Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £50,571, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1891, for Criminal Prosecutions and other Law Charges in Ireland.
§ *(4.36) MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
On this Vote it will not be a matter of surprise to the Committee that many Irish Members have many matters 1744 which they consider of great importance to bring under its notice, for I regret to say—although from one point of view it is not a matter for regret—that the exceptional law passed in 1887 to put down agricultural combinations in Ireland continues to be enforced in a manner that shocks all notions of common justice and outrages the general sentiment of the Irish community. I myself have been asked by several of my colleagues to deal with one particular prosecution, with the circumstances of which I happen to be specially acquainted, and I have gladly consented to do so, because I think it is a case which ought to be made known to the House of Commons and to the people of Great Britain as illustrating the monstrous and even ridiculous lengths to which the law of conspiracy as administered by the Chief Secretary's paid and removable Magistrates is carried in the interest of Irish landlords. The case to which I refer is that of Mr. John Kelly, who, for the second time within the last 18 months has been sentenced to, and is now undergoing, a cruel punishment for no act or word that nine out of any 10 men in any part of the civilised world would, for one moment, consider morally wrong, and which, I venture to add, no jury in Great Britain, empanelled as juries usually are in this country, could be got to pronounce unlawful. This, Sir, is a so-called conspiracy case. I have no intention of inflicting on the Committee a disquisition upon the intricate subject of the law of conspiracy, but to make clear the argument I intend to advance I may be allowed to say one or two words on the matter by way of preliminary explanation. In this country there have been times—times of social and political disturbance—when the Judicial Bench have manifested a tendency to widen the area of the law of criminal conspiracy. That tendency in England has almost invariably been checked by the intervention of the Legislature on the side of the so-called disturbers of the peace. For instance, Lord Bramwell and Lord Esher, 20 years ago, in the Trades Union cases, carried the doctrine of conspiracy against combinations of workmen to such an extent that in 1875 an Act was passed over-ruling their decisions, and now it is the law of the 1745 land, so far as Trades Unions are concerned, that no combination to do, or to procure to be done, any act in furtherance of a dispute between employers and workmen shall be indictable if the act complained of would not be punishable as a crime when committed by one person. In our country, too, the same tendency has been observable in times of disturbance, to widen the meshes of the conspiracy net, and even to go beyond the Bramwells and the Eshers, for—and this is an important point, which I do not think any lawyer in this House will venture to contravert—the Judges in Ireland have laid down as law in the case of the "Queen v. Parnell," and subsequent cases, what Mr. Justice Stephen declares has never been decided by any English Court, namely, that a combination to break a contract is in itself an indictable offence. But, unfortunately, this Parliament has never been as careful of popular rights in Ireland as it has wisely shown itself of popular rights in England. It has never intervened in our case against the Judges and for the people. On the contrary, by the last Coercion Act, if certain decisions under that Act are right, it has revived and enacted, for the special behoof of agricultural combinations in Ireland, the doctrines of Lord Bramwell which have been expressly set aside in favour of Trades Unions in England. Lord Bramwell laid it down that a combination to restrain freedom of will and action by means which were not criminal, but which a Jury might think merely improper, was itself criminal. That is not now the law for English working men. But in a proclaimed district in Ireland, such a combination—and this is the very combination into which Mr. John Kelly is said to have entered, as I shall show—is still criminal, if those entering into it are agricultural tenants or their friends. Now, this is the first point I desire to press with the utmost emphasis on the Committee. Mr. Kelly, if he were a Trades Unionist or an agent of a Trades Union in England or Scotland, could not even have been indicted, much less punished, for the acts for which, because they were done in Ireland, and in behalf of agricultural tenants, he is now in gaol. He was charged with entering into a conspiracy to restrain the freedom of will and action of the 1746 tenants of Mr. Smith-Barry in Tipperary, by means which were criminal in themselves, but which, because his scene of action was the estate of Mr, Smith-Barry, and not the theatre of an English or Scotch strike of workmen, become criminal enough to cause him to be consigned to prison as a common malefactor. If there were nothing more in the case than this one fact, his prosecution and conviction would be a serious matter, for who will contend that it is wise or safe to have it so forcibly brought home to the minds of the people of Tipperary, and the rest of Ireland outside its towns—to the minds, in fact, of the whole agricultural population of Ireland—that they are denied rights of the utmost importance which, for 15 years, have been guaranteed by express provision of the Legislature to their fellow working men in the towns and cities of Great Britain? You have taught too many lessons of that sort to the Irish people-already, and the result is the deep-rooted detestation of your rule which fills, and rightly fills, their minds. But the case of Mr. Kelly is worse than I have so far described it. He was charged with two-offences. He was charged, first, with entering into a conspiracy to compel or induce the tenants of Mr. Smith-Barry not to pay their rents; and, secondly with using intimidation towards them to-that end. Now, I invite the attention of hon. Members to the all-important, fact that the second charge was dismissed on the merits. He was found, as a matter of fact, not to have used intimidation. This fact, I venture to submit clears the ground considerably. Whatever else Mr. Kelly did on the occasion of his alleged crime, we have it on the unimpeachable authority—unimpeachable, at least, on this subject—of two Resident Magistrates that he was not guilty of at least the crime of intimidation, which always evokes so readily the indignant eloquence of the Chief Secretary. But what about the charge of conspiracy of which he was convicted? How was that accusation sustained? I have read every word of the depositions taken before the Magistrates, and can give a copy of those depositions to any one in this House who desires to read them, and, therefore, what I am about to say now is not hearsay, or derived from those 1747 objects of the Chief Secretary's constant vituperation, the Irish newspapers. The only acts of his own, proved against Mr. Kelly, were that he went on an outside car through the Smith-Barry estate; that he entered, in company with one or two other persons, the houses of some of the tenants; that he partook of the hospitality of one of the tenants; and that at the house of another tenant he took part in conversation, which is reported as follows by a police spy who was concealed behind a hedge:—Mrs. Maher (wife of the tenant): There is the real campaign ground above.Mr. Michael O'Dwyer: That is the woman to fight.Mr. John Kelly: I find that the women are a great deal more determined for us than the men.This is absolutely all. Not another word or act of his own was proved against Mr. Kelly. Well, in all this, taken by itself, there is manifestly nothing wrong, either legally or morally. The Removables could spell nothing out of it to his detriment. Not even the inventive genius of Lord Bramwell himself—so inventive of bogus conspiracies—could discover in it any evidence of legal guilt. It is not, yet at least, a crime to go on an outside car through a proclaimed district of Ireland, or to visit the houses of the tenantry in such a district or to accept their humble hospitality, or to pay a compliment, in a spirit of gallantry, to a peasant's wife; and, therefore, it was that the Removables acquitted Mr. Kelly of having used intimidation. But—and here now is the second great point in this case—the elastic law of conspiracy in an ultra-Bram well fashion intervened to bag the Chief Secretary's game when all other expedients had failed, and when Mr. Kelly could not be convicted for his own acts alone. If Mr. Kelly himself did nothing illegal, somebody else did something in the same district which might be construed into illegality, and that was enough. On the 2nd December last a Mr. O'Dwyer, who was tried with Mr. Kelly on the charge of conspiracy and intimidation, delivered a speech in Cashel, of a character alleged to be illegal. Mr. Kelly was not present when the delivered it. He was not even in the district before or at the time O'Dwyer spoke, nor for a month afterwards. He did not know of the existence of such a 1748 man as O'Dwyer for four weeks afterwards. It will hardly be believed, but it is nevertheless true, that this speech of Mr. O'Dwyer, spoken in Mr. Kelly's absence and without his knowledge, was given in evidence against Mr. Kelly, and it was held that the harmless words Mr. Kelly spoke to Mr. Maher, and which I have already quoted, connected him with that speech, and made him responsible for it. It was held that when he said "the women are more determined for us than the men," he meant by the word "us" O'Dwyer and himself, and that in making this alleged reference to O'Dwyer he identified himself with everything that O'Dwyer had said and done on previous occasions when Mr. Kelly had not even known or heard of O'Dwyer. Moreover, Mr. William O'Brien, the Member for North-East Cork, also delivered a speech in the Cashel District, in June of last year. It was alleged to be of an illegal character. It is more than doubtful whether it was illegal. The Government themselves were so doubtful on the point that they suddenly dropped a prosecution, which they initiated in respect of it. But however that may be, that speech, too, delivered in Mr. Kelly's absence, delivered in Cashel six months before Mr. Kelly had even set foot in that place, delivered without any previous conference with Mr. Kelly—for Mr. Kelly was actually in gaol when it was delivered—was given in evidence against Mr. Kelly, and again his words to Mr. Maher—his use of the simple pronoun "us"—were held to connect him with it, and to make him responsible for it. And on the strength of those two speeches, not spoken by himself, or in his presence, or with his consent, Mr. Kelly was convicted of conspiracy, and sentenced to four months' imprisonment with hard labour—a sentence more severe than that often inflicted on men guilty of base and brutal crime. I ask every candid man who listens to me, whether he sits on that side of the House or on this, whether this use of the law of conspiracy, be it legally justifiable or not, is not, from the point of view of simple justice, utterly monstrous and even ridiculous? Could such a prosecution and conviction have taken place in England? But there is another point. In England, or in Scotland, as I have already shown, 1749 Mr. Kelly could not even have been indicted if he had acted in the course of a Trades Union dispute the part he acted in Tipperary. I may now remind the Committee, in addition, that if he were indicted in this country for acting such a part in the course of any other dispute he should be tried by a Jury, and I state only what everyone knows when I say that in past times of crisis in England Juries have often refused, especially in conspiracy cases, to follow the rulings of Judges, and have thereby laid the very foundations of much of the liberty which Englishmen now enjoy. But in Ireland, for the first time in the history of the law of conspiracy, the question of fact involved is decided by the same tribunal as decides the question of law, and by the Coercion Act now in force Mr. Kelly, and all other men accused of conspiracies such as that now under discussion, are deprived of the protection of Juries, and are tried by two paid and removable agents of the very authority which prefers the charge, and which is vitally interested in getting a conviction. Even if the Magistrates in question were as immaculate as any Magistrates who ever lived—and I am not now alleging against them, or imputing to them, any personal dishonesty whatever, for I am not discussing, in fact, their action at all, but the action of the prosecutors in the case—I say that the substitution of this new tribunal for the old-established tribunal of a Jury in such a case and under such circumstances is well calculated to aggravate the public discontent which under all circumstances accompanies the administration of the present Coercion Act. I have seen the section of the Coercion Act which abolished Juries in certain eases, described as effecting only a change of procedure. A change of procedure, forsooth! A fundamental change in the Constitution in the Russian or Turkish direction, if frankly, openly, and formally made, would be far less objectionable. I think I know what the Chief Secretary will say in defence of the prosecution of Mr. Kelly. I guess it from what he has said before in reference to that gentleman. He will say, in the first place, that he was an agent of the promoters of the Plan of Campaign. To this allegation I reply that it is a self-evident absurdity, seeing that the Plan of Campaign does not exist 1750 and has never existed, or been promoted on the Smith-Barry Estate in Tipperary. But if it be true, then it ought to have been proved at the trial of Mr. Kelly, and it has never been proved. I contend, moreover, that the movement on the Smith-Barry Estate in Tipperary, whatever else it may be, has never been proved to be illegal in any way. But if it be illegal, then I say, again, the fact ought to be proved before anyone is accused or convicted of taking-part in it. This was the course pursued when it was sought to make men responsible for taking part in the Plan of Campaign. The speeches of my hon. Friends the Members for East Mayo and North-East Cork on the subject of the Plan of Campaign were specially reported, and judicial pronouncements were had upon them; and then only it was that criminal proceedings were instituted against individuals for taking part in the Plan of Campaign. In this case no such course has been adopted, and, consequently, I deny the right of the Chief Secretary to say that Mr. Kelly was necessarily guilty of crime in joining the movement in Tipperary, even if it be proved, which was not proved, that he did join that movement. The Chief Secretary will, doubtless, say-in the second place, that Mr. Kelly is a bad character, that he has been in gaol before under his Coercion Act, that he was in gaol also in the Land League times, and that he has been engaged in infamous work, as he said last year in a speech in Scotland a few days before Mr. Kelly's appeal was to come on before the County Court Judge of Donegal when a sense of decency ought to have prevented him from saying anything at all on the subject. In reply, I say it is; perfectly true that this is the fourth time that Mr. Kelly has been sent to gaol, and that three-fourths of the Irish people, knowing the character of his alleged crimes, honour and admire him for his courage and devotion. I have the pleasure of his acquaintance myself, and I should be ashamed of myself if, on this occasion, I did not say that I know him to be an honest, a courageous, and a self-sacrificing man, and that there is in him more moral worth and grit, and a higher appreciation of the duty one owes to his country, than in the whole gang of his persecutors, including some Ministers of the Crown. He has 1751 been in gaol before; so have been all the best men in Ireland; and whether Mr. Kelly has been imprisoned by the present Government, or by a Liberal Government, his imprisonment has been equally an outrage on justice. He has been engaged in infamous work, said the right hon. Gentleman last year. Right and wrong have been so confused by the administration of the Coercion Act that possibly the right hon. Gentleman himself is by this time unable to distinguish the one from the other. But, be that as it may, I may tell the Committee that the work of Mr. Kelly for the last three years—the work for which he has thrown up a prosperous commercial career, for doing which he has gone absolutely without any remuneration, except his expenses out of pocket, for doing which he has been shadowed and otherwise persecuted every day of his life—is providing shelter for and looking after the wants of the evicted tenants of Ireland in those districts where the policy of the right hon. Gentleman has found its bitterest expression in the extermination schemes of various landlord conspiracies. That has been Mr. Kelly's work, and that is work of which he need not be ashamed, and for which I hope the Irish people, at least, will see that he is ' suitably rewarded. The Chief Secretary will perhaps say, finally, that at any rate the decision of the Magistrates has been confirmed by a Division -of the High Court in Dublin, and that, therefore, the prosecution has been vindicated by the highest legal authority. The answer is easy. The Court in Dublin affirmed the conviction of the Magistrates, but it did not express any approval of that conviction. The distinction is well known to lawyers. In deciding on a case stated, or on a motion for habeas corpus, the province of the Judge is simply to say whether there is any evidence at all from which a man might infer the guilt of the accused; he is not called upon, and he is not empowered, to say that if there be any evidence it is such evidence as would warrant a conviction. In this case the High Court merely decided that the speeches of Mr. O'Brien and Mr. O'Dwyer, to which I have referred at length, might be admitted in evidence, and so the action of the Government in bringing and persevering with the prosecution stands absolutely 1752 without approval by any other authority competent to pronounce on the subject. Mr. Courtney, under all the circumstances, I, for one, have no hesitation in saying that that action of the Government is a stain on the administration of the law and a gross abuse of the forms of justice.
§ (5.10.) MR. W. A. MACDONALD (Queen's Co., Ossory)
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian last year made a speech in the country in which he spoke plainly of the jury packing carried on by the present Government, and he said that the Attorney General had been rewarded for it. The Chief Secretary subsequently stated that that was a cruel charge. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle, in his speech during the Debate on the Address, expressed surprise that this question of jury packing at Mary borough had not been dealt with, the Chief Secretary denied absolutely that any such thing had taken place. Now I have some claim to speak on this subject. I was present at Mary borough during the whole of these trials. I observed everything that was done, and I am in a position to state that most shameless jury packing was practised by the Authorities of the Crown. I wish to say a few words on the circumstances which led up to these trials. Everybody, I think, knows how it was that District Inspector Martin came by his death. Everybody knows that a warrant was out against Father M'Fadden on a charge of conspiracy because he had recommended some tenants in the locality to join the Plan of Campaign, that for a time the rev. Father "evaded" the police, that ultimately it was attempted to arrest him immediately after Mass with but a small force, that District Inspector Martin drew his sword and raised it above the head of Father M'Fadden, that there was at once a cry raised in the crowd that the Inspector was killing or striking the priest with a sword, that great excitement immediately arose, that the people rushed wildly forward, that one man struck the officer with a stick and killed him, that stones were thrown, and that Father M'Fadden himself was struck on the lips with one missile. This was the nature of the crime which was committed. What action did the Government take 1753 in the matter? The first thing was an inquiry before the Coroner of the district. At that inquiry no facts were adduced bringing guilt home to any particular individual. The policemen told their story simply, and the Jury decided that the death of the Inspector was caused by some person or persons unknown. But immediately after that, an outcry for blood was raised by the Tory Press of the North of Ireland, and the Government, it would seem, could not afford to disregard the opinion of their supporters in that part of the country. Consequently, a reign of terror was established in the entire district. At the trial of Coll, who is now undergoing 10 years' penal servitude, the Head Constable swore that he had visited altogether 300 or 400 houses, that he went to Coil's cabin three times in February, three times in March, and once in April, that in June he was there in broad daylight when Coll returned home, and yet, even then, he did not arrest him. That Head Constable Mahony (he was only a sergeant at the time, but he has since been promoted) was the officer who issued passes to the people, and the whole country was at the time in a state of terror through the action of the police. The Crown actually preferred a charge of murder against 22 persons, including Father M'Fadden; and the Resident Magistrates, doing no doubt what they thought would be agreeable to their superiors, and carrying out the wishes of the Crown Solicitor for Donegal, who conducted the prosecution, sent every one of the accused forward for trial an the capital charge. It will not do for the Attorney General for Ireland to get up and tell us that these persons were technically guilty of murder, for I heard the law on the point expounded by Mr. Justice Gibson at Maryborough to the Grand; Jury, and the learned Judge distinctly laid it down that any person who on that occasion took an active part in these illegal proceedings, any person who threw a stone or used a stick, would be technically guilty of wilful murder. But it was not contended throughout the whole of the proceedings that Father M'Fadden and many of the others took any part in the proceedings or committed any act of violence. Surely, then, it was a most improper course to send all these persons for trial on the capital charge. A week or two 1754 ago there was a case being heard before a Magistrate in a Court close by here, and in which a medical practitioner and an officer were charged with being concerned in the death of an unfortunate lady. In the case of the officer the Magistrate, while saying that there was some doubt in reference to his case, acted on the sound principle of English law that a man was to be held innocent until he was proved to be guilty, and refused to commit him for trial, although he did take the course against the other accused person, in regard to whom the evidence was stronger. But if this had happened in Ireland, and if the subject of the inquiry had been the death of some officer of the law, if it had been possible to give to the case some political or sectarian complexion, every one accused would have been sent for trial, whatever the value of the evidence, upon the capital charge. But what was done by the Resident Magistrates in this case was, too much even for the Attorney General for Ireland, and accordingly at Maryborough he discriminated between the prisoners and had Father M'Fadden and 10 other accused persons indicted on a minor charge. Then, Sir, came the action of the Attorney General of which I most strongly complain, and that was the change of venue for the trial. The Committee will observe that these accused persons were brought from a remote corner of Donegal to the centre of Ireland for the trial. They were not tried before a jury of their peers, but they were tried before a Special Jury in Queen's County, the majority of whom were of a different religion. It would have been impossible for anyone not to share the feeling I heard expressed by the Judge with regard to Coll, that one could not but feel a certain amount of pity for this poor Donegal peasant, brought far from his home to be tried amongst strangers, and in a language which he but imperfectly understood. Surely, under such circumstances, the Government, need not have also resorted to the expedient of packing the Jury. But what was done? Why, Sir, at the trial of Coll, the first of these prisoners, no less than 42 Catholic Jurors of Queen's County were ordered to stand aside, and not a single Catholic was put on the Jury. As far as could be judged from the demeanour of the Jurymen who were allowed to remain in 1755 the box, they entered it with a determination to listen to nothing in favour of the accused. I am credibly informed that they took no notes whatever; and it is currently reported that at the close of the trial 10 of the 12 were in favour of convicting on the capital charge, while the other two favoured a verdict of guilty of manslaughter. Canany thing be said in justification of this action of the Crown? Would it not have been sufficient to try these persons before a Special Jury without weeding out all the Catholics, so as to retain on the Jury men who were the most bigoted political opponents of, and who had no sympathy whatever for, these persons? How unequal are the relative powers of the Crown and of the prisoner in regard to challenging Jurors. The prisoner can only challenge 20 peremptorily; the Crown, on the other hand, considering the length of the panel, has virtually unlimited right of challenge. The panel on that occasion contained the names of 217 jurors, and out of these the Crown ordered no fewer than 42 to stand by before an exclusively Protestant jury was secured. Since the trial a Petition has been presented to the Crown praying for Coll's release, and the answer returned has been, in spite of the circumstances I have narrated, that the law must take its course. When we consider the circumstances under which these men were tried, when we remember how terribly they were handicapped, and how terrible were the odds against them, surely it is a cruel act on the part of the Executive to retain this man in prison any longer. The evidence against him consisted entirely of police evidence. There were six policemen present on the occasion, and four of those were unable to identify Coll. The Case for the Crown, in fact, virtually depended on the evidence of one constable only. That man swore that when he saw his officer in danger he ran for his life, that when he came back he saw Martin on the ground, and that in a few moments he witnessed sufficient to enable him to identify 15 persons as having thrown stones. That seems an extraordinary story. He was asked how he managed, in a moment of panic and terrible excitement, to identify all these prisoners? He replied that the more his temper rose the more his powers of observation increased. 1756 The Judge told us about a man who had extraordinary powers of memory when leading a forlorn hope. But I venture to think that no English jury would have convicted this man upon the evidence of the policeman who gave such an account of the proceedings. The next case which came on was that of John Borrogher. The jury empannelled had upon it a sort of stock Catholic—a Castle Catholic—a man with no sympathy for the great mass of the people. There were some intelligent, and enlightened Protestants on that jury, and they disagreed in the case of Borrogher, who is now a free man. The evidence was practically the same as the evidence given in the previous case. In the first the jury gave a verdict of manslaughter, and the prisoner was sentenced to penal servitude. I ought to mention that in the case of Hall an alibi was proved by three men who, without any stretch of imagination, would be called Government servants—a sergeant of militia, a schoolmaster, and a telegraph clerk. All these witnesses swore to seeing Hall in a position where he was doing nothing; yet the jury were told that the story these three respectable men told was a strange and improbable one. The incident did not end there. Special jurors of Queen's County have been accustomed to this sort of thing for a very long time. They have been dragged away from their homes again and again simply to be mocked and told by the Crown Solicitor to "stand by." They determined to stand it no longer. Three of them strongly protested. On the first day the Judge confined himself to ordering one of them to be taken out of Court. On the second day, in Borrogher's case, he fined each of the special jurors who protested £20. That did not deter the special jurors, who felt they had been outraged and subjected to a cruel injustice, and that it was an insult to be told that they could not be believed, for that was what this wholesale exclusion virtually meant. They resolved to respectfully raise similar protests should opportunities arise. An opportunity did arise, but the Crown had learnt wisdom. One unfortunate man who had been tried twice, the juries disagreeing, was sent to Maryborough to be tried a third time. They packed the jury, and the jury again disagreed. The man was put on 1757 trial a fourth time, and once more the jury disagreed. And it was actually intended to try him a fifth time, when a letter appeared in the Freeman's Journal, and that letter attracted the attention of a London editor, an article, too, was written in the Freeman's Journal. The fifth trial of the man was abandoned, and he was allowed to leave the country. How long is this sort of thing to go on? Are the Catholics of Queen's County to be summoned these long distances only to be told they are not wanted? Will the Attorney General say that for the future juries to be empannelled in Ireland shall be honest juries? Will he say that in cases of this sort the question of religion shall not be dragged in? Will he see that men are taken for juries because of their good character and irrespective of their faith? I see the statement that the next Assizes are to be at Maryborough, and I warn the Attorney General that if this is repeated a spirit will be awakened which will certainly find expression. The men of Queen's County have been outraged too long to endure this sort of thing, and it will not help the Government nor the Conservative Party in the constituencies if such incidents are reported to them, and if they read in the newspapers that Catholics are ordered to stand by indiscriminately, and that there is no fair trial nor justice for unfortunate prisoners.
§ *(5.40.) MR. H. J. WILSON (York, W.R., Holmfirth)
Sir, I desire to occupy a short time in reference to the trials just spoken of by my hon. Friend. I think they raise important questions which truly deserve consideration. The trials at Maryborough had their origin in the unfortunate death of District Inspector Martin, on the 3rd February. Mr. Justice Gibson said that the attempted arrest of Father M'Fadden was highly imprudent, and that, having regard to the feelings of an excited peasantry, it should have been done with the aid of a commanding force of police. There was a large body of police some 200 or 300 yards from the place, yet some few officers were allowed to provoke a disturbance, with the result that the unfortunate District Inspector Martin lost his life. We have already heard that for nine months the prisoners were kept in Derry Gaol, and then these wretched peasants were taken 1758 away to Maryborough, a distance of some 200 or 300 miles, and involving to the 150 witnesses summoned in their behalf, a two days' journey at great expense. What I want to do is to lay special stress tin the system of jury packing as I saw it carried out at Maryborough on the occasion in question. I do not think English Members fully understand what it means. I do not think anyone save he who has actually witnessed it can appreciate what is really done. There were 217 of these special Jurors on the panel or list—that is to say, every man in the county who is rated at £50, or in certain parts at £100. What took place? The Crown Solicitor sitting with this list—carefully marked, as I saw from where I sat—when a man's name was called, said "stand by" in instances where he was not satisfied with reference to his religion on politics. I am almost ashamed in this Committee to refer to the question of religion as entering into consideration at all. Of 42 objected to, 40 were Catholics and two Protestants, who were suspected of Nationalist sympathies. As a result of the process, 12 Protestants were got into the Jury box. I want to refer to the method by which they were got there. The Jurors were called one by one; and after several had been objected to, this sort of thing took place. A Mr. Delany was ordered to "stand by" by the Crown Solicitor. He asked, "Why am I told to stand by?" The Judge said—I cannot answer that question, nor can you ask it. The Crown has got the right and so as the prisoner to object to a juror.The Judge told Mr. Delany to retire and not to interrupt. Mr. Delany said he was present to do his duty, and the Judge said he must retire. Ultimately, the Judge said—Policeman, show this gentleman out. I am reluctant to do anything which might appear harsh to a gentleman of respectability on the jury panel, but it is right it should be understood that a prisoner is entitled to 50 challenges by law'—"The McDermott: 50 my Lord?—20' The Judge: '20, I beg your pardon.The controversy between the Judge and Mr. Delany was continued for some time, Mr. Delany saying—I do not want to be disrespectful, but I will say that the juries of Queen's County always did their duty until counsel for the 1759 Crown or other officials came here to cast a slur upon them.Well, this sort of thing went on until there were no fewer than 28 jurors all in a batch who were ordered to stand by. Then, there was another protest. This poor Donegal peasant said he would like to know if there was a single Catholic on the jury, but the Judge, as a matter of course, would not allow that question to be answered; and when the jury had been constituted, and those who had been ordered to stand by were about to leave the Court, or appeared to be about to do so, Mr. McDermott asked that they might not be allowed to leave, as it was not unlikely that they might be wanted on another occasion, as there were other prisoners to be tried. He also alluded to them as Catholic jurors, whereupon the Judge told him that he must not refer to the matter of religion, remarking—It is very undesirable, Mr. McDermott, for all interests concerned, to introduce any reference to religion in Court.I am now going to give the Committee some of my own personal testimony. While all this was going on I was occupying a seat in the gallery, and sitting next to me was an Irish gentleman, a Magistrate, living in the county, who had been summoned as a juror. He was exceedingly kind in the communications he made to me, sitting there as a stranger, and what he said impressed me very much, because the Judge, in his summing up at the end of the case, said to the jury—Our law knows no distinction of creed, or class, or race.This is a very estimable sentiment, no doubt; but the kindly Magistrate and juryman who sat beside me said as the jurors were being told to stand aside, "I know them all," and as each was called he would say in one case "that man is so and so; they will challenge him, as he is a Catholic; he will not be allowed on the jury." When that man had been challenged he would say, as another was called, "He is a Protestant; he is all right, and will be taken on." That gentleman was right in every case. When the jury had been completed he said, "Every one of them is a Protestant, and their fathers were all Scotchmen. "Now, I ask the Committee, What does this in reality mean? Does it mean that no distinction is made in creed, 1760 class, or race, or does it mean that trial by jury in Ireland is converted into a perfect farce and scandal. Everybody knew, like my friend in the gallery, that all the Protestant jurors would be accepted, and all Catholics rejected, and yet the rejected men were substantial and respectable individuals; seven of them were farmers occupying large farms; one a gentleman farmer, and one a merchant and Justice of the Peace, while three others were described as gentlemen. This sort of thing seems to me to cast contempt upon the whole business. It seemed to me that these proceedings threw a slur on the whole procedure of trial by Jury in Ireland, and that as a friend, and able lawyer, who was once a Member of this House—the late Mr. Charles Crompton—said, in a published letter in reference to this system, the whole thing was a complete farce. When the Jury was constituted counsel for the defence applied that the Jury should be allowed to view the spot where the circumstances connected with the trial had taken place. He said the nature of the place was such that much of the evidence would hardly be properly understood unless the Jury did see the spot. This application was, however, not complied with, and for my part I do not hesitate to say that, having visited the spot, both before and after the trials, it was absolutely necessary that the Jury should have seen it in order thoroughly to understand the case. I confess that I did not understand some of the evidence, and could not attach that weight to it which it deserved, although I had previously seen the place, until I had again visited it, and I think it might have materially affected the view taken by the Jury had they been enabled to view the scene. Of course, the removal of the prisoners for so great a distance to be tried threw an additional difficulty in the way and afforded an additional means of tightening the cord round the neck of that wretched man William Coll. I may say that nothing I have ever before witnessed before a Judge sitting in Court could be compared for one moment with the manner, the language, and the insolent bearing of the then Attorney General (now Chief Justice O'Brien) who conducted the prosecution. His air of easy indifference and buffoonery was simply and utterly disgusting, and the 1761 way in which he pleaded against the prisoners was marked with desperate energy. I am glad the present Attorney General for Ireland is here to listen to what I am saying, as I am sure from what we have seen of his demeanour in this House it would never be thought that he could be guilty of such conduct. Those who are acquainted with the duties of a criminal lawyer, far better than I, assure me that it is no part of the duty of the prosecuting counsel in a case of murder to do more than put the facts fairly before the Jury; that he has no right to plead with desperate energy for the hanging of a prisoner, as the then Attorney General for Ireland did. At the first day of the trial the accommodation in the small Court House was very scanty, and the Sheriff gave tickets of admission, as it was necessary to reserve seats for the 217 Jurors who were summoned there. On the second day, almost all the Jurymen were allowed to go to their homes, but still the police excluded the public from the Court. They even used force to prevent the entrance of Mr. O'Doherty—until recently a Member of this House—who was the solicitor for the defence. Others, including the hon. Member for Darlington and myself, were refused entrance, and it was not until the Judge had given the police very peremptory orders on the subject, after they had disregarded his first orders, that the police were allowed to exercise their right of entrance. The action of the police showed that they set the Judge even at defiance. A very significant thing occurred on the fourth day. The Attorney General refused, on purely technical grounds, to produce a Report which one of the constables, who was called as a witness, had made with reference to the death of Martin and the arrest of Father M'Fadden. It was said that the Report was only made as a matter of police discipline; and although it was believed that the document was totally different to the evidence given by the constable at the trial, it was withheld from the Jury. The Attorney General for Ireland considered it to be his duty to try and get the accused hanged, actually withholding evidence at the trial which appeared absolutely essential to the defence. Here, again, I complain of the method in which Crown prosecutions are conducted in Ireland, prisoners not being allowed the benefit of any 1762 discrepancy there may be between the different statements of a witness. The Judge's feelings evidently was that the Report ought to hare been produced. The evidence throughout the case showed that the Attorney General and those associated with him were anxious not to get at the truth, but to get a man hanged if possible. I do not think I need go further into these details, but I can confirm the hon. Member who has already spoken as to the extremely unsatisfactory character of the evidence for the prosecution, and it is difficult to understand how the Judge came to point out to the jury that almost everything which fell from the police was capable of explanation, whereas he enlarged on every discrepancy which could be made to tell against the credibility of the witnesses for the defence. When the second trial occurred, we had the same state of things over again, with the exception that one Catholic Juror was allowed to go into the box—a boycotted landlord. The protests of indignant Jurymen were renewed, who complained not only of the indignities cast upon themselves and their religion, but against being brought there twice a year from remote parts of the county, and being compelled, under a penalty, to remain there when they knew perfectly well their attendance was absolutely useless and their time absolutely thrown away. Notwithstanding the careful way in which it was selected, the Jury disagreed, and then came a curious breakdown of the proceedings, the other prisoners being ultimately induced to plead guilty, doubtless in the hope of getting light punishments. Instead of that, the sentences were monstrous. It was curious to notice the light in which the prosecution and the Legal Authorities regarded the people they were treating as criminals. Father M'Fadden had been brought there to take his trial, and yet, when bail was wanted for the appearance of another of the accused, that rev. gentleman's assurance that the man would come up when wanted was accepted by the Court. How can it be contended after this that there is no difference between political crime and ordinary crime in Ireland? And now with regard to the case of William Coll, I have here a copy of a Memorial addressed to the Lord Lieutenant asking that the clemency of the Crown may be extended to the prisoner.
This is a matter that goes beyond the Vote, which only has reference to the conduct of prosecutions. Remarks with reference to the Judge, as also the hon. Member's present observations, are quite inadmissible.
*MR. H. J.WILSON
If you gay I cannot refer to that of course I will not do so. I simply wish to say, in conclusion, that to me it is marvellous how anybody on the Opposite Benches or anywhere else can hope that law and order will be respected or observed in Ireland when such a state of things as I have described as having occurred at Maryborough are: permitted, to exist in Irish Assize Court's.
§ (6.10.) MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
I confess that, as an Irishman who has from his youth upwards been familiar with the process of law which has been described by the hon. Member who has just sat down, I rejoice that Englishmen nowadays go over to Ireland and acquaint themselves by observation with the details which have made the administration of the law hateful to the people of that country. We have heard with a repetition almost nauseating the old stock statements about the preservation of law and order. Why, the first step necessary to the preservation of law and order in Ireland is to do away with the system the hon. Member who spoke last has described. No amount of increasing the stringency of the law will be of any use until you do away with the entire system which Englishmen are now beginning to understand in all its hideous details. It shocks everyone who goes over from this country to inquire into it, whether Liberal or Liberal Unionist, and I say that as long as it exists it will make the Criminal Law odious to the people of Ireland, because they know that the very last place in which they can seek or hope for justice is a Criminal Court. We have had a specimen of the impression that that system makes upon an Englishman who is accustomed to the procedure in this country, but we are so familiar with the system that we feel somewhat surprised to see Englishmen so much shocked. We never expect anything else. Irishmen have never looked to the Irish Attorney General for honesty in the administration of the law. It has been a matter of absolute astonishment and wonder that men, who in their 1764 ordinary relations of life are honest, seem, when they go into a Criminal Court, to forget what honour is, and resort to the basest and most dishonourable means in order to sacrifice the lives of their fellow-men. Everyone knows that the late Attorney General for Ireland deliberately suppressed evidence that was in his hands, arid wrote across-his brief copy "Not to be used," because he knew that if it had been used ii would have saved the life of an innocent1 man who was murdered. Such a thing as that is no crime in the eyes of the Government officials, who recognize nothing as dishonest when their desire is to obtain a conviction. We have just listened to one of the most remarkable and convincing speeches ever delivered in the British House of Commons, on the system of Jury packing in Ireland, which is such a fundamental portion of the administration of the law in that country, and which has been so unblushingly denied by Government after Government. Anyone of ordinary can dour of mind listening to the hon. Member must have been convinced of the scandalous and outrageous character of that system. But, Sir, I rose for the-purpose of urging on the Irish Attorney General that he should now stand up and give some answer to the two grave charges that have been brought forward, namely, the case of Mr. Kelly, and the matter of Jury packing at Maryborough. I will not go into all the charges made by the hon. Member who opened this discussion, but I will lay before the Committee the points in the indictment that appear to me to be the most important and to urgently require an answer. My hon. Friend (Mr. Clancy) clearly showed that in the case of John Kelly the Crown had entered into a prosecution against a man who had been guilty of no criminal word or act. The Attorney General for Ireland, I think, will not be able to deny that. When you, Sir, interrupted my hon. Friend at the beginning of his speech, he was pointing out what is a notorious fact to all acquainted with the administration of the Criminal LawinIreland—that there is a very great difference between the administration of the law in Ireland and in this country, because all these prosecutions are part of the policy of the Irish Law Officers, acting, I suppose, under the authority of the right hon. Gentleman 1765 the Chief Secretary. In. Ireland every prosecution comes into the hands of the salaried prosecutors of the Crown. If a prosecution be an important one, dealing with politics, the Attorney General is always consulted; and what we complain of in the case of John Kelly is, that the 'Crown Prosecutors, salaried out of the Public Treasury, and directly responsible to the Attorney General in Ireland, acted in the prosecution and obtained a conviction by the force of their great influence. They acted as the representatives of the Government with the facts of the case before them, and knowing that they were engaged in an attempt to extend the law of conspiracy in a way which, if it were attempted in England, would turn the country upside down. Supposing it were possible in this country under the Common Law to give such a scope to the law of conspiracy, as has been given in Ireland in the case of John Kelly, I have no hesitation in saying that in a couple of days England would be turned topsy-turvey, and the majority in the House of Commons who assented to it would be turned out of power. In the case of John Kelly there were only two items of evidence, and, presumably, they were before the Crown in the information on which they based their prosecution. One of these was that John Kelly drove round the disturbed district in an outside car, and went into the houses of certain people. This was given in evidence, and Mr. Kelly very naturally masked, "Is that a crime?" The next filing proved was that a policeman, hiding himself behind a hedge outside one of the houses in which John Kelly was, listened to a conversation which took place between him and the woman of the house, and heard him say as he came out, in reply to a statement by a. Mr. O'Dwyer, that "this is a woman to fight'' "I find the women more earnest for us than the men." That was all the evidence against John Kelly—all that it was attempted to prove. The charge of intimidation and conspiracy were made against him on this evidence. The first of these charges was dismissed, so that we have only to do with the charge of conspiracy; and although that which I have described was all the evidence forthcoming on this charge, Mr. Kelly was convicted, and 1766 is to-day undergoing a sentence of four months' imprisonment with hard labour. He is suffering that imprisonment, not directly through the action of the Magistrates, but indirectly through the action of the right hon. Gentleman opposite. What is the doctrine by the Executive—what is the scope and application of the law of conspiracy they sought to affirm by this prosecution against Mr. Kelly? On that day he was in the company of a certain Mr. O'Dwyer, a farmer of the district, now also in gaol. Mr. O'Dwyer had delivered a speech in the district some three or four weeks before Mr. Kelly came there. It was shown that Mr. Kelly had not known Mr. O'Dwyer until three weeks after that speech was delivered, and yet the speech was put in evidence against him and accepted as such. Then, for fear that should not be enough, a speech was put in which had been delivered six months before by the hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien) in a part of the district 15 miles away, and it was concluded that the word "us" used by Mr. John Kelly, and overheard by the policeman, covered Mr. O'Dwyer and the hon. Member for North-East Cork who had made these speeches. This was the evidence on which Mr. Kelly was convicted of conspiracy and imprisoned—and not only that, but upon which he was condemned to hard labour, which I consider to be a most monstrous outrage. You have there an example of the lengths to which this law of conspiracy can be carried. Now, mark this fact. Here is this man John Kelly, denounced by the Government in this House as a bad character, a boycotter, and an agent of crime—the worst charge the right hon. Gentleman could bring against him, I suppose—after all the spying that has been going on in the district charged with intimidation. The case breaks down—it is dismissed on its merits. With all their servile agents they are unable to prove the case. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary denounces people in this House because he requires no evidence, but in Court it is necessary that he should, at any rate, have a shred of decency. It is only a wretched fig leaf that does for decency, I admit, but even the dilapidated fig leaf in this case breaks down. So that the right hon. Gentle, 1767 man had better be a little more careful in the future, before hurling charges of intimidation against the Irish people in the matter of these conspiracy cases. The right hon. Gentleman may talk about intimidation at large, and may appeal to his friends and the country in regard to it, but here is a case as to which we give him the facts. Let him deny them, if he can, and defend the Government for giving so ruinous and outrageous a scope to the doctrine of conspiracy which is absolutely destructive of civil liberty—which leaves the liberty of the people absolutely at the mercy of the Government of the country. If this principle, attempted to be established in the case of John Kelly, were admitted, no two men could confederate together for any object which the Executive Government thought to be objectionable, without being drawn into the net of criminal conspiracy, and being sent to imprisonment. It would be absolutely impossible for two or more individuals to combine together for any purpose. I demand from the Government an explanation of this case. I also demand to know why no attempt has been made to prove the combination on the Smith-Barry estate to be illegal. The hon. Member for North Dublin asserted, and asserted with truth, that the combination on the Smith-Barry estate is not legal even under the Crimes Act. When I and my friends were put on our trial for joining the Plan of Campaign, what course was pursued by the Government? They sought to establish, and did establish to the satisfaction of the Judge—though not of the Jury—a thread of communication between myself and my hon. Friends at Woodford, and other places where there was resistance to the police. The doctrine of the Plan of Campaign, published in the paper of my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cork, was put in evidence, and before the Government attempted to remit cases to the Magistrates' Courts they obtained from two Judges in Dublin a solemn judgment that the Plan of Campaign, as proved in that Court, was an illegal conspiracy. They proceeded against us, sought to connect us with the Plan of Campaign, and then they referred the case to a Judge of the Supreme Court. Nothing of the kind has been attempted in the 1768 Smith-Barry case. The entire methods are different. The people left their houses of their own free will. When the Sheriff's Officer came round he found the houses clear of furniture and no> resistance offered. I contend that the combination is legal. Where is the offence of leaving a house, hiring some land in the neighbourhood, and going into another house? That is all the Smith-Barry tenants have done. It rests with the Government to prove that the combination on the Smith-Barry estate is an illegal combination, and, until they do so, they have no right to prosecute for criminal conspiracy any man at a Magistrate's Court, before men who are admitted to be grossly ignorant of the law. The three great grounds on which we quarrel with the prosecution of Mr. John Kelly are, that no attempt, was made to prove against Mr. Kelly any offence against the law, in word or deed; that the prosecution involved a monstrous, and hitherto unknown, extension of the doctrine of criminal conspiracy, and that the Crown, in conducting the prosecution, deliberately assumed that the combination on the Smith-Barry estate was illegal. I contend that the combination was perfectly legal, and that hon. Gentlemen opposite have no right, to assume it to be illegal until they have proved it to be so in a Court of law.
§ *(6.32.) THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. MADDEN,) Dublin University
With one portion of the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) I heartily agree, and that is the passage in which he expressed a wish that Englishmen should go over to Ireland to study the proceedings in our-Courts, and observe the manner in which justice is administered. Before I sit down I shall give the Committee the testimony of some Englishmen, whose authority I do not think will be disputed by hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, as to the result of such examination on their minds. The hon. Member for the Holmfirth Division (Mr. H. Wilson) gave us an account of his visit to Ireland. He brought no specific charge against my distinguished predecessor, but made a general accusation against him of what is called jury packing. When he descended to particulars, he commented on what he 1769 described as the then Attorney General's demeanour in Court, and added words which, I presume, he thought would be satisfactory to myself. Allow me to tell the hon. Member that I resent the attack upon my predecessor in the office which I now hold as I would resent an attack upon myself, and that he is mistaken if he supposes any expressions of the kind he used towards myself are received by me with satisfaction. If the hon. Gentleman has any definite accusation to make let him make it openly, and then we shall know how to meet it. The hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) spoke more definitely as to what is known as jury packing.
§ *MR. MADDEN
I am now dealing with the Maryborough trials, and not with accusations which, have been often made and refuted, and which I absolutely deny. I am dealing with the accusations made as to the conduct of the police at' Maryborough. As I have reminded the Committee, the hon. Gentleman expressed a wish that Englishmen should visit Ireland and judge for themselves. I will give the hon. Gentleman the testimony of an Englishman who went to Ireland, who took the best possible means of informing himself on the subject, and who had the best possible means of knowing what was going on. I have no doubt hon. Gentlemen opposite will accept Lord Spencer,—I mean the Lord Spencer, of 1889—as a witness deserving of credit. What did Lord Spencer, say so recently as the 8th of March, 1889? Speaking at the Eighty Club on that day, he said:—We thought we had done away with the cry in Ireland, this painful cry of packing juries; but I was quite mistaken. I found in my experience later in Ireland that when there were cases of agrarian or political moment which created much excitement among people, the cry was again raised, and I will just explain how it came about. Some of you may not agree with me. You may think that I am not giving a proper version of affairs, but what happened was this—I speak of Dub lin,—[Ironical cheers.] Well, it was in Dublin that my predecessor held the office of Chief Crown Prosecutor, at Green Street. 1770I speak of Dublin, and I do not know so much about the rest of the country. In Dublin, the Law Officers of the Crown, when the panel of jurors was called over, considered whether there were any publicans on the panel, or farmers who lived in isolated districts. I do not think I shall be contradicted when I say it is the duty of the Law Officers to see that no absolutely partial person is on the jury. The Crown had a right to set aside peremptorily or for cause, and the prisoners to challenge a certain number of jurors. I believe the Law Officer would not be doing his duty if he knowingly left on the jury a man whom he knew would give a verdict independent of the facts. It was the habit to challenge these two classes, and the reason was that the publicans were put in such an invidious position with their customers, if they went against the feeling of their customers, and did, their duty. The same thing occurred with-regard to the farmers in any district. What was the result f I know, because I have cross examined the officers on the subject, and I know these men did not challenge because a man was a Roman Catholic. I am satisfied that the Law Officers did not challenge and set men aside because they were Roman Catholics; but the result was that, as these two classes were invariably Roman Catholics, we constantly had juries in Roman Catholic districts almost wholly-made up of Protestants.Now, I have given to the Committee the testimony of an Englishman who examined and cross-examined the Law Officers on the subject. [Hon. MEMBERS: The Law Officers!] I do not suppose hon. Gentlemen suggest—I certainly do not suggest—that my predecessors, who served under Lord Spencer, were less intelligent or trustworthy than those who preceded or who followed them.
§ *MR. MADDEN
The hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity of replying to me. But I have also the testimony of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Denbighshire (Mr. Osborne Morgan). He went over to Ireland and examined for himself, and his experience, both as a lawyer and as a Member of this-House, entitles his opinion to respect. In the course of a Debate, which took place in this House, in February, 1883, on the old story of jury packing, the right hon. Gentleman gave his experience of what he saw in Ireland. He spoke against an Amendment moved by the hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell), stating that he happened 1771 to be in Dublin during one of the trials for murder. He said—He went into Court as an entirely unprejudiced spectator. He did not know what proportion of the jury was Protestant and what was Catholic; but he desired to say, having had some experience, both favourable and unfavourable, of juries in this country, that never in the whole course of his life had be beheld a more intelligent, a more patient, or a more impartial jury, and, he thought he might add, a jury more indulgent to the prisoner. Every single question they put was directly to the point, and, as he could judge, most of their questions were directed to elicit some point in favour of the prisoner. He could say emphatically that no man could have had fairer trial, and at the conclusion of it he could cot help saying that if that was the way they packed juries in Ireland, he only wished they would pack English juries in the same way."—(Hansard, vol. 276, p. 892.)
§ *MR. MADDEN
It was the trial of Michael Walsh before Mr. Justice Lawson. The point of my observations is, that that opinion was given in a Debate in which it was alleged that confidence in the administration of the law was destroyed in Ireland in consequence of jury packing. Among the number of Englishmen who have gone over to Ireland was a distinguished lawyer, who, I regret to say, has since died—Mr. Crompton. He was present at the trial of Father M'Fadden at Maryborough, and he bore testimony, in remarkable language, to the manner in which the Judge conducted the' trial, and as to the conduct of the jury, who were empanelled on the occasion.
MR. J. MORLBY (Newcastle-upon-Tyne)
He said the jury was packed.
§ *MR. MADDEN
Not in his original speech. He afterwards wrote a letter to the Press, and no doubt, as hon.; Members opposite say, he did say that he thought the jury were packed. But he had no means whatever of knowing whether this was so or not. Mr. Crompton was, however, a competent witness, as to the conduct of the trial, and the behaviour of the jury, and it was on this point I used his testimony. Now, with reference to the specific charges made by hon. Gentlemen opposite. In respect to the cases of Mr. John Kelly and Mr, O'Dwyer' three charges were formulated 1772 against us by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon); first, that Mr. Kelly was prosecuted though he had committed no offence in word or deed; secondly, that the law of conspiracy was extended in the case, as it has never been extended before; and thirdly, that the Crown assumed, without proving it, that the combination on the Smith-Barry estate was illegal. I think it is a little infelicitous, to say the least, to have selected as an indictment against the conduct of prosecutions in Ireland a case in which not only was the prosecution proved to be well founded by the Court of First Instance, but in which Mr. Kelly, who had the power to appeal on the question of fact, deliberately refrained from doing so. As to the question of law, however, he did appeal to the Exchequer Division, and the Court upheld the decision of the Magistrates, and held that the prosecution was fully justified by the evidence. On both these points, then—that there was sufficient evidence to warrant putting the prisoner on trial, and that an offence was committed—the prosecution was sustained. The sentence of four months' imprisonment enabled the prisoner to appeal as to the facts if he thought he had been unjustly convicted. He did not avail himself of the right, and we are justified, therefore, in concluding that he had no confidence in his own case on the facts. The hon. Member has said that Mr. Kelly was guilty of no offence, but he was proved to be guilty of criminal conspiracy, conspiracy which is as criminal and indictable in England as in Ireland. [Ironical laughter.] I challenge any English lawyer to get up in this House and deny that conspiracy to compel or induce tenants not to pay their rents is illegal in England. Will any ex-Law Officer opposite say that if such an offence had been committed in this country in his period of office, it would not have been his bounden duty to order his prosecution? With reference to the trials at Maryborough, I think it is unnecessary to go into detail, or to trouble the Committee at any length, for the action of the Government and the Crown Prosecutor in regard to them is amply justified by the facts. In one case in which the prisoner, Vas indicted for murder, the Judge remarked on the 1773 lenient view which the jury took of the case, and in another the jury, who, it was alleged, were packed, disagreed, so that this instance again failed to bear out the suggestion that the jury, because they were packed, were panting for the blood of the prisoners.
§ *MR. H. J. WILSON
I complained of the Attorney General, but I made no such suggestion in regard to the jury. I did not say one word against the jury.
§ *MR. MADDEN
The jury did their duty honestly between the prosecution and the prisoners. Moreover, the rest of the prisoners after the result of the trial of their fellow prisoners thought their best chance was to plead guilty, and throw themselves on the mercy of the Court. That fact of itself shows that the prosecution was amply justified, and I repeat that weaker and more infelicitous cases on which to found an attack on the administration, of justice in Ireland could not have been brought forward than those which have, been adduced to-night—eases in, which either the prisoners pleaded guilty, or the prosecution was held justified by the decision of the High Court.
(7.0.) MR. J. MORLEY
A noble Marquess in another place, in a very intemperate and wild oration, spoke of the "consummate audacity" of my right hon. Friend the Member for the Bridgeton Division. I do not wish to apply such a phrase to the line taken by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland, but it is almost audacity to pretend that the testimony of Mr. Crompton was not a definite denunciation of the system of jury packing.
§ MR. MADDEN
I said it was. I said Mr. Crompton had nothing to urge against the conduct of the Judge and jury at the trial, but that his, testimony was in favour of the right hon. Gentleman on the question of jury packing, though I questioned his means of knowledge.
MR. J. MORLEY
But nobody said anything about the, conduct of the Judge, We are not impugning the conduct of the Judge, so far as I know; we are impugning the conduct of the late Attorney General, the chief officer of the Crown, who, I must say, in my judgment, to the disgrace of the Administration, at this moment occupies 1774 the chief seat of justice in Ireland. We have nothing to say against the conduct of Mr. Justice Gibson; it is the conduct of Mr. O'Brien we challenge. The right hon. and learned Gentleman says now he admitted that Mr. Crompton's testimony was to the effect that there was jury-packing, but did he admit it? Did he not, on the contrary, do the best he could to mislead the Committee?
§ MR. MADDEN
No, Sir, I did nothing of the kind. I was reading a portion of Mr. Crompton's speech relating to the conduct of the jury. Then there was some interruption from right hon. Gentlemen opposite, and I stated at once—I am in the recollection of the Committee—I admitted that On the question of jury packing his testimony was on the other side.
MR. J. MORLEY
The right hon. and learned Gentleman is always so courteous, and generally so fair, that I should be sorry to say a word that might seem to impugn his veracity and sense of honour, but I do maintain that the effect of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's remarks as to Mr. Crompton's testimony was misleading. Hon. Gentlemen opposite would not have cheered' those remarks if they had not recognised the attempt to put the Jury on its legs again. Now, there must be no mistake upon this matter, because even the Chief Secretary, in a speech made in Edinburgh in November last, did distinctly Touch Mr. C. Crompton as to the non-existence of Jury packing. I well remember it because the next day I called attention to the subject—the effect of Mr. Crompton's remarks on Jury packing. It is not worth while to argue the point. Here is Mr. Crompton's own4etter. What does he say? It had been said by some One—I know not by whom—and the Chief Secretary afterwards said, that Mr. Crompton expressed no opinion on Jury packing. After remarking that something he had previously said—Might lead to the inference that he approved of everything that took place in relation to the trial at Mary borough,Mr. Crompton proceeded—I wish to separate the consideration of the way the trial was conducted under the presidency of Mr. Justice Gibson from that of the way the Jury was packed, and from the way the jury packing is systematically carried out, which was the principal subject of my speech
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
Not as reported.
MR. J. MORLEY
I do not know as to that, but at all events, the letter came long before the Chief Secretary made his speech, and it was in the possession of the public—I said nothing in favour of the way the prosecution was conducted on the part of the Crown, and, on the contrary, I denounced and explained the way the Jury was packed and selected by those representing the Crown.But that is not all. He said, further—The way the Jury was selected at Mary, borough was done in the most open way. Man after man was ordered to stand aside, against whom there was nothing to be said, except, perhaps, that they were Catholics. This elicited the most indignant protests from many of the Jurymen, who were men of position in the county, and obliged to attend at the county town whenever a new Jury was called, with the full knowledge that they would be objected to by the Crown directly their names were called. The result of what I saw is that trial by a Jury so selected cannot be called trial by Jury at a 11: it is rather trial by 12 men selected by the Crown, and presided over by a Judge of the Superior Courts.Now, I submit to any gentleman who was in the House when the right hon. and learned Gentleman was making his speech whether he gave the impression that that was Mr. Crompton's evidence.
MR. J. MORLEY
The right hon. and learned Gentleman might have intended it, but he did not do it. And then the right hon. and learned Gentleman used a curious argument. He said, How could Mr. Crompton have known the Jury was packed?
MR. J. MORLEY
Could he not judge of the enormous probabilites? Could he not judge by what happened? Mr. Crompton was accustomed to the procedure in English Criminal Courts. What explanation, what knowledge was required? Could he not see that 216 Jurors were summoned and that 42 men were ordered to stand by until 12 Protestants were selected? It requires no special knowledge, it requires no more than to judge of ordinary probabilities. The Chief Secretary is an admirable judge of probabilities, and he will not get up at the Table, I am sure, and say that the fact that 12 Jurors, all Protestants, were so selected, could have been an accident. All the laws of probability are against 1776 it. Mr. Crompton saw this, and he delivered his emphatic condemnation of what he saw done. Then the Attorney General for Ireland went on to give us a quotation from a statement of Lord Spencer's. This is one of those eternal tu quoques of which I should think the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary is by this time ashamed. They have long ago lost their point. I must confess I did not follow the precise appropriateness of the quotation from Lord Spencer, and I do not see how what Lord Spencer said affects by one jot or tittle what happened in the case at Mary borough. Law Officers of the Crown may have abused their position. I will admit that hundreds of Attorneys. General have done the same thing under all Governments and under both Parties, but do not let us at this time of day have a denial from Law Officers of the Crown that it has been the tradition and practice in Ireland to pack Juries. Such an evil practice must end some time, and we insist that the end should be now; and it is because we are convinced that this Jury packing is one of the things that is most to blame for the distrust with which the Irish people regard the administration of the law, and for the discredit into which the administration of it has fallen—it is for that reason we make the present protest, and we shall at a later stage protest, if a chance offers, against the elevation to the Bench of a gentleman who has shown so little an appreciation of what the administration of justice demands.
§ (7.12.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The right hon. Gentleman has parenthetically made an attack upon me for something I said in public in Edinburgh last November or December. If it were worth while I could quote my speech and show that I did not misrepresent the late Mr. Crompton, and that everything I said was justified by public statements made by Mr. Crompton, either in speech or in letters to the Press. It is a small matter, however, and I will go at once to the substantial issue raised by the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman accused me and my right hon. and learned Friend near me, the Attorney General for Ireland, of having quoted Mr. Crompton's evidence as to the efficiency and proper conduct of the Jury, and of 1777 having concealed the undoubted fact that Mr. Crompton, in one of his communications, though not the first, did state that, in his opinion, the Jury was a packed Jury. My right hon. and learned Friend was, however, quite justified in calling the attention of the Committee to a point on which Mr. Crompton was an expert, on which he had the evidence before him, and on which, therefore, he could pronounce with some degree of authority; and he was perfectly justified also in stating, as he did state, that Mr. Crompton could not infer with certainty, or even probability, from the mere facts which took place in Court, whether what occurred was or was not Jury packing. The right hon. Gentleman met that by asking whether it could be put down as a mere coincidence that the persons excluded from the Jury were Catholics and the persons included were Protestants, and he went on to say that by the application of known laws of probability the fact was deduced that there was a packed Jury. Now, it was precisely in reply to that argument that my right hon. and learned Friend called in the testimony of Lord Spencer. The right hon. Gentleman says that is one of those eternal tu quoques of which we ought to be ashamed. It is not a tu quoque at all. It is not a statement made by the Government that right hon. Gentlemen opposite did precisely that of which the Government are now accused, five years ago. That is a perfectly legitimate argument—an argument I am not going to deprive myself the use of, because of the obvious irritation it provokes in right hon. Gentlemen opposite. But this is not a case of tu quoque at all. It is a quotation from a statement deliberately made by Lord Spencer in 1889, looking back upon his own Government, and giving to the public with all deliberation, and with all the additional weight which, in the opinion of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, resulted from his change of convictions, the conclusions he had arrived at, not like Mr. Crompton, by a mere survey made at one trial, but after a careful and critical examination of the action of the Law Officers of the Crown—in other words, of the action of the only people who are competent to give a complete and full account of what occurred at the trial. I gather from the ironical 1778 cheers of hon. Gentlemen that Lord Spencer was a great fool to take the-advice of the Law Officers. ["Hear, hear," from Mr. MACNEILL.] I am unwilling to subscribe to so unfavourable an opinion as that entertained by the hon. Gentleman. I believe that Lord Spencer is not only a very honourable man, but is very competent to give an opinion on this point after personal examination, and it is worthy of consideration by hon. Gentlemen opposite. My right hon. and learned Friend could not by any possibility have chosen in this country a man either of larger experience on this point or one whose judgment on this subject should carry more weight with every section of the community. Observe how Lord Spencer deals with this argument of probability. I will read to the Committee the extract which has already been quoted:—Some of you may not agree with me; you may think that I am not giving a proper version of affairs, but what happened was this. I speak of Dublin, and I do not know so much about the rest of the country. In Dublin the Law Officers of the Crown, when the panel of jurors was called over, considered whether there were any publicans on the panel, or farmers who lived in isolated districts, do not think I shall be contradicted when I say is is the duty of the Law Officers to see that no absolutely partial person is on the jury. The Crown had a right to Bet aside peremptorily on for cause and the prisoners to challenge a certain number of jurors. I believe the Law Officer would not be doing his duty if he knowingly left on the jury a man who he knew would give a verdict independent of the facts. It was the habit to challenge these two classes, and the-reason was that the publicans were put in such an invidious position with their customers if they went against the feeling of their customers and did their duty. The same thing occurred with regard to the farmers in any district. What was the result? I know, because I have cross examined the Law Officers on the subject, and I know these men did not challenge because a man was a Roman Catholic; but the result was that as these two classes were invariably Roman Catholics, we constantly had juries in Roman Catholic districts almost wholly made up of Protestants.That is Lord Spencer's view of the operation of the law of probability on the question of the selection of juries, and it is a view recently expressed which ought to carry weight with the Front Opposition Bench, because it gives clearly, in-my opinion, an accurate account of what the Law Officers of successive Governments have found it necessary to do in the interests of justice. It is a commonplace, unfortunately, the truth of which 1779 cannot be denied, that a large class of the population of Ireland cannot be trusted to give a verdict according to their oath in certain classes of cases. It is a lamentable and deplorable fact that this should be so. It may be, if hon. Members choose to say it is, a shameful commentary upon the last three centuries of English Government in Ireland. We may make our own deductions from the fact; but, if it is a fact, and if it is the duty of those who have the conduct of a trial to see that the jury should be selected so that it should be its duty to give a verdict without fear and favour according to the evidence, then the practice which has been found necessary by successive Governments in Ireland, and is still found necessary, is a practice which the House of Commons ought to support. But that is not the practice of jury-packing. Jury-packing is a gross, calumnious, and misleading description of the practice. It is a process of using the power of challenge, the order to stand aside given in England and Scotland ["But never used"] and Ireland for the purpose for which it is given—(namely, that of excluding from the juries those who cannot be trusted to do their duty according to their oath. That the right is more largely used by the Crown in Ireland is true. It is the necessary consequence of that deplorable fact I have referred to, and it is a consequence against which we cannot shut our eyes; but we shall not make trial by jury in Ireland a better form of the administration of justice if we restrict the powers which are necessary and given in the three countries, and which are so often exercised over a large portion of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman before sitting down stated that at a later stage of the Debate he proposes to make an attack upon a distinguished Judge.
If the right hon. Gentleman said that he said it hypo-thetically, but it was not the purport of his speech, and it has no relation to the Vote.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Then I may say, hypothetically, that, there are very good reasons to show to the Committee why they should not agree with the criticisms which, not hypothetically, the right hon. Gentleman, found time to insert insert in one or two, interstices of his 1780 speech. I understand that while you rule that those attacks may be suggested or insinuated on the distinguished Judge who presides over the Court of Queen's Bench in Ireland, I am not now in order in answering them.
I did say that criticisms of the conduct of the late Attorney General were perfectly permissible, and that defence and rebuttal of that criticism was also permissible, but the question as to the action of the Crown in promoting that Law Officer to a seat on the Bench was not permissible.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
It was permissible, however, to describe it as disgraceful. I will not traverse the ruling of the Chair by adding a, single word except this—that I absolutely concur with the opinion expressed by Lord Spencer of Mr. O'Brien when Crown Prosecutor in Dublin, that his Government as well as the present Government owe a deep debt of gratitude to that distinguished lawyer for his services in the cause of justice.
(7.28.) MR. J. MORLEY
I have listened as carefully as I could a second time to the quotation from Lord Spencer, and I must say that it has not the least bearing on the present argument. What does Lord Spencer say? That it is true that his Government did for good reason order or direct publicans to stand aside, and it happened incidentally that most of those publicans were Catholics and farmers. But Lord Spencer's contention is that they did not direct them to stand aside because they were Catholics, but because they were publicans or farmers. But the present charge is that those 42 men at Maryborough were ordered to stand aside because they were Catholics, and for no other reason. They were special jurors, men of substance, and they complain bitterly of being called away from their vocations' in order to have this stigma fixed upon them. That is a point upon which the quotation from Lord Spencer has no bearing whatever.
§ *(7.30.) MR. S. SMITH (Flintshire)
I was present at these trials with Mr. Crompton and I heard Mr. Crompton's opinion expressed on many occasions. I heard him deliver the speech in Dublin in which he described his impression of the trials. While it is quite true that Mr. Crompton approved of the conduct of the trial by the Judge, he did strongly 1781 condemn the conduct of the case by the prosecution. I, myself, saw the empannelling of the Jury, and certainly I cannot describe it as other than jury-packing. Out of a very large number of jurymen summoned to attend there were 11 Protestants selected and one Catholic, and the last, I; was given to understand, was a strong anti-Nationalist. I cannot imagine any proceeding that can be better described as jury-packing. Prior to this, another Jury was empannelled consisting entirely of Protestants. Many of the Jurymen summoned were Catholics, and most of them were men of substance, holding positions that would not subject them to coercion or undue influence, they were mostly men of property, possessing the Special Jury qualification, and so they did not belong to the class specially liable to be coerced. I had repeated opportunities of discussing the entire proceedings with Mr. Crompton; and I heard him express the opinion exactly as it has been described in the House to-day by the right hon. Member for Newcastle (Mr. J. Morley), that the whole thing could only be regarded as a gross perversion of the forms of justice. Again and again Mr. Crompton said this in my hearing, but, being a fair-minded man, he always commended the action of the Judge, and I agreed with the opinion expressed by my friend that the Judge conducted the trial fairly and impartially. But the whole system was it burlesque of trial by jury, and I came away with a feeling of deep disgust and indignation at the travesty of justice going on in Ireland, and with the conviction that there never can be peace or satisfaction in Ireland until this system is put an end to.
§ (7.35.) MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
I am content to leave this question of jury packing where it is left by the controversy to which the Committee has listened, and I desire to recall the attention of Members to another matter, which has been referred to by the hon. Member for North Dublin and by the hon. Member for East Mayo. The Attorney General for Ireland has not attempted a defence, nor, indeed, do I think he succeeded in a palliation of the failure of justice in the case of Mr. John Kelly. The case was submitted by the hon. 1782 Member for North Dublin with considerable fulness and carefulness of statement of fact, but there Were not many Members in the House at the time, and, from the language Used by the Attorney General for Ireland, the facts cannot be gathered. All he said was that the case had gone to the Exchequer Division of the High Court, which Court had supported the Resident Magistates on a point of law, and upon that I will say a word or two presently. The Attorney General for Ireland seemed to taunt the defendant with not having appealed to the County Court Judge on the questions of fact, but the right hon. Gentleman omitted to state that the defendant could not appeal both on matter of law and matter of fact, and nothing is more natural that when a person thinks his case on a point of law is very strong that he should appeal on that point of law instead of going to a County Court on a matter of fact. The facts of the case which the right hon. and learned Gentleman tried to dispose of in an easy off-hand way have been fully stated to the Committee; so that I will advert only very briefly to them. Mr. Kelly was seen driving round on a car to a number of houses on the Smith-Barry estate, and, in conversation with Mr. O'Dwyer, who was afterwards tried along with him, was heard, by a policeman concealed in a hedge, to remark, in reference to a conversation with a woman in one of the houses, "The women are more in earnest with us than the men." On this slender evidence, and on nothing more than this, John Kelly was convicted of conspiracy. Now, I ask hon. Members to imagine a strike in England before the Act of 1875, and a man driving around the district in which the strike prevailed being heard to make use of such an expression as I have mentioned. Imagine such a prosecution in England, and the indignation it would have excited. The Attorney General has thrown down a bold challenge to English lawyers; he says a man could be convicted in England on the same evidence. But I ask any hon. Member who will bring a fair mind to bear upon his knowledge of what takes place in English Courts, can he imagine an English jury convicting a man upon such evidence as that? Can any similar conviction in England be pointed to? Can we imagine 1783 a man being sentenced in England, not to four months' hard labour, but even to a week's imprisonment, on evidence such as I have stated? The Attorney General for Ireland did not venture to deal with the facts at all, whether because he felt the scandal, or because he is so accustomed to indefensible convictions that they cease to shock him. He merely pointed to the fact that the Exchequer Division did not upset the conviction. The Exchequer Division could not go into the facts; they seem to have thought, as there was some tittle of evidence, they must not reverse the action of the Magistrates. I will, however, tell the Attorney General why no similar conviction could have taken place in England. There are three points in which the Jaw of conspiracy in England differs widely from the law of conspiracy in Ireland. In the law of Ireland there as no statute similar to the Trade Unions Act of 1875 protecting acts done in trade disputes. The Attorney General says that that Act reserves the power to punish intimidation. Perfectly true. But the Attorney General cannot say that we have to deal with intimidation in the present instance, because on the charge of intimidation Mr. John Kelly was indicted and acquitted. Secondly, under the law of England it is not an indictable offence to induce, or to combine in order to induce, persons to break contracts. I know it has been held otherwise in Ireland by Judge Fitzgerald, and by others following him, but the authorities in England have been subjected to careful examination, and (although there has been some doubt on the point) the opinion of Mr. Justice Stephen, not usually supposed to take a lenient view in such matters, is in consonance with that expressed by Mr. R. S. Wright in his Law of Criminal Conspiracy, and by Mr. K. E. Digby, in his recent very able treatment of the subject, that it is not an indictable offence in England to induce persons to break contracts. Thirdly, it is a most material difference that in England this class of cases, which are of the utmost difficulty, go before a jury. In Ireland the decision is thrown into the hands of the Magistrates. The distinction between questions of law and questions of fact is lost sight of, and the influence of public opinion, with which the Jaw ought, if possible, to be in harmony, is 1784 wholly ignored. It is a very grave and serious misfortune that persons should be convicted on what everyone must admit to be extremely weak and scanty evidence. Mr. Kelly may, or may not, have been concerned in the tenants' agitation on the Smith-Barry estate. I do not enter into that, for I have no knowledge beyond what the depositions, which I have read, supply, but I point out to the Committee that whatever knowledge derived from other sources may have been present to the minds of the Resident Magistrates, there is not in the depositions sufficient evidence upon which to found a conviction. The Magistrates may have had various statements, made to them by private informants, in their minds, and knowing this, the Crown Prosecutor, I assume, did not think it necessary to go through the usual form of proof. He seems to have presumed on his knowledge of facts in the minds of the Magistrates, and, as the result shows, presumed rightly. But I put it to the Committee, is it not a matter of the gravest concern that the administration of the law should be so conducted as to inspire no confidence in the people? How can the people of Ireland have any confidence when they see a case, which in England would have to be supported by a long array of evidence to satisfy a jury, decided by Resident Magistrates in Ireland upon practically no evidence at all but upon private impressions or untested belief? I think we are under obligation to Irish Members for bringing before the House a case which, it is to be feared, is only too typical of the maladministration of justice in their country.
§ (7.50.) MR. MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
The course of the Debate has clearly shown how the Chief Secretary is led into error by reliance on garbled versions of facts put before hin by Irish officials. To this is due the fact that in previous allusions to Mr. Crompton's evidence the right hon. Gentleman omitted to say that that gentleman made a fierce attack upon the system of jury packing pursued at Maryborough. In this full Report of Mr. Crompton's speech in Dublin, on October 22, there is a thorough and complete condemnation of jury packing. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite have pressed Lord Spencer's 1785 name into their service. I wish from my heart that the Chief Secretary in the few months left him to exercise for good or evil his influence in Ireland would imitate Lord Spencer in those investigations which have led the noble Lord to his present opinion on the Irish question. Criminal prosecutions in England are conducted with fairness and an honourable intention to arrive at the truth, and the Crown Prosecutor on occasion makes himself the prisoner's counsel. I was very much struck with that in witnessing a case in which the hon. and learned Member for Ashton-under-Lyne (Mr. Addison) was prosecuting. He is a political opponent of mine, but I could not help congratulating him, and these congratulations he appeared surprised to receive. The Judge was pressing a point somewhat hardly against the prisoner, and the hon. Member, as prosecuting counsel, intervened, and said as much in the interest of the accused. When I spoke to the hon. and learned Member afterwards on this, he expressed his surprise that several Irish Members had congratulated him upon what seemed to him the most natural thing to do. But as I told him, he does not see the law administered as we see it in Ireland. It is a hunt without the rules of the sport, the victim is the prisoner to be run to death, and success is the measure of promotion for the counsel prosecuting. What Lord Den-man said of trial by jury, in reference to the O'Connell trial, is true now, trial by jury in Ireland is a fraud, a delusion, and a snare. Even Unionist newspapers like the Daily Chronicle make this admission. That paper, in a fair and able article in January last, declares it is much to be regretted that trial by jury in Ireland bears only a resemblance in theory, to trial by jury in England. In England there are never several hundred jurors summoned, from which to select a jury by unlimited challenge. In the Court of Appeal to which the Gweedore case was carried, and in which Mr. Justice Gibson sat, the verdict was confirmed by a majority of one of the Judges, and I need only refer to the significant observation of one of the Judges, "You have gambled for a verdict." In the cases I propose to give as illustrating administration in Ireland, let me first refer to the case of Frackleson, 1786 the emergency man, who, some 12 months ago, committed an unprovoked murder by firing three shots from a revolver; one person was killed on the spot, and two others seriously wounded. Mark the difference, that in this case though the Government were obliged to prosecute, they did not exercise their right of challenge in empannelling the jury. I mentioned some time ago that the Constabulary had, since the right hon. Gentleman has been in office, committed 14 murders, in none of which were prosecutions instituted, except in two, and they were sham prosecutions. The first of the two was a case in which a murder was committed at a place called Timoleague, on the 3rd September, and the other was the case of a murder committed on the 5th September in Tipperary. In each of these cases the Crown Solicitor did his best to defeat the ends of justice. In the first case the person murdered was a poor boy, and a Coroner's Jury was summoned to inquire into the matter. Mr. Blake appeared as Crown Solicitor to conduct the case on behalf of the county, and he so managed it as to ensure a disagreement on the part of the jury, his action being such that he ought not to have been allowed to retain his office. It was so arranged that seven of the jury were Protestants and the other five Catholics, and men had been sent to summon these juries distances of six and seven miles, when there were plenty of respectable individuals living in the neighbourhood whose attendance could have been secured. The police, however, were made to scour the country for miles in order to procure men who would be likely to bring about the desired result. This was a gross scandal and an undoubted attempt to pack the jury. Well, as I have stated, in that case the Government managed to ensure a disagreement In the other case of murder, which occurred two days after that of Timoleague, the Coroner's Jury returned a verdict of wilful murder against the policemen charged. Those policemen were brought before two Removable Magistrates and the case was conducted, by whom? By Mr. George Bolton. Now, Sir, I will get up and apologise to Mr. George Bolton for what I have to say if the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland will get up and contradict me when I state that 1787 Mr. George Bolton, who was employed in this case as the representative of law and order, is simply a sink of iniquity. Will the, right hon. and learned Gentleman correct me? The Chief Secretary knows nothing at all about it, but the Attorney General does know a good deal. Both he and I know Mr. George Bolton, and I have just said that if the right hon. and learned Gentleman will contradict me in this statement I will at once apologise and express my regret. I say that Mr. George Bolton is a mass of immorality and a sink of iniquity. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman get up? No, he dare not. He knows that if he did I should state to the House the reasons on which I found this statement. Well, these are the sort of persons by whose means law and order is supported by the Government. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary never makes a speech in Ireland in which he does not talk of his morality, but does he ever talk of the morality of some of his subordinates and agents? The two policemen accused in this case—a sub-Inspector and a constable—having been brought before the two Removable Magistrates on a sham prosecution in which the Magistrates refused to direct any further action, the result is that the Sub-Inspector and the constable who shot the man are now at large. This is the way in which justice is done in Ireland. In one of the numerous collisions which have occurred between the police and the tenantry at Falcarragh in Donegal, a policeman was charged with brutally assaulting a tenant, and the tenant also was charged with brutally assaulting the policeman with a crowbar. Both these proceedings arose out of what was done at the same time and in the same cottage. But the policeman was a Protestant and the tenant was a Catholic, and the tenant was taken for trial not to Donegal but to Tyrone where he was brought before an Orange Jury, and was, as a matter of course, convicted. The policeman, however, who was alleged to have struck the tenant and fired shots at him was not taken to Tyrone to be tried by an Orange Jury, but had the advantage of counsel for the Crown, who did all that was requisite in challenging the Catholic Jurors, and he got off. Who was it that 1788 tried the two persons—the tenant at Tyrone for assaulting the policeman and the policeman at Donegal? Why, Mr. William M'Loughlau, Queen's Counsel. Surely this case shows the shameless frauds that are perpetrated in Ireland in the name of justice. I find also, that at the last Spring Assizes at Derry, in which three men who were Catholic, and had been arrested in Monoghan, were sent for trial by a Derry Jury. How was that Jury composed? Why, one of the Jurors was a contractor in the town, and supplied horses and vehicles for taking the prisoners from the railway to the gaol and from the gaol to the Court House. The result was, of course, that those men were convicted, one of them getting only three months imprisonment, while the others, who were connected with the National League, were sentenced to imprisonment for six mouths. Then I would put it to the House, how are prosecutions conducted for political purposes? The Government avowed that they regarded with apprehension the Tenants' Association, which was meant to slash, and undoubtedly did slash, at the Smith-Barry syndicate. Well, the Government set itself to destroy the Tenants' Defence Association, and the Crown Solicitor of Roscommon was very active in this work. I have here, as the result of this activity, an indictment framed by the Crown Solicitor of Roscommon on the 15th September, alleging that certain defendants being in a proclaimed district had incited others not to do that which they had a legal right to do, and that, without legal authority, had unlawfully used intimidation towards persons whose names were unknown, with a view to force such persons into doing to which they had a legal right to abstain from doing. I assert that the Crown Solicitors have collusively abused the Coercion Act, and I will call attention to a remarkable case in which a man received three months' imprisonment for winking at a pig. The Magistrate said that winking at a pig was in itself no crime, but the winking had been done to induce persons to refrain from buying a pig which the owner, who was a boycotted person, had taken to market for sale. This occurred at Falcarragh, and the result was that a summons was issued and the case taken into 1789 Court. They bound the defendant in two sureties of £25. each to keep the peace for 12 months, or, in default, to be imprisoned. Of course, the man was marched off to gaol. My hon. Friend behind me has immortalised in verse the pig-winking case, about which right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench know nothing. It is too parochial for them. I now wish to state how the Crown Solicitors pursue their duty. I will take one case of a gentleman who adorns the' administration of justice. A few weeks ago Dennis O'Brien, of Loughrea, commonly known as a land-grabber, was found guilty of dangerously stabbing another man. The Crown Solicitor got the Judge to let the fellow out on his own recognisances. He was not an hour in prison, although he had stabbed the man dangerously. At the same Sessions a Town Councillor, named Sullivan, was sentenced to sis months' hard labour for having cheered the Woodford prisoners, who had frequently been remanded for refusing to give evidence. So that you have in the same Court a land-grabber guilty of stabbing let out on his own recognisances, though he had stabbed a man, and a Town Councillor sentenced to six months' imprisonment merely for cheering some prisoners. I can prove to the House cases in which men have been caught red-handed in wilful murder, and let off by these very Crown Solicitors. Here, again, I press into service my friend Mr. Wybrants Olphert. I asked the Solicitor General for Ireland whether a man named Beattie had been returned for trial in the County Donegal, at the Summer Assizes, for having murdered a man; whether the prisoner had been caught with his smoking revolver in his hand; whether Wybrants Olphert sat on the Bench; and whether, after he had dismissed the charge, he was over-ruled by the other Magistrates; whether, at the Summer Assizes, the Grand Jury threw out the Bill. The fact was that this man was an agent of Olphert, in respect of a commercial company, and Olphert sat on the Grand Jury threw out the Bill. No proceedings were taken against him because he was the landlords' friend. The right hon. Gentleman, in answer to the questions, said the Bill was thrown out at the last Summer 1790 Assizes; and the Attorney General called for a special Report from the Crown Solicitor—the Crown Solicitor himself being at the present moment under the charge of firing a revolver and drawing a sword upon a poor man. Without going into that matter, it was decided that there was not sufficient evidence against the man, although he was caught red-handed, to justify the Crown in taking any further proceedings. Is that not an atrocious parody of all justice, and are we not guilty of political and social immorality in voting money to these fellows to be used in this way? I find the Crown Solicitors are very, very careful about the character of the Times witnesses. It is a well known rule in Ireland and England that the Judge is furnished with the antecedents of the man on his trial. A man of the name of Mitchell was charged at the last Carlow Assizes with knocking down a man named Bolam for having reaped a crop on a farm from which Mitchell had been evicted. He was only ordered to enter into his recognisances. It was perfectly well known that he was a Times witness, and that he had presented a revolver to his landlord's steward and threatened to shoot him. That fact was not laid before the Judge, the desire being to hush up anything in which a Times witness appeared. I do not wish to say anything about the Government note-takers, except that the Crown Solicitors are as guilty as these fellows, who commit deliberate perjury as to their competency to take notes. It is the duty of the Crown Solicitors to sift the evidence, and only send before the Court that which is trustworthy. I can only say that these Crown Solicitors have been engaged from first to last in all the infamies which have disgraced the present Irish Administration. They have been engaged in suggesting to the County Court Judges the increase of sentences. They have been engaged in all the atrocities whereby Irish Members and politicians have been sentenced to hard labour. They have been, in fact, the servile sleuthhounds of the Crown. But they show singular omissions. A right hon. Gentleman on this side made before the Government notetakers a speech precisely the same as that made by the hon. Member for North Mayo, but 1791 the Crown Solicitors did not dare to prosecute him because he was an ex-Cabinet Minister. But of all these counts the most villainous relates to the costs incurred in trials in which the police are concerned. I ask the Attorney General whether it is not the case that if a policeman breaks open a civilian's head, and the civilian gets damages, the public have to pay those damages, simply because the policeman had exceeded his duty? How will the costs be paid in the action brought by Father Kennedy against Constable Hyde? First of all, this fellow Hyde was defended by 'four Crown Solicitors. One of them, in his address to the Jury, stated that if there was a verdict against Hyde, it would score a point against the Government. No sooner was the verdict given against Hyde, and the point scored against the Government, than this Crown Solicitor sent a telegram to the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General announcing the untoward event. These fellows, who forced their way into the private room of Father Kennedy, will their defence be paid for by the public? Or again, will the costs, in the case of some gentlemen who were arrested by a policeman who was drunk, be paid by the taxpayer? These gentlemen, after being detained 36 hours, were liberated, there not being the shadow of a charge against them, and they brought an action for damages. The whole system simply reeks with fraud; the Irish Government smell from earth to heaven. I have simply called attention to a few cases, but for every one I have given I could cite 12 or 14 others. I have endeavoured to put the matter temperately, believing the case to be so strong that it requires no enforcement beyond mere statement. (8.30.)
§ (9.1.) Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members being found present,
§ *(9.3.) MR WEBB (Waterford, W.)
I do not think any chivalrous championship by the Attorney General for Ireland of his predecessor in office will at all alter our opinion in regard to the administration of the law in Ireland. One of the arguments used by the right hon. and learned Gentleman was that Earl Spencer, many years ago, defended, to a certain extent, the present system of 1792 jury-packing in Ireland. It was, however, fully admitted by Earl Spencer at the time, and it is admitted by the right hon. Gentleman now, that in defending the system of jury-packing he did so entirely on information obtained from the officials whose management of the law we now impugn. There cannot be a better answer than this, that Lord Spencer himself has altered his opinion, and that, with all the means at his disposal to investigate affairs down to the very bottom, he has come to the conclusion, and has the honesty and manliness to state it openly, that it is quite impossible to maintain the present system. Another argument the Attorney General for Ireland used with reference to the trial of those unfortunate men at Maryborough was that they pleaded guilty. I do not think that is a sufficient argument. The pleading of guilty is not always an acknowledgment of guilt. When these poor men saw the determination of the Government in the matter, when they saw the extent to which the jury-packing had been carried in the previous cases—and we consider in Ireland that the Government will stop at nothing that will enable them to secure a conviction—I do think they were ill advised in pleading guilty. It is a pretty strong proof that the Government themselves had not any firm belief in the guilt of these men that when they pleaded guilty they were let off with light punishment. The Kelly case is, to my mind, one of the worst that ever occurred. There is no evidence whatever that Mr. Kelly committed any crime. That a man should be convicted because he had visited certain farms in certain districts, and because someone else had said something while he was in prison, is I think a perfect travesty of justice. I am quite sure that even those who will vote against us in this matter must in their heart of hearts believe that the conviction of this man was an unjust conviction, and that the punishment of four months' hard labour he received was a monstrous punishment. The question has been asked, Why did he not appeal? Well, if the law in Ireland is in such a condition that a man on such evidence, and with the certainty of such an imprisonment before him did not appeal, so much the worse for the law in Ireland. It shows that not only in the inferior, 1793 but in the higher Courts, the law is in an unsatisfactory state, and in a state which would be unheard of in a free country. It is difficult for an Irishman to speak of the infamous system of jury-packing with any degree of patience. Those Englishmen who have seen the system at work in Ireland perceive the infamy of it more clearly than we who have dived under it so long. The system is an insult to Protestants, and it puts us in a position which is hateful in the extreme. But if it is an insult to Protestants, what is it to Catholics? Such a system would not be borne in England for a day. The whole object in Ireland when a man is being prosecuted is to obtain his conviction. The Executive does not stand indifferently between the prisoner and the Crown, as it does here. It is very sad that it should be so. It has been used as an argument that, according to the statements of some English visitors, the juries show great anxiety to do what is right. I do not think it is at all necessary to say that a packed jury in itself is unfair. But we object to men who may be expected to have certain prejudices being selected to try prisoners. It would not be at all fair in this House that Gentlemen on the Conservative side or on this side should be alone chosen to settle any matter, and it would be impossible for them to come to fair conclusions on both sides of the case. It is quite possible that a jury would try to act fairly, and yet it should never have been selected to try the case. I believe that the people of Ireland are as much inclined to be fair as the people of any other country, and in all ordinary cases of crime, unconnected with politics, there is no difficulty whatever in obtaining convictions when the evidence is sufficiently strong. I quite admit that it is easier to get a conviction by packing a Jury than is it without. But I do not think conviction is the end of law, and I regard it as a very short-sighted policy indeed. If a Jury is simply to register the charge of a Judge I think the Jury system might be done away with altogether. I am not a lawyer, but I feel that Juries have and it is meant that they should have a large amount of power, in modifying the law. If Juries in England consistently refused to give verdicts in accordance 1794 with what the law is supposed to be the law would be changed at once. The notion that to rule Ireland properly you must force the people to consider certain laws right is most short-sighted. The sense of law and justice must be made to spring from within us, and cannot be forced on us from without. The effort to sustain the present state of things in Ireland, and to maintain laws which are against the sense of right of the people, must lead from bad to worse. If Government were working in Ireland for the best, less and less coercion would be necessary. The contrary is the fact, and the longer affairs go on in Ireland as they arc, more and more coercion will be necessary, and more and more Jury-packing will be necessary for securing convictions in a certain class of cases. It is quite possible that some patience with the people will be required when a change is made in the present state of things. For my part, I regard it as a great deal better that a sense of justice should prevail in the country than that convictions should be easily obtained, and that the people should be thrown into prison. It is impossible to maintain the present system. It is only by trusting the people that a solid basis of freedom can be maintained, and in proportion as the Irish people rise in education and in comfort, the more they will rebel against the present intolerable state of things, and the more they will be determined never to submit to it. I believe that when a change has been made, and the people are trusted as they ought to be, there will be no longer any occasion to resort to such unfair and drastic methods of procedure as have been used in the case of Mr. Kelly, and as are constantly employed in the packing of Juries.
§ *(9.20.) MR. T. D. SULLIVAN (Dublin, College Green)
I trust the Debate of this evening will receive throughout the length and breadth of this Kingdom the attention it deserves. I feel sure that one portion of the Debate will create a sensation in Ireland, and will not readily be forgotten by the people of that country. Only a few moments ago the right hon. Gentleman, who is chiefly responsible for the rule and government of Ireland at the present time, made with energy and emphasis a statement to the effect that the Catholic people of Ireland are 1795 unworthy of credence on their oath [Cries of "No, no!"] I am in the memory of the Committee; I cannot be mistaken in the meaning and purport of the words used. I cannot quote the words textually, but I am under no mistake as to their meaning and purport, and as to the meaning with which they will be regarded in Ireland.
§ *MR. MADDEN
The hon. Member has misunderstood the words of my right hon. Friend, who is not here at present. He said nothing of the kind. What he said was that, unfortunately, there were classes of the people in Ireland who could not at the present day, in the present circumstances, be depended on to give a verdict according to the evidence on oath in certain cases, but he did not in the slightest degree suggest that these classes were Catholics.
I shall leave it to the Committee and to the Irish people to judge of the value of the explanation and interpretation which the right hon. and learned Gentleman has put upon the words of the Chief Secretary. There is no explaining them away; it is absurd to make the attempt. There can be no doubt in the mind of any man who heard the right hon. Gentleman as to the classes he referred to. The whole speech had reference to the distinction made in the administration of the law in Ireland between Catholics and Protestants, and it was in defence of that distinction, and of the practice of Jury-packing, in defence of the selection of Protestants and of the exclusion of Catholics, that the right hon. Gentleman made the statement we heard, a statement which the right hon. Gentleman and the Government, and the Party to which the right hon. Gentleman belongs, will not be allowed in a hurry to forget. The right hon. Gentleman told us that, for the reason he gave, Jury-packing must be maintained, and must continue in the country. That is a charming message of peace to send to the Irish people. It comes well from the spokesman of the Party who tell us that one of these days we are to get Local Government. Local Government to be given to a nation, the majority of whom are Catholic, the said Catholics being unworthy of credence on their oaths! I shall not take the contradiction of any Gentlemen opposite. I have my own re- 1796 collection of the words, and so have my Friends around me. We shall look at the Records and Reports to-morrow—I do not suppose they will be cooked in any way—to see whether what I said is not a fair and accurate representation of the words used by the Chief Secretary-Well, Jury-packing is to go on I suppose for the 20 years of firm and resolute Government which the Government and their Party seemed at the time to think they were to enjoy. I doubt very much that they can any longer lay that flattering unction to their souls. But, be their term of office long or short, I take the word of the right hon. Gentleman, that as long as he can help it, the evil and detestable system of Jury-packing shall be maintained. What does the defence of Jury'- packing amount to? It amounts to this, that by this process of excluding Irish Catholics from the juries of Ireland, and including Irish Protestants, and Protestants 6nlyr fair and impartial verdicts can be obtained. I utterly deny that statement. I deny that the Government seek for an impartial Jury. I maintain that their endeavour is to put men in the box who will find for the Crown in every Government prosecution. If an Irish Protestant were suspected of Nationalist sentiments, he would be excluded from juries. Several Protestants have been excluded. There are Protestants in Ireland who are Irish patriots, just-minded, honest, and liberty-loving men, and I say that that class of men have as little chance of being selected by the Crown Prosecutors in Ireland to try pelitical cases as any Catholic in all the land. I believe that the best men amongst the Protestants will resent, as my honourable Protestant Colleague (Mr. Webb) has to-night resented, this, indignity which is being put upon them by the Tory Government, the indignity of selecting them for the purpose of doing what the people of Ireland believe to be an injustice. I trust the feeling that has been expressed by my respected Protestant Colleague, will be shared by thousands of men in Ireland such as he. Speeches have been made from this side of the House which throw great light upon the whole system of Government in Ireland. I trust those speeches will be fully reported and widely read. I feel convinced and I have reason for 1797 my belief, that among the masses of the English people there is a desire to see right done towards the Irish people. The masses of the English people are, I believe, revolting against this disgraceful, iniquitious system by which it is sought to keep for a long period the Irish nation in subjugation, in discontent, and dissatisfaction. We can easily understand, after what we have heard this evening, why it is the name of law and the administration of the law are not so much regarded in Ireland as they are here. They do not deserve to be. Under the name of law grievous oppression and, injustice is carried on in Ireland. The administration of law in Ireland, so far as it relates to matters of any political complexion, or even an agrarian complexion, the administration of the law is unjust, "a mockery, delusion, and a snare." The people have no confidence in it. The people of Ireland have as much respect for law and justice, as much love for peace and good order, as any other people on the face of the earth; but as they see law administered in Ireland, it fills them with distrust and detestation. We have heard a good deal about jury-packing in Ireland, and the Committee can estimate the value of the defence which has been set up for it, but in almost every other Department of the law in Ireland the same taint is to be found. The same evil runs through all. There are cases an. Ireland where the people cannot, as in England, have the protection of a jury. How can the Irish people be expected to repose confidence in the Removable Magistrates? in men like Mr. Cecil Roche—
§ *MR. T. D. SULLIVAN
When the proper time arrives I shall have something to say in reference to those gentlemen. The laws in Ireland, under cover of which so much persecution has been inflicted on the Irish people, are mainly three. This Government instrument of torture for the Irish people has three prongs, and on one or other of these 1798 every Irishman who takes part in. National movements is sure to find himself impaled. It is impossible for any Irishman to take part in any Constitutional agitation without being charged with being concerned in or connected with either conspiracy, intimidation, or illegal assembly. We have, however, one consolation in all this trial and trouble of ours. The Chief Secretary may be truthfully said to be one of the best friends and most able helpers of our National movement. If it were not un Parliamentary I would say that the right hon. Gentleman by his infamies and atrocities, by his work and his actions in Ireland, is winning our cause for us. The right hon. Gentleman is winning the next General Election for us. For the Tory Party the right hon. Gentleman is a very costly luxury, and in sustaining him in his system of rule in Ireland that Party and their Government are paying very dear for their whistle.
§ *(9.40.) MR. WOODALL (Hanley)
I am reluctant to intervene, and if I should repeat something that has already been said, owing to my absence during part of the discussion, I hope I shall be excused. I was one of those English Members who thought it was their duty to be present at the trial at Maryborough. Without going unduly into the circumstances which came under my observation, I beg most emphatically to endorse what has been said by several hon. Members on this side of the House in regard to the prosecution of the unfortunate prisoners from Donegal. Much bas been said to-night about jury-packing. It is the duty of the Grown in the conduct of prosecutions to endeavour to secure an independent Jury, from which shall be eliminated all those who are likely to be prejudiced against the finding of a perfectly honest and fair verdict. Englishmen attach much importance to the great privilege which we all possess of being tried by a Jury of our Peers, chosen impartially from our immediate neighbours, and of being brought to trial in the locality where the offence is said to have been committed. We were, therefore, indeed shocked to see how all these privileges were distorted under the rule which prevails, in 1799 Ireland, and I am satisfied that if any hon. Gentlemen opposite who desire, as we all do, to see the laws reverenced and obeyed, had been present in the Court at Maryborough, they would have been painfully shocked by the manner in which the laws were there administered. The accused persons were brought from a remote county 200 miles distant. They were brought to be tried by a Jury of strangers, chosen from a class of a different social position to their own. The Jury panel was a very large one, more than 200 names being included in it, and every Juryman on the panel was rated at more than £100 a year. After witnessing the proceedings in Court I was profoundly impressed with a feeling of shame. Substantial men were summoned to serve on the Jury, and under penalty to appear, and there was reasonable ground for belief on the part of every man that he was acceptable for the discharge of the duty of a citizsn, and capable of giving a verdict according to his oath. I say, again, it was impossible to witness the spectacle that followed without being ashamed. Substantial men who had been summoned to attend from long distances, who would have been fined if they had not been present, when they appeared found that they had been called merely to be told to stand aside. When they protested against these repeated insults, which would have made the blood of any Member of this House boil, they were subjected to fine, and in every case to rebuke for resenting the insult. The result of the challenging system was to produce a Jury strongly prejudiced against the men placed upon their trial, and the Committee must remember that these men were removed far away from their own county. I remember how the first prisoner, when called upon to plead, declared in a few simple sentences that he had no confidence in the Jury to whom his life was to be left. With my friend the late lamented Mr. Crompton I noticed many important matters in which the administration of the law differed from the administration in England. My friend Mr. Crompton acknowledged, as I do, the conspicuous fairness of the Judge, but that, of course, we were prepared to find, and though I am prepared to admit that the Jury seemed 1800 animated by a desire to do their duty, that concession only leaves ns in regard to this charge exactly where we were. The prisoners were removed from their own county, and denied the safeguards we are entitled to look on as the essential conditions of a jury. There were a number of curious incidents we noted, and remarkable differences from English procedure. One thing which caused us, who were visitors, great surprise was that the doors of the Court-house were closed, that admission was only granted; as a sort of favour, and it was only after protest from the English Members present that the doors were ordered to be opened, and the general public were admitted as long as there was space to be had. I understand, Sir, that you have ruled, and I do not wish to deviate from your ruling, that it is not competent for us to discuss the Memorial which was signed1 by myself and by all the English visitors present at the trial, praying for the clemency of the Crown, and consideration of some of the peculiar circumstances which accompanied that trial, but I hope another opportunity will be offered us of raising that question. But there were some circumstances in connection with the trial of so remarkable a character that they tended very seriously to weaken in the minds of the visitors confidence in the soundness and justice of the verdict. Evidence was accepted which afterwards became the subject of inquiry before the Court of Appeal. What is the effect of all this on the minds of the people of Ireland? We all desire to win over the Irish people, as the Scotch and the English people have been won over, to a respect for the administration of the law, but is this the way to win them over? How far do these prosecutions, conducted in the way that has been indicated, tend to bring about the contentment of the Irish people and orderly and peaceable conduct on their part? I know a little about Gweedore and the county from which these prisoners were brought. I remember in 1887 visiting the district in connection then with the promotion of cottage industries, and I remember then I had remarkable testimony to the virtues of the inhabitants. I remember the conversation with a Resident Magistrate; he told me there was no 1801 part of Ireland in which the people were more quiet and well conducted than in the Gweedore region. Then my informant went on to tell me how this result was to he attributed to the influence of a remarkable priest who had made nearly all his people teetotalers, Petty Sessions was almost a blank so far as criminal cases are concerned, and the district was practically crimeless. All this happy state of things was attributed to the influence of the Rev. Father M'Fadden. Afterwards I had the good fortune to make the acquaintance of Father M'Fadden, whom I am now proud to call a personal friend, and I found him all he had been described to me, a friend of the people, who found employment for them, protected their rights in the Land Court, and fought their battles for them in various ways, and I should have thought that any Government would have esteemed itself fortunate in being able to have the assistance of such a man exercising such a beneficent influence. But what instead did the Government do? The story is a sad one, and it is well-known. This part of Ireland became the scene of disorder, and, under the administration of the right hon. Gentleman, was treated as a conquered country. Things arrived at such a condition that passports were demanded on the public roads by the police. Not to emunerate the various incidents. Father M'Fadden, under his first sentence, passed a term of imprisonment in Derry Gaol, and as was said by an illustrious Member of this House, in relation to O'Connell, as nearly as I can remember—The portal of his gaol became the arch of triumph through which the deliverer of his people was restored.So Father M'Fadden returned to the people to whom he had rendered so many, and such signal services, and they regarded him as having undergone martyrdom in their cause. The love and reverence for their priest deepened among the people of Gweedore, and it was under these circumstances that the Government made another and still more futile attempt to crush him. It was on a Sunday morning, in the midst of his people, and having just left the altar, that with an insufficient force of police an attempt was made to effect the arrest 1802 of Father M'Fadden, and in the tumult that arose the people seeing a sword flourished over the head of their priest, the garments of his sacred office rudely ripped, and thinking his life in danger became infuriated, and the death of poor District Inspector Martin occurred. I cannot refrain from referring to the attempt of the Government to fasten upon Father M'Fadden the responsibility of that crime. I forget with what technical offence he was charged in the first place, but certainly subsequently a charge of wilful murder was made against him, and for a long time he was kept under arrest on that odious charge, being driven from Letterkenny to Gweedore over and over again, and he cruelly remanded from time to time. By and by, however, that charge was dropped, and he was arraigned upon another charge. One thing which struck everybody who was present at Maryborough was that, although William Coll and the other accused persons were under trial, the whole action of the prosecuting counsel was to attempt to throw on Father M'Fadden all the responsibility. It is only fair to say that the Judge felt it his duty continually to call attention to the fact that Father M'Fadden was not on his trial. When we are invited to pass this Vote I think we are entitled to ask how far the conduct of these criminal prosecutions tends to secure the objects we should have in view I Surely the aim of all our elaborate system is to prevent crime, and to win over people to co-operation with the Government in bringing about a state of real contentment and orderly and peaceable conduct on their part. But anyone who has visited the North-West of Ireland would find it impossible to discover any man who would say that the administration of the law by the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues had won the people over to anything like respect, for it; on the contrary, it had provoked in their minds feelings of the intensest hostility and revolt. I should, indeed, think less of the Irish people if they entertained any other feeling; for I believe that free men—men who are worthy of being free—could not sit down contentedly under such a condition of things. I agree with the hon. Member who last spoke that the right hon. 1803 Gentleman opposite is playing the game of his political opponents. He is doing his best—although, of course, I do not question the honesty of his purpose—to carry out a policy which centuries of misrule hare proved to be a failure, and he is paving the way for those better times when Irishmen of all classes will be equal, in the eye of the law; when people will respect the law; when they will regard order not merely as the enforcement of an arbitrary system by those for whom they have no respect, but as a state of things which contributes to their happiness and contentment; and when there will be a cordial union with those under whose rule the Irish people have to live, and to administer their own affairs.
§ (10.71) MR. W. O'BRIEN (Cork Co., N.E.)
This Debate, I think, would be a valuable one if it only produced speeches such as that which we have just heard on the part of an English eye witness of the scenes in Ireland. I cannot help thinking it has even been still more valuable in eliciting the speech of the Chief Secretary. That speech to my mind gave a most instructive and candid exhibition of the spirit of contempt and of aversion with which he regards the people whom he has been sent to govern. The Government were charged to-night with jury-packing—a practice as notorious in Ireland as the sun in the heavens, but which, for some extraordinary reason, Law Officer after Law Officer has been called on to disown in this House. What was the reply about jury-packing? In the first part of his speech he denounced with indignation jury-packing as a gross libel upon the guileless Law Officers of Ireland, and the second part was devoted to the defence of that practice. He made the plainest possible admission that the practice was carried on as an institution, and he based that on the most offensive ground which it was possible even for a Chief Secretary like the right hon. Gentleman to take up—the ground that three-fourths of the Irish people cannot be trusted to return a true verdict on their oaths. Let him put what construction he likes upon phrases. If his speech means anything, it means that three-fourths of the smaller farmer class cannot be trusted to do this, and the consequence is that when the men are 1804 told to stand by it involves the direct stigma of perjury upon them. From this night forward I defy any Government to stand up and deny that there has been jury-packing in Ireland. It is now admitted by the Chief Secretary, who has championed and defended it as an inevitable incident of government in Ireland, and with the greatest possible confidence I leave to the judgment of the English people both, the right hon. Gentleman's logic in resenting in one part of his speech what he championed in another, and his method of conciliating the sentiments and susceptibilities of the Irish people, whom he has charged with unreliability upon their oaths, and with perjury. I hold: that this is practically confessed in the Journals of the House of Commons, and I pass to the ease brought forward by the hon. Member for North Dublin. The Attorney General seemed to be very anxious to part with the case of Mr. Kelly, but we cannot allow him to part with it. I am not sufficiently versed in the niceties of the law of conspiracy to be able to deal with the legal bearings of the case. This is a case in which, to my mind, the common sense of laymen is quite able to appreciate the unfairness and infamy of this charge. The Attorney General founded the whole of his defence, so far as he attempted any, except the most perfunctory and trifling, upon the decision of the Court of Exchequer. But what the Court decided was that there was a certain amount of technical legal evidence which might possibly go to a jury, but the difference between English and Irish law is that in Ireland there is no jury fit to go to. The jury that had to decide Mr. Kelly's case consisted of two of the right hon. Gentleman's magisterial lackeys, two men who were depending on him for their promotion, and almost for their means of livelihood, and the evidence that any English jury would have scouted out of Court was quite enough to give those two officials a pretext for putting Mr. Kelly out of the way. Mr. Kelly has been removed—that is the proper professional term—not because there was a scrap of real evidence against him, but because he obstinately refused to give them a scrap. Such a thing could not happen in England, because no tribunal could 1805 possibly convict a man upon such evidence; but in Ireland the Magistrate is juryman, hangman, rope, and all, and when the order went down that Mr. Kelly was to be put out of the way he was sentenced to four months' imprisonment with hard labour, not for anything he did, but for a speech which I delivered nearly six months before in a different part of the country, so that he is now literally and actually suffering four months' imprisonment for simply using the personal pronoun in the plural number. I defy the right hon. Gentleman to point out any other offence that was brought home against Mr. Kelly. I hold this to be as atrocious a case of injustice as ever stained even the annals of Ireland, and it is even more cowardly than infamous. If anybody deserved to suffer for that speech it was I. I was prosecuted for it, but the prosecution was dropped. Again and again we challenged the right hon. Gentleman to contest in a Court of Law the legality of the combination on the Smith-Barry estate, but they declined, to submit that question even to an Irish Court of Law. I submit this as another specimen of the. Chief Secretary's new order of things in Ireland. The new order of things is, to be cautious about Members of Parliament, for they have friends, and they may possibly do some mischief to the Government in England; but strike at the under men, strike at the humble men, and punish them for the speeches of M.P.'s, if you can get nothing else to punish them for. I venture to say that, bad as was his original policy of striking at us and endeavouring to degrade us, this is an infinitely more cowardly policy. I fervently trust the right hon. Gentleman's calculations as to the impunity with which the Government can attack men like John Kelly will be disappointed as grossly as every other calculation of his has been with reference to Ireland. I appeal to Englishmen to study the facts of this case, believing that if they do so they will resent the treatment of this unfortunate man none the less because he does not happen to be a Member of Parliament, but, on the contrary, will regard with infinitely more indignation and disgust this revolting system by which recourse is had to dodges of this sort to get rid of a political opponent 1806 whom the Government dread, and who has never placed himself within the power of the Coercion Law. The Chief Secretary has, as usual, added insult to injury in the case of John Kelly, and in this House stigmatised him as a paid agent engaged in infamous work. The right hon. Gentleman talks of a paid agent! He is a paid agent himself; and he knows in his heart that no single man serves the Government in Ireland except as a paid agent. Mr. John Kelly is no more a paid agent than any right hon. Member who sits on the Benches opposite. He is as respectable a man, and I think he is as able a man as any on the Treasury Benches. He is engaged in a work which he need not blush for, and which will compare favourably with the work in which the Chief Secretary is engaged. I believe we will succeed in spite of every effort to stifle public opinion, that we will get the facts into, the English mind, and whatever may be the issue of the Irish Estimates now before the House, I believe whenever the; English people get a chance they will express their opinion in regard to cases like that of Mr. John Kelly, and condemn the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary in a rather more straightforward English fashion than that in which even his Removables have condemned Mr. John Kelly.
§ (10.22.) MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I rather believe that I have heard that oration before, and I am possibly destined to hear it again. It is very good of its kind. And I have nothing to say against it, except that it seems to me like an old familiar friend. With regard to the earlier part of the hon. Member's speech I did not hear it, for I was absent from the House, and was not aware a personal attack was being made on me.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
But with regard to the last part of the speech, I think the Irish Government receive rather hard measure at the hands of their critics. I recollect, during two years of the administration for which I was responsible, that gentlemen opposite, whether above or below the Gangway, filled their speeches with the most violent attacks because I had the audacity to proceed 1807 against the Members of Parliament. It was said to be an insult to the House and to the country. But according to the hon. Gentleman now, the Government did not attack Members of Parliament, and it is construed into a sign of cowardice. It is very difficult to please hon. Gentlemen.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
No. The action of the Government, as far as I am responsible, has been perfectly uniform throughout.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
There has been no distinction drawn, and there ought to be no distinction drawn, between Members of Parliament and others, and when the hon. Member now ornaments his rhetoric with inflated periods and complains of the Government because they do not proceed against him, I think he should do us the justice to recollect the not infrequent occasions on which we have found ourselves with great regret forced to take action against him.
§ MR. W. O'BRIEN
What I found fault with was that the right hon. Gentleman did not prosecute me for what I said, but did prosecute Mr. John Kelly for it.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
That is not so. We prosecuted Mr. Kelly for what he did himself—for taking part in a conspiracy of which it is not impossible that the hon. Gentleman was a member. Mr. Kelly was twice imprisoned by the Government of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, and twice by the present Government. The hon. Gentleman was very angry with me for having described Mr. Kelly as a paid agent. I admit I have not seen legal proof of it, but if Mr. Kelly has been paid money it neither aggravates nor diminishes the offence of which he was guilty. That offence was the offence of conspiracy. The hon. Member for Aberdeen made a long speech, in which he said that Mr. Kelly might have appealed on the facts of the case, but he chose to appeal on the law of the case to the Court of Exchequer, and he found that the appeal had no basis of law. Why did Mr. Kelly 1808 choose to appeal on the law rather than the facts of the case? I credit Mr. Kelly, or his lawyer, with the common sense of choosing the point of appeal which would give him the best chance of getting off. Therefore, I have a right to conclude that, weak as Mr. Kelly's case was in point of law, it was weaker in point of fact. That is a conclusive answer to the hon. Member for Aberdeen. Mr. Kelly did not appeal to the County Court Judge, who is not, in the eloquent phrase of the hon. Gentleman, a lackey of the Government, but as independent as any Judge in England or Scotland, because he was of opinion that the case would have gone against him; but he appealed to the Court of Exchequer. I think I have said enough in dealing with the legal merits of Mr. Kelly's case. It has been asserted during this Debate that the combination of tenants on the Smith-Barry estate is a legal one, and I wish to refer to what the hon. Member for East Mayo has said on that point. No doubt it is perfectly legal for people to determine that they will not pay their rents and will go out of their holdings; but it is not legal to combine to induce people to do that; still less to combine to compel people by intimidation to do that; and my chief, but not my sole, complaint against the action in Tipperary is this—that men who desired to pay their rents, who were able to pay them, and who had an enormous pecuniary stake in their tenancies, were compelled by intimidation, the result of conspiracy, against their will and against their interest, to refuse to pay their rent, and by refusing to sacrifice enormous sums which they had invested in their holdings. That is the illegality of which I complain. I do not complain of any man saying, "I will no longer pay rent; I will go out." If they had done nothing more than that no complaint of illegality would have been heard. It is very well-known that the action in Tipperary has not been action of that kind; but it has been accompanied by intimidation; and those who have had the audacity either to pay rent or to remain in their holdings have had their houses wrecked, have been subjected to intimidation of every sort and kind, and boycotted. It is this 1809 intimidatory accompaniment to the combination on the Smith-Barry estate which has justified the Government in describing it as an illegal combination.
§ (10.33.) MR. T. M. HEALY (Longford, N.)
The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary is weak in his law and still weaker in his facts. I have no doubt the Committee will think it remarkable that the right hon. Gentleman, who boasts that he has at his fingers' ends the facts of all these cases, did not endeavour to enlighten the Committee in the slightest degree as to what was the law or what were the facts of the case on which Mr. John Kelly was convicted. Now, can we imagine, or can the admirers of the right hon. Gentleman, who admit that he never loses a point that by any means will tell in his own favour, can the dullest or most embryonic Conservative intelligence imagine for a moment that if the right hon. Gentleman could show the Committee in what degree Mr. Kelly was guilty he would not have done so? I challenge the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland to deny that Mr. Kelly's offence was that he went round among the tenants, that he drove on an outside car with tenants, that he went into the house of one of them, and after having had a little whisky and water with the wife of the tenant, was heard to say, "The women are stronger for us than the men." It was for that that Mr. Kelly got four months; while yesterday the respectable lady who stole Mr. Stanley's spoons got off with a fortnight. How do they make up the case against Mr. Kelly? On what is it that the Conservatives will by and by go into the Lobby to defend the imprisonment of Mr. Kelly? Six months before, the hon. Member for North-East Cork, at a place 14 miles away, made a speech, for which he was not prosecuted, and because the hon. Member made that speech Mr. Kelly got four months' imprisonment with hard labour, which is as remarkable a problem in black letter law as was ever worked out. This is what the right hon. Gentleman ask Conservative Members to defend. This is odious; but still more so are the means by which hard labour was added. The Chief 1810 Secretary spoke of Mr. Kelly being>t paid agent. I do not know whether he is a paid agent or not. I am sorry to hear he is not, because no man better deserves to be paid for his services in Ireland than Mr. Kelly. But I will tell the right hon. Gentleman that he has a paid agent on the Bench, one of the briefless barristers named Meldon, whose brother Charlie some hon. Members may remember as having once had a seat in this House. Those who remember Charlie may infer from him what a washed out copy his brother is. Well, this brother had as his colleague a gentleman bearing the warlike name of Waring, who, I believe, is a brother of the not un warlike Member for North-East Down, who sits opposite. When Mr. Meldon had said, "We will give the defendants four months' imprisonment," he said to his colleague, "Shall we give hard labour?" and Mr. Waring said, "Oh! with hard labour. They are strong chaps." I believe Mr. Waring is as deaf as a post, and therefore did not hear the evidence. The House has heard the attack of the right hon. Gentleman on Mr. Kelly, who, the right hon. Gentleman said, was a paid agent, which is not true; but he did not tell the House that on the day before Mr. Kelly was imprisoned, the day before his appeal was heard by Dr. Webb, the Freeman's Journal reported a disgraceful attack on Mr. Kelly made by the right hon. Gentleman. If Irish Members ask a question about a policeman, we are told, "Oh, the case is sub judice; it cannot be answered;" but that consideration did not prevent the attack on Mr. Kelly. In the same way, when Mr. M'Henry, the editor of the Limerick Leader, appealed to the County Court Judge against a sentence of nine months' hard labour, and the appeal was still pending at the County Court of Limerick, the right hon. Gentleman selected his case as a Press case to vindicate his conduct in attacking newspapers; and the County Court Judge has the report of the speech before him as a finger-post when the appeal comes on. Of course, M'Henry's sentence, like Kelly's, was confirmed by the County Court Judge. I meet those County Court Judges often; many of them are friends of mine. The right hon. Gentleman said they are not 1811 removables; but they are pro-movables, and are the appointees of the right hon. Gentleman, and the County Court Judge of Tipperary is not even yet warm in his seat. By a job the Government got old Wall to retire for the purpose of making Mr. Anderson County Court Judge of Tipperary, so that they might have a strong man. Of course, when a County Court Judge is appointed by a Conservative Administration, he has to do their work; their lives would be miserable if they did not.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I rise to order. The hon. and learned Member is making an attack upon County Court Judges, whose salaries are charged on the Con solidated Fund, on the ground that they dare not give verdicts against the Government.
The hon. and learned Member is endeavouring to meet the argument which has been used as to there having been no appeal.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
He is endeavouring to meet that argument by suggesting that justice cannot be done by County Court Judges in Ireland if they have been appointed by, the present Government.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I do not want the Chief Secretary to teach me as to questions of order. He and his Party have not achieved such a very brilliant success on questions of order as to entitle him to take that position. I must say to the right hon. Gentleman when he asks us to sit quiet and imitate what he does, that for myself I bear quietly all the attacks of the Chief Secretary, but his manners do not exhibit the repose which "marks the caste of Vere de Vere." I am only saying what I can in defence of the County Court Judges in Ireland. When you get a job, I really think it ought to be accepted with some show of gratitude.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
Very well, Mr. Courtney. I would like to have said a few words more: in defence of these 1812 gentlemen. I will pass from that subject, merely observing that when we do come to the Vote, the right hon. Gentleman will find that their salaries are not on the Consolidated Fund, and that their salaries can be discussed like those of ordinary mortals. I was discussing the case of Mr. Kelly from the point of view of appeal, and I will content myself by saying that, taking the gentlemen to whom the appeal has to be made, there is no, chance of an appeal on the facts to a County Council Judge going against the Government. There is only one County Court Judge—Judge Waters, of Waterford—who has given an opinion against the Government, and the Chief Secretary has twice in this House made most unfortunate attacks upon that gentleman. So far, as the agents and barristers of the Government are concerned, Judge Waters at this moment is a boycotted man.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I beg the hon. Gentleman's pardon. I have made no attack on Judge Waters. I have merely stated that twice his decisions were upset by the Superior Courts.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I wonder how often the decisions of the Removables have been upset! I acknowledge the courtesy and benevolence pf the Chairman in allowing me to refer to the matter. I think this case of. Mr. Kelly forms a perfect type of what is going on in Ireland; and with regard to the right hon. Gentleman's observation that we have not been prosecuted, the point of my hon. Friend was this—"You have given Kelly four months' imprisonment for a speech in respect of which you did not dare to prosecute me." In his, airy manner the right hon. Gentleman turns that into a complaint. He says that, formerly Irish Members complained that they were prosecuted, and now they complained that they were not. With regard to the statement that intimidation prevails in Tipperary, let me point out that Mr. Kelly was tried on two charges of intimidation and conspiracy, and he was acquitted on the charge of intimidation. Is, it not monstrous, therefore, that the right hon. Gentleman should Say that intimidation 1813 prevails in Tipperary? I say it is most disingenuous, and we should really have some apology from the right hon. Gentleman. Perhaps the action of the Government in this case will be defended in an epistle from the Member for Dover. I think the Member for Dover has not commented on this case. Really, I would invite him, and even appeal to him, when next he has his fertile pen in his hand, to be good enough to give his attention to and favour us with his views on the case of John Kelly. Perhaps he will defend the action of the Government in imprisoning Mr. John Kelly for four months on account of a speech by the hon. Member for North-East Cork. Bad as Kelly's case was, there is another which shows the character of the justice we may expect to get on appeal. I refer to the case of a man named Ryan, who entered the public house of his cousin, and on seeing a policeman there he said to her, "Are you serving the police," to which she replied, "I wish I had all the policemen's money." Ryan thereupon refused to be served, and he got six months' imprisonment. [Laughter.] I do not know what is exciting the sarcastic laughter of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. No doubt we shall hear from him with his 17 quotations in his wallet. Ryan was prosecuted by George Bolton, against whose character I am not going to say a word. He has been attacked by the Judges, and it is of no use treading the beaten path. George Bolton is one of the astute men in the Irish Government. He cares not two-pence about law and order; but he cares a great deal about the six-and-eight-pences to be gathered in prosecutions. He sets his police for reports just as a setter goes for game. He has no feeling against the parson accused; he has no feeling in the matter; he simply makes it a matter of business. I have no feeling whatever against Bolton. I regard him, I may say, with professional awe. Ryan appealed; I think the decision was confirmed, and Ryan is now undergoing six months' hard labour. As to the question of intimidation, I have here the Report of the North Durham Election Petition (Hardcastle, p. 158), in which Baron Bramwell, who, of all the Judges who decorate the House of Lords, is the 1814 strongest on this question of intimidation and conspiracy, says—The more venial crime was the intimidation, which consisted in threatening the voters that they should lose custom if they did not vote in accordance with the wishes of their customers.That is the opinion of an English Judge in reference to your tenure in this House. It is intimidation of a venial kind when practised against Members of Parliament, but it is punishable with six months' imprisonment in the case of Shaw, who left the beerhouse because policemen were served. Lord Bramwell says—I am not sure that it is unlawful.How do hon. Members like that from one of the English Judges?—I am not sure—in fact I am of opinion that it is not actually unlawful.Yet Ryan is now on a plank bed for what Lord Bramwell declared was not unlawful—I suppose it is open to a man to say he does-not choose to deal with you, not in accordance with the merits of the commodities you show to him, but according to your politics on one side or the other.And here is this fatal sentence on the question of conspiracy—And I suppose if one man can do this 5ft men can do it.What becomes of your moveable law, your perambulatory law, your law according to Waring and Meldon? You have from one of your strongest and most ironclad Judges this declaration, yet you find the Irish Removable Magistrates giving a man six months' imprisonment because he refused to drink porter in the house of his cousin because she served the police.
The hon. and learned Gentleman is travelling outside the Vote in challenging the decisions of Resident Magistrates.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
Well, Sir, I challenge the action of the Government because the Attorney General, I suppose, flatted these prosecutions. I presume Ryan's case was laid before him, and, that being so, I want to know whether he is not the person mainly responsible, and whether he can with any hardihood maintain that it is a case for six months' 1815 hard labour? The right hon. Gentleman says conspiracy prevails in Tipperary. Where is the conspiracy? Hitherto the great complaint of the Irish landlords and the Irish newspapers has been that the Irish tenants want to eat their cake and have it—to stick to their farms and pay no rents for them—and the Times and other English newspapers used to fulminate against their dishonesty, and say that English Trades Unionists did not act in that way, and that when they struck they did not stick to the factory, but went into the streets. But what has happened in the case of the Smith-Barry tenants? They have flung the land and houses at the landlord. They have built a large and commodious mart for their own convenience. [Laughter.] Let us not have the loud laugh that speaks the vacant mind. They have built, I say, large and commodious premises for their businesses and for the occupation of the tenants in the neighbourhood. Is that conspiracy? Yes; with the Government everything is conspiracy. It is conspiracy to stick to the land; it is conspiracy to give it up. Why cannot the Smith-Barry tenants go out on the road side if it pleases them? Should not the Government be delighted that these people do not resist the Sheriff? When they do resist the Sheriff it is a terrible crime. We have heard Lord Salisbury and other leaders of the Tory Party declaim about the resistance which has been offered to the Sheriff; we have heard them talk of the necessity for putting up escalading ladders and so forth, and we have heard them say, "Why do not the people act legally and give up their houses peacefully and quietly as the English people do?" And yet when the people do give up their houses peacefully and endeavour to establish themselves elsewhere, we are told that it is conspiracy. That does not please you. In fact, nothing will please you except the punctual payment of rent. That is the only thing the Irish tenants may do and not be sent to gaol for it. All that John Kelly did, I presume, was to go round and advise the tenants to peacefully give up their holdings to the landlord—to recognise the rights of property—to swing the thurible in front of the rights of property, and yet everyone who has given that 1816 advice is now lying on a plank bed, or has come out of gaol with his back scored. We have had a Judgment "per Wyndham, C.J." the Chief Justice who sits for Dover. From the nicest point of Sheriffs' law down lo the most abstruse point connected with the Land Act, he has given us an opinion we all heard with so much profit. If he would only give us some disquisition on Tipperary, I am sure our minds would be purged from all doubt. I must confess I cannot understand what is exactly the position of Her Majesty's Government. The case of the Gweedore prisoners has been referred to. I cannot enter into that, having been engaged in the case; but leaving aside all questions of law and of merits, I must say it is a strong order to keep a man in gaol, regarding it purely from an Executive point of view, when we find that four Judges were of opinion that he ought to be released, and five Judges—one of them being the Judge whose Judgment was involved—were of opinion that he should be kept in prison.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
As a matter of law charges, Sir, if it does not arise under this Vote it cannot be discussed at all, as there is no other Vote upon which it can arise.
The prisoner is undergoing sentence, and the only way the sentence can be interfered with is by the exercise of the clemency of the Crown. The matter, therefore, would arise under the Vote for the Chief Secretary.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
Then I will not go into that matter. The only other case I will refer to is that of Dennis Connell, a prisoner who was tried four times for murder in Kerry, and I think this case amply illustrates the objectionable manner in which law prosecutions are conducted in Ireland. I am not finding fault with the Government for trying the prisoner four times. It is a strong thing to do; but if the Executive hold a strong opinion of the man's guilt, if the crime has been a particularly barbarous one, I do not say that they are not justified in trying the man four times. 1817 But this is the point of my complaint: two men are arraigned for murder, not an agrarian murder, but one arising out of a family matter. Lawrence Hickey was tried with Dennis Connell, and was convicted and sentenced to be hanged, and was very properly hanged in due course of law. Having hanged one man it might have been thought that they should have paused. But they tried Dennis Connell a second time. Every Catholic was struck off the panel. The third Jury disagreed, a Jury on which no Papist was allowed to sit, the third time Connell was put on his trial, Hickey having been hanged in the meantime. For the fourth time Connell was put on his trial, and for the fourth time the Jury disagreed, a purely Protestant Jury. And now, Mr. Courtney, comes the point of my observations. One man was hanged, and in the same case another man was put on his trial four times.
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
Well, it really does not matter. I am not finding fault on that point, but what happened? This was a case of a family dispute, and there had been an inquiry under the 1st section of the Crimes Act. Who conducted that secret inquiry? Shannon, brother of one of the Shannon's of the Times, who went to Maryborough Gaol and administered the illegal oath to Delaney—son of the other Shannon, who was solicitor to the Times, and whose practices have in various ways come under the notice of the Court—father and son, a truly worthy pair. The other Shannon was the Resident Magistrate who conducted the secret inquiry. How did Shannon get to be a Magistrate? Simply because he was secretary to Colonel Turner; and will the Committee believe that while Connell was in peril of his life in the dock in Maryborough, the man instructing the Crown Counsel was Shannon, the Resident Magistrate who had conducted the secret inquiry against Connell? In the lowest moments of Instruction in France, I believe the prisoner at the parquet has 1818 never had the disadvantage of having the Juge d'Instruction advising counsel against him. Shannon absolutely recommended that Connell should be put on his trial for the fourth time, and they would have put the man on his trial for the fourth time, but they made a bargain with him viâ Shannon, that he should go to America. They put him on the deck of a steamer and shipped him to the United States. Why did Shannon want him prosecuted for the fourth time? Why did Shannon want him hanged? Because Shannon declared—and this shows what is the motive of most of these Crown prosecutions in Ireland—"That if Connell is allowed to go back to Kerry, he will have me shot." [Mr. A. J. BALFOUR: No, he did not.] Of course, the right hon. Gentleman knows. I ask him why was Shannon in the Court Room at Maryborough while this man was tried for his life? What was he doing there? Will the right hon. Gentleman pick me out a case in the whole history of French jurisprudence in which a man, conducting an Instruction, has acted as Shannon acted? When he had finished the Instruction, Shannon's duty was to have remained in Kerry attending to his magisterial functions. Instead of that, you find him for weeks at a time, while these trials were going on, hanging round the purlieus of the Court at Maryborough, and giving his aid to Her Majesty's Government. The prisoner in the dock, a man with a rope round his neck, a man who had heard the fatal bell toll as his co-accused passed out to execution, was supposed to stand with an equal countenance before the jurors, while he saw the Instructing Magistrate giving his aid to those who were trying to take his life. Is that fair-play? Is that honourable dealing? And then, supposing you had not succeded in inducing, by the threat of a fourth trial, Dennis Connell to emigrate to America; supposing he had stood out, and either got an acquittal or a nolle prosequi entered for him, would you have expected him to have respected the law? The Courts of Justice ought to be the object lessons of Her Majesty's Government. Justice should be so administered that every man, from the poorest peasant up to the Peer, should see in it something to extol and admire; that 1819 the poorest man, who has had sentence pronounced against him, should feel that the law has been administered fairly; that it should be said as your Attorney General, not of the 19th century, but of the days of Queen Elizabeth—Sir John Davis—said, "No men love to see good and impartial justice more than do the Irish." Never shall I forget the remark an acquitted prisoner made to me. The man he was accused with was sent to penal servitude, and I said to the acquitted, "I am sorry we bad no better success." "Ah! well," said he, "he broke the law." There was a feeling in the peasant that when the law had been broken it was right that the sword of justice should have its course. But you expect these men, when they see the law prostituted and degraded by its instruments, to acquiesce with incense in the eulogium of the Chief Secretary, "We have stood up for the weak against the strong; we have acted fairly and justly before all men, and so let our epitaph be written." No doubt Mr. Shannon is to-day descending from his easy chair, and sending someone to the plank bed. This fair and impartial man is now operating as freely and as gamely as ever—
§ MR. T. M. HEALY
I am only illustrating why we cannot respect the law. Civil justice is as honourably administered in Ireland as in any country in the world. I even think the ordinary civil suitor gets a fairer hearing and more attention from the Judges—I would say more courtesy—than he does in this great and proud land of yours, probably because the Judges have not as much work to do. But when you have once introduced the elements of politics everything connected with decency and justice is exorcised. Take the case of Michael O'Brien, who was charged lately with poisoning his father-in-law by means of rat poison. He was first tried at Waterford. No question of politics or religion was involved, and the Crown made no challenge. The jury disagreed on the question of motive. No motive could be suggested except that O'Brien wanted to 1820 get the £10 for which the old man was insured. It was a fair question for disagreement, but what happened? The Crown changed the venue to King's County, and although the Chief Justice declared that no question of politics or religion was involved, the Crown challenged 42 Catholics, and the man was convicted. Is that not an abominable state of affairs? If O'Brien was guilty nobody in the community would have had the slightest sympathy with him. Even the people of the North of Ireland have not pretended that we have any sympathy with the killing of fathers-in-law. Why, then, is it to be declared that a Catholic upon his oath is unworthy of being believed? I mention that case simply for an à fortiori purpose. If the Government do this in a case of poisoning a relative, what will they not do when they believe the Crown and the Government are concerned? You deny, forsooth, that there was jury packing in the case of the Gweedore prisoners. I say your whole Government is tainted and poisoned, and instance after instance is brought forward by the Irish Members without finding a rebutter. The mis-government of Ireland, flowing in a perennial stream, always affords sufficient matter to keep these Debates afloat Session after Session, year after year, Estimates after Estimates, and instead of Her Majesty's Government ministering one palliative to this system, it is maintained by Chief Secretary after Chief Secretary and by Attorney General after Attorney General, and the complaints of the Irish Members fall on unheeding ears. Because of that the Chief Secretary says we ought not to make our complaints; that, in short, we ought to forsake our duty to our constituents. We ought to give up even the satisfaction of uttering our complaints from our dunghill. He would deny us even that principle of representative Government. I say, Sir, that if it were only for the exposure of these wrongs, we should be false to our constituents and to our country if we did not bring them forward. At any rate, we shall have done our duty, and the shame will be upon you if, with these facts before your eyes, you who boast of law and order do nothing to redress our grievances.
§ (11.30.) The Committee divided:—Ayes 215; Noes 133.—(Div. List, No. 180.)
§ Resolution to be reported to-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again to-morrow.