for Cork drew up this Amendment is that the first count in the indictment is destroyed by the other two. The first count in the indictment is— That the happy growth of peaceful and amicable relations between the peoples of Ireland and of Great Britain has been grievously impeded by the unjust, exasperating, and futile administration not only of the exceptional repressive legislation of the year 1887 but of the ordinary Criminal Code by Her Majesty's Government. If this be true we might naturally expect that Ireland would be in a terrible state of confusion; that crime and outrage would be rampant; that conspiracy in Ireland would be rife; and that life and property would no longer be safe, while the Irish people generally would be in a state of seething fomentation. But the hon. Gentleman goes on to say in the very next line that— Notwithstanding the long-continued tranquillity of the country, considerable sections of the Irish people are still harassed with invasions of their liberties and alienated from the Law by the conduct and character of many of its administrators, and large bodies of Irish tenants, whose sufferings brought about the Land Act of 1887, are debarred from the benefits of that Act, deprived of the right of combination and of public meeting, and subjected to wholesale eviction in the interest of landlord combinations, despite their repeatedly-expressed readiness to submit the justice of their claims to the judgment of any Court of Arbitration. I venture to say—and in doing so I defy contradiction—that there is no man in this House who four or five years ago was sanguine enough to expect we should hear from the lips of the hon. Member for Cork an admission that under the oppressive and tyrannical sway of the Unionist Government, and especially under the administration of the Chief Secretary—Ireland has at length obtained that long desired position of settled peace and tranquillity. Why, Sir, it has not required 20 years of firm and resolute Government to bring about this happy result; it has only required three. I think I know my countrymen pretty well. I live in Ireland, and hope I shall continue to live there, and I am happy to say I have always got on pretty well with the Irish people. Having this knowledge of my countrymen, I have always entertained the belief that they are extremely easily governed. All they want is a settled Government, with settled principles, which they mean at all hazards to maintain. So when I find that Session after Session the attack on the Government gets weaker and weaker, and when I also find that Session after Session hon. Members opposite employ weaker and weaker engines of assault on the policy of the Government, I think I am right in saying that all we need to do is to sit still and give them rope enough, in which case they are sure to hang themselves in the end. With regard to the two principal counts in the indictment brought forward by the hon. Member for Cork, the House will remember that he devoted most of his time to the reading of very long extracts from trials which had taken place at various Petty Sessions in Ireland, which did not appear very interesting' to him, and which I do not think proved at all interesting to the House. The hon. Member in the course of his speech accused the Government of interfering with the right which he claims for the Irish tenant—the right of combination. He said the Government dared not interfere with the dockmen in London as they constantly interfered with the tenantry in Ireland. Of course not. You have no power of boycotting in England or in Scotland as you have in Ireland. You must have behind you a similar combination, and you must also have behind you a sanction of some kind to boycotting. You have not got that sanction in this country, and it is absurd to suppose that Her Majesty's Govern- ment, or any sane man, would attempt to interfere with any labour combination in this country simply because these combinations were carried on on absolutely legal grounds. For my part, I do not think that anything has ever redounded more to the honour of the British working man than the conduct of the dockmen during the recent strike. We did not hear of intimidation, we did not hoar of outrage, or of any houghing of cattle, or burning of houses. We did not hear either of murder not being denounced, and therefore Her Majesty's Government very naturally did not interfere, and cannot interfere, in a free country with these combinations. These combinations are the very foundation of the liberties of the working classes in England, but that certainly does not apply to Ireland. The Government interfere in Ireland with combinations and boycotting, which is essential to combination, and it interferes with them because boycotting and combination in Ireland are not a spontaneous growth which emanates from the Irish people, but they are fomented and created by a political party, not for the welfare of the tenants, but for the furtherance of their own political ends. The hon. Member for Cork failed altogether in the parallel he attempted to draw, and the same failure is made by other hon. Members in the speeches wherein they attempt to institute a parallel between lawful combination as it exists in England and unlawful combination as it exists with the sanction of boycotting and crime in Ireland. I am greatly pleased with the instances which hon. Members opposite have adduced of the tyranny and oppression which prevail in Ireland. Hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite are thoroughly acquainted with Irish affairs and with Irishmen themselves. Having, therefore, the best means of information, their lynx-eyes are fixed upon the Chief Secretary, in order to see whether they can detect any flaw, if any flan exists, or discover any injustice, if any injustice exists. They have been engaged for the last year in reading up everything in which they might discover, and be enabled to prove, if possible, that Lord Salisbury's Government in Ireland is an unjust Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, who has all sorts of information at his disposal, made a speech the other day at Chester, in which, as his chief specimen of the injustice which exists in Ireland, he spoke of the case of the two strolling ballad singers who were taken up because the ballads they sung were to the effect that when landlord oppression was got rid of there would be peace in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman went on to make some remarks about the solitary position of Lord Harrington, into which I will not at present go. But I must say that the case he alluded to was not one that was tried under the Crimes Act; it was one of a, kind that often happens in England, and was tried under the Vagrancy Act, not by what has been termed an irrremovable magistrate, but in ordinary Petty Sessions. This, then, was the great ease which the right hon. Gentleman made his chief accusation against. Her Majesty's Government. It so happened that at Crossnaglen in Armagh tramps had been committing depredations and certain petty thefts, and the magistrates were forced to take steps against them, and these two tramps, vagrants who went about singing ballads in the streets, and who had been warned over and over again to desist from pursuing the course of life they were living in that country, were summoned before this tyrannical Court and sentenced to fine and imprisonment, that is to say, they did not pay the fine and were sent to gaol. But this is what happens constantly in England and Wales. I do not know whether it is so in Scotland, and yet such is the great case which after a year's labour on the part of the right hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues he was able to rake up in order to influence the Partick Election, which has resulted in so complete a triumph for our side. That was the specimen he gave of what he described as unjust and tyrannical conduct on the part of Her Majesty's Government. The fact is that the Government and the Crimes Act which was passed by this House have no more to answer for in relation to that transaction than the right hon. Gentleman himself. I think it is greatly to the credit of the Government that, after a year's effort on the part of Gentlemen whose ingenuity no one can deny, the two great cases brought against us as instances of injustice are the vagrant case cited at Chester and the case which was cited by the hon. Member for Cork, which turns out to have been a case heard under the same Vagrancy Act in Ireland. There is another statement in this Amendment of the hon. Member for Cork. He tells us that a section of the Irish people are interfered with and harassed by the law, but he admits that the people—I suppose he means the whole people—are in a state of absolute tranquillity. I do not think that anyone who knows Ireland will say that any law-abiding man is interfered with by the Crimes Act. Any law-abiding man can go about his business and transact his affairs and express his opinions with the same freedom that he can in England. Scotland, or Wales. There is only one liberty that is taken away from the Irish people, and that is, the liberty of making free with the property and lives of other people. The law is a terror to evildoers. These are the only people who are exasperated, but it is now generally recognised that the greatest good of the greatest number ought to be the great object in view, and it therefore should be a source of gratification to hon. Gentlemen that they are securing the tranquillity of the bulk of the Irish people by those periods of enforced retirement which many of them so cheerfully and wilfully indulge in at intervals. Now, I must say there was one omission from the speech of the hon. Member for Cork which struck me with astonishment. The hon. Member has been telling us to-night of the condition of Ireland. Now, practically, at the present moment in Ireland there are only two or three places in which a very vigorous battle is going on. Tipperary is the centre of action and is an exception to the rest of the country, and it is somewhat strange that the hon. Member for Cork did not say anything with regard to the state of things at Tipperary at the present time. Perhaps the hon. Member does not approve of what is going on there. The fight now proceeding at Tipperary is a very severe and very remarkable one. How did it arise? I see no allusion to its origin in speeches made on this side of the water recently. If anyone told the electors at Partick about it they at any rate did not succeed. How did that battle originate—how is it carried on? I do not intend to go into any details, and I do not wish to trouble the House with the full particulars, as they will be dealt with by others who have far more title than I have to deal with them. Briefly, however, the battle occurred thus: The Ponsonby estate was the first field of action. Here the Plan of Campaign was started. It is a property on which the tenants are most solvent and well-to-do. They have a merciful landlord, and it cannot be said that he refused his tenants fair terms. [An Irish MEMBER: "Oh, oh!"] Hon. Members may hold a contrary view, but I defy their ability to prove their contention. Mr. Ponsonby is a resident landlord. [" No, no!"] [An Irish MEMBER: He lives in Hampshire]. At any rate, he is a gentleman who lives a considerable part of the year in Ireland, and a large sum of money has been spent by him in improving his estate—I believe some £10,000. [An IRISH MEMBER: Borrowed from the Board of Works.] A very fair offer was made by this landlord to his tenants—so fair that one of the Judges said it was the fairest offer he had ever heard a landlord make to his tenants. Well, the Ponsonby tenants did not accept the offer, and why did they not accept it? Why, because they dared not. We have an organisation in Ireland which has laid down certain laws which, like the laws of the Medes and Persians, must not be disobeyed. This is the sort of statement we have made about the condition of the estate. The hon. Member for Mayo declared in this House—"I can point to men who can pay, and will not pay, because I tell them not to pay." There are men in Ireland who avow that they can pay, but refuse to do so because there is a Plan of Campaign. It is, therefore, easy to understand the effect produced by the great eloquence of the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. William O'Brien) opposite, when he goes to an estate like that of Mr. Ponsonby to remind the tenants of the duty they owe to their country—that his advice is enforced by Tipperary "heroes," who are manufactured not only by eloquence but by paving stones and black- thorn sticks—it is easy, I say, to understand that tenants like these of Mr. Ponsonby do not dare to accept the generous offer their landlord has made them. Therefore, my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Smith-Barry), who well deserves all honour from every loyal man, determined, as far as in him lay, that Mr. Ponson by should not be overridden and trampled on by the Member for North-East Cork. What has been the result of the policy of revenge which has been adopted by the Member for North-East Cork? He cannot allege that he went to Tipperary because the hon. Member for Huntingdon is a tyrannical and rack-renting landlord, for that would be flying against the deputation of priests and people who admitted last year that my hon. Friend has always been a generous and considerate landlord. The hon. Member for North-East Cork went there in order to beat down my hon. Friend—and he never attempted a more hopeless task—and in order to gratify a policy of revenge, which I do not think this House will ever sanction. The hon. Member went to Tipperary and hounded on the people, who had no complaint to make of my hon. Friend, to refuse him his just rents. The result is a depopulated town. Men who have been in affluence and have enjoyed all the comforts of life have been turned out of their houses by the hon. Member for North-East Cork in order to gratify his own revenge, so that he may go down to Tipperary and elsewhere and say to the people of Ireland, "See, I have brought down Mr. Smith-Barry to his knees." The hon. Member has not done that yet. He never undertook to beat down a tougher customer than my hon. Friend. I do not think there is any danger of my hon. Friend losing, as he does not stand alone in the fight. He is backed, and will be assisted, by every man who values real freedom in Ireland. There is a delightful simplicity about the Plan of Campaign. I will explain in a few words what it is. It is beautiful and satisfactory to some persons. Let us imagine a tenant who owes his landlord £100 for a year's rent. Well, the hon. Member for North-East Cork goes down to the district and tells the tenant that he must join the Plan and ask for a reduction of 40 per cent. The landlord often offers 25, or even 30 per cent reduction, but that offer is not accepted. Consequently, the tenant keeps £40 himself, which he owes to his landlord, and the £60, which he also owes to his land lord, is turned over into the "war chest" of the Plan of Campaign. "War chest" is not my own expression. It is the technical phrase which describes the receptacle to which so much goes in and from which so little comes out. [An hon. MEMBER: Tell that to the marines.] I am not speaking to the marines, but to the British House of Commons. The £60 which goes into the "war chest" is devoted to the payment of law expenses, and to fighting the battle of the tenant against the landlord. Perhaps it goes to pay law expenses, and I am not surprised that when the Plan was adopted so many hon. Members opposite adopted the Legal Profession. That is one of the professions which really pay in Ireland. Well, that is the Plan of Campaign. Anybody can carry it in his head. You can easily understand that the landlord does not approve of it, and you can also understand that the tenant for the moment thinks it not so bad. Well, Sir, the hon. Member for the City of Cork told us something about the wrongs and woes of Ireland. As far as I can make out now, they are centred in the prosecutions which the Press suffer. That has not always been the opinion of the hon. Member. It is an interesting thing to hear the opinions of the hon. Member for Cork. I acknowledge the hon. Member's position. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone) has reminded us with a look of profound veneration that the hon. Member is the uncrowned King of Ireland. I have no objection to the hon. Member retaining that title, but we do not mean him ever to be the crowned King of Ireland. A short time ago the hon. Member delivered speeches at Liverpool and Nottingham, and gave some details with regard to the condition of the Irish people. The hon. Member made a most remarkable discovery. He said that the Irish tenants were much dependent upon the landlords, who confiscated their improvements, leaving them nothing but potatoes to live on. The hon. Member added that very often the tenants had only potato skins to live on. I suppose the landlords eat the potatoes and hand the skins to the tenants Then the hon. Member went on to describe what really is the national aspiration, saying— The best way in which we can promote the nationality of Ireland is by constructing harbours, cleansing our rivers, and making canals and arterial drains, not at your expense, as Mr. A. J. Balfour proposes, but at our own. Well, all I can say is that I never in my life met an Irishman who would do work at his own expense when he could find some one else to take the pecuniary burden off his shoulders. But the hon. Member was not content with that remarkable description of Irish nationality; he was not content with describing this intense longing and desire on the part of potato-skin filled natives to dig canals, to turn the bottoms out of rivers, and to sweep the sand out of harbours. He went on to say how the degradation of the Irish people had been accomplished. He said that, when the happy days arrived, Ireland, instead of being a drag on your resources, a Lazarus by the wayside, an exhibition provoking the wonder and the scorn of the nations of the world, the pauper sister of England, could at last clothe herself in decent garments and look to her future with some self-confidence. These things must be done at our expense and with our exertions. It appears, therefore, that it is not the Chief Secretary for Ireland and his tyrannical Government who have sapped and destroyed the energies of Ireland, but that it is the flood of British capital that has checked and swallowed up and destroyed that self-confidence, which in different circumstances any beggar would feel. I do not deny that the hon. Member for Cork ought to be a good judge of beggars, for I consider that persons are beggars who go round the world hat in hand. Those, indeed, are the beggars who make Ireland the scorn of the nations of the world. The only indication of a policy which has come from the opposite side of the House is that contained in the Liverpool and Nottingham speeches of the hon. Member for Cork, when he proclaimed this extraordinary desire of the Irish people to execute engineering and other works, not at the expense of England, but at their own expense. I do not think that the House of Commons will be persuaded to discard the present Government in order to adopt so nebulous a policy. Before accepting the Amendment I suppose hon. Members will ask themselves whether the Government have carried out what they undertook to do. What did they undertake to do? They undertook to substitute the law of the land for the law of the League, and the returns of crime prove conclusively that they have succeeded in doing so. If crime and outrage continue to diminish in the same ratio for a year or two more hon. Members opposite will find themselves compelled to present a pair of white gloves to the head of Her Majesty's Government. The Government never undertook to satisfy that section of the Irish people alluded to in the Amendment, and I hope they never will. What they undertook to do was to make the law respected and obeyed in Ireland, and they have done it. Nobody denies that Ireland is now absolutely tranquil. The most sanguine Unionist a few short years ago could not have hoped to be able to point in 1890 to a tranquil, peaceful, and prosperous Ireland. We can do so, and I say, Sir, the fact is a happy one for Ireland, and a triumphant crown to the policy of Her Majesty's Government. We can point to an Ireland quiet, thriving, increasing in wealth and prosperity. The only discontent to be discovered is among that section alluded to in the Amendment, the section which cannot endure that cold tranquillity which is the destruction of agitators. As an Irishman, I hope and expect that under a determined and just and generous policy Ireland will come to her senses, know her true friends, and rally round the men who have her prosperity and not their own at heart. We see in the immediate future, not the vision of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, the letters of fire telling of coming doom, but the light that comes from the dawn of happier and brighter days.

MR. SHEEHY (Galway, S.)

I do not attempt to follow the hon. Member for Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) into his laboured jokes. I am here for serious work and not for jokes. The hon. Member gave a fanciful description to the House of the Plan of Campaign. I will give a description from my point of view of the Plan of Campaign. It is a combination which has been tried in Ireland for three years, and which has been unconquered and is unconquerable to the present day. Every day we have the newspapers reporting, "Another victory for the Plan of Campaign." The hon. Member presumed to speak for the men of Tipperary. I wonder who gave him authority to speak for the men of Tipperary. The hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Smith-Barry), and he alone has given him that authority. Will the hon. Member (Colonel Saunderson) go down to Tipperary and canvass the people there as to whether he has a right to speak for them? If the men of Tipperary give him authority, I shall have no more to say. As to the hon. Member for Huntingdon and his bravery in this battle, the people of Tipperary are as brave as the hon. Member; and they will fight the fight out with him. This is not merely a fight between the people of Tipperary and the Member for Huntingdon; it is a fight also between Ireland and the Government. When this Government dies and I see evidence of death already, the fight will then be over. It has been stated that the hon. Member for Huntingdon is a good and just landlord, and that in recent times his relations with his tenants have been of the most amicable character. Why, Sir, he had not the courage to fight the people of Tipperary! While the hon. Member for Huntingdon was giving reductions to his own tenants, he was begging every other lahdlord in Tipperary to refuse reductions. This is why the people of Tipperary, their patience becoming exhausted by the way in which their money was being used against other people in the South of Ireland, determined that it should no longer be put to such vile uses. So they entered this issue with the hon. Member, and I think, when he comes out of it, he will be a wiser, and also a sadder man. The right, hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland (Mr. Madden) challenged the hon. Member for Cork to give any instances of prosecutions of nowsvendors and children in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman seems to have forgotten the prosecution of Mr. Roche in Tralee, of Mr. Broslin in Clare, and of another man in Ennis for selling the United. Ireland. He seems also to have forgotten a great number of cases about which questions were put to the right hon. Gentleman the Irish Secretary (Mr. A. J. Balfour) in this House by Mr. Flynn in 1888. The cases about which these questions were asked were those of Denis Desmond, a young lad, for refusing to sell a copy of United Ireland to a policeman; that of another boy for refusing to sell a copy of United Ireland to a police sergeant; that of John Reilly, a young lad, for the same thing; that of Cornelius Buckley for the same thing; those of Patrick Bradley and Patrick Hamilton, young lads, for the same thing; and that of Michael Murphy, an old man of 70, for the same thing. An inquiry was asked for into these cases, and of course the right hon. Gentleman did not order one, but it is rather amazing for him, in view of these facts, to challenge any Member to produce cases of the kind. But, curiously enough, the right hon. Gentleman referred to the case of Mr. McHugh, of Sligo, and all he had to say about that case was not that it was not a Press prosecution, but that the County Court Judge, Mr. Morris, confirmed the sentence. He said also that the prosecution was in accordance with the law. Our complaint is that it is the law. Great stress has been laid on the fact that the accusation against Mr. Feeley was that of intimidation. The accusation is one thing, however, and the evidence is another. The only evidence was that he was seen speaking to an intending buyer. Our complaint is that in this country, and in any other country, except Ireland, it is perfectly lawful for a man to remonstrate with another about any act that he is about to perform. We have no evidence that Mr. Feeley did offer a remonstrance, but if he did, we say such a remonstrance was perfectly legitimate on his part, although we know it is not lawful according to the Coercion Act. We had evidence three weeks ago of a young man going into a shop in Tippe- rary and remonstrating with his own relative for supplying the police, and, though the shopkeeper declared on oath that he was not intimidated, the young man was sent to gaol for six months and ordered to find bail for good behaviour for six months more. The application of the Coercion Act in Ireland has not led, and is not likely to lead, to peace and contentment, but is likely to provoke wild passions among the people. An extraordinary scene occurred recently in the town of Tipperary. A most respectable young man who was highly esteemed and beloved in the town and district died rather suddenly. At his funeral the greatest respect for him was manifested, and what was the attitude taken by the Government and its officials? At the solemn moment when the coffin was being conveyed to the church the authorities issued a proclamation, posted it on a wall opposite the church, and placed four policemen round it as a guard. A large body of police armed with rifles was drawn up opposite the church. Groups of constables were also stationed at various points in the town and the streets swarmed with detectives. In the day of sorrow and mourning all this was very hard to bear, and it became worse later on, because the sacred place where the dead man was laid to rest was not safe from the contumely and unsympathetic conduct of the police. Four waggon loads of policemen actually drove through the procession to reach the burial ground, and, as the remains were being lowered into their last resting place, the police endeavoured to got nearer the grave. This is but a sample of the methods that are used by the Governmenton every possible occasion in Ireland. They want to provoke riot because they want to have blood. We have shown we have no fear for ourselves, but when we attempt to address a public audience in Ireland we shudder at the responsibility of asking our people to meet us, because by so doing we expose them to the batons, the bayonets, and the buckshot of the police. The right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland said there was one class of people in Ireland who had no fear of the Coercion Act. Yes, there is one class—the landlord class, as represented by the hon. Member for Huntingdon (Mr. Smith-Barry). His agents are allowed to walk at large in the streets of Tipperary, and to flourish their revolvers. They are brutal, cowardly ruffians gathered from the slums of the cities, and if a citizen terrified out of his life dares to go to a Court for protection, the man is defended and the revolver is restored to him. The right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General said the other day that Mr. John Slattery, who is now being prosecuted by the Government, was the organiser of boycotting in the South of Ireland. What right has the right hon. Gentleman to use such, language? He might have learnt from the case of Peggy Dillon that it is not quite safe to speak of as respectable people as himself in insulting and offensive language. He spoke of Peggy Dillon in the same way, and we have it on record how the right hon. Gentleman ran away from Peggy Dillon. I have only to say in conclusion that it is not fear that is causing tranquillity in Ireland, but hope, and nothing you can do will destroy that hope. We can endure your treatment, and we have endured it up to the present time. We have beaten you on every platform; we have beaten you even in your gaols, and now we have come to the dawn of better days we have no fear for the hope or the patience of the Irish people.

Motion made, and Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned,"—(Mr. W. O'Brien,)—put, and agreed to.

Debate adjourned till Monday next.