Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £82,766, 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 the Salaries, Allowances, and Expenses and Pensions of various County Court Officers, of Divisional Commissioners and Magistrates in Ireland, and the expenses of Revision.
§ (4.55.) MR. W. O'BRIEN (Cork, N.E.)
If the Irish Members were to insist on discussing in anything like detail all the complaints they have to make against the Divisional and Resident Magistrates whose salaries are included in this Vote, there would not be much probability of the First Lord of the Treasury realising his anticipation of concluding the Irish Estimates to-morrow. I propose to allude briefly to one specimen of these Removable Magistrates. I want to call attention to the conduct of an ex-Indian official, Colonel Caddell, whose only qualification for his office is his churlish insolence to every one who addresses him. For nearly nine months this gentleman has been ruling in Tipperary with as much unbridled power as if he were a Turkish Pasha. He is one day commanding the police when dispersing a meeting, and the very next day sitting in judgment upon their conduct. Colonel Caddell was one of my Judges at Clonakilty. On that occasion I was cross examining a police note-taker, named Garvey, who had taken bodily out of a newspaper my speech and the 104 speech of my hon. Friend the Member for West Cork, but swore that he had taken them down while they were being delivered. Garvey's evidence was so evidently perjured that, though my hon. Friend was sentenced to two months' imprisonment, the Government never dared to meet the case in a Superior Court, and the sentence on my hon. Friend has never yet been enforced, although I myself went through four months' imprisonment on the evidence of this policeman. I was cross examining this policeman when Colonel Caddell came to his rescue and said that if the man had copied the speech correctly from the Freeman's Journal it was the newspaper, and not the witness, that I should accuse of perjury. That is a sample of Colonel Caddell's intelligence; he failed altogether to appreciate the difference between a man swearing that he had taken a note of a speech and copying it from a public newspaper. He did not know the difference between a newspaper reporter taking a note honestly for his paper and a police shorthand writer stealing that report and swearing it was his own note. That is a fair specimen of Colonel Caddell's intelligence, but I am glad to say that the condition of this gentleman's liver has a great deal more to do with his government of Tipperary than his intelligence. Here is another illustration of the double function Colonel Caddell fulfils in Tipperary, first as a policeman, and then as a Magistrate—Constable King appeared on the table to prosecute Miss Hogan and Mrs. Nunan, and John Hennessy, William O'Brien Street, for groaning at the police on the day the evicting party knocked down Mr. O'Brien-Dalton's mill. Mr. O'Dwyer, LL.D., appeared for the defendants—
§ MR. W. O'BRIEN
The date is the 15th February last. It is the case of two ladies, Miss Hogan and Mrs. Nunan, respectable shopkeepers in the town, who were prosecuted for groaning at the police, but that is not the point I am on. Mr. O'Dwyer, their solicitor, called Colonel Caddell's attention to the fact that he (Colonel Caddell) had been in command of the Police Force upon the day in question, and asked him would he undertake to adjudi- 105 cate in the present proceedings? Colonel Caddell replied that on the occasion referred to he was acting ministerially, and that in the present instance he was acting judicially. Here you have a distinct and naked claim, which he has repeatedly enforced, on the part of Colonel Caddell—that Colonel Caddell the Magistrate can sit in judgment upon Colonel Caddell the policeman and his subordinates. The people of Tipperary are expected to reverence the law that is administered by such an insulting—I do not hesitate to call him so—jackanapes as this gentleman who, when a clergyman addresses him in the streets of Tipperary, sticks out his tongue at him, and who has never to this day apologised or explained—I invite the Chief Secretary to explain it if he can—the indecent, filthy language which he addressed to a respectable poor young girl in Youghal who was at the time in the custody of his policemen. This is the sort of thing that goes on every week, almost every day, in Tipperary, and it is into the hands of persons like Caddell—I venture to say again, an ignorant, insulting, and incompetent little tyrant—it is into his hands that the peace of Tipperary and the lives of a whole community have been committed for the last nine months. Let me give another specimen of the conduct of this Magistrate. It was Colonel Caddell who superintended, and is responsible for, the outrage that was perpetrated over poor Michael O'Dwyer's grave; and we are not going to allow that outrage to pass without reminding this House and the English people of it again and again. The Chief Secretary complained the other night that we repeat our charges. Well, Sir, we do, and we will; and we will not only repeat them in this House, but we will repeat them from end to end of England, and I rather think the right hon. Gentleman's complaint is not so much against us as against the English constituencies, who have repeated again and again their verdicts upon those charges. It is not surprising that their verdicts are beginning to be a little monotonous to the right hon. Gentleman. But what are the facts of the outrage in the graveyard at Tipperary? Mr. O'Dwyer was one of the most respectable men in the whole town—a splendid 106 young man about 30 years of age. He was under a notice of eviction by Mr. Smith-Barry. His little baby had died a short time before, and his wife was on the point of death. He was being buried, and actually, while the coffin was being brought out of the church in Tipperary, a body of policemen came up, and posted on the gates of the church a proclamation signed by Colonel Caddell proclaiming the funeral as an illegal assembly. The town was crammed with policemen that day. Huge bodies of them armed with rifles moved about in the funeral procession, and a force of them galloped to the head of the procession—shadowing the dead. When we came to the graveyard we found Caddell and a body of policemen drawn up outside it, and they stood there while that solemn ceremony was going on, Caddell with an insulting smirk upon his face. He was not satisfied with that, and, acting on his orders, a body of policemen rushed into the graveyard and forced their way within a few feet of where the coffin was lying. These policemen had not the common decency to take off their spiked helmets while the funeral service was being performed. They remained there throughout, the people being maddened and outraged by their presence, and the moment there was a word of protest uttered by my hon. Friend the Member for East Tipperary, instantly the police note-taker brought out his note book and took down what was said. I want to know is it possible to imagine any proceeding that was better calculated to wound and to outrage the deepest and the dearest feelings of the people than the conduct which I have described? Because the people are so patient, we see what use is made of their patience. The very same thing happened at the grave of my poor Friend Matthew Harris, the late Member for East Galway. The police then again forced their way into the graveyard, stood by the grave, took a note of what was said there, and I believe that was claimed to be a perfectly proper proceeding on their part, because the people did not take the ruffians by the neck and throw them out of the graveyard. But the police pursued poor Michael O'Dwyer beyond the grave. Three or four days after his interment, when his wife had struggled up to open 107 the shop, the first person who came into it was a policeman with a notice that he meant to oppose her licence at the next Sessions—that is say, the police would try to deprive her of her only means of livelihood simply because she had refused to supply an emergency man when he was brought into her shop by some policemen with the deliberate purpose of entrapping her into a refusal. Because she would not facilitate Mr. Smith-Barry in provisioning his garrison in Tipperary the poor woman, broken-hearted as she was, is told by the police that her last means of livelihood are to be taken away from her. That is only another specimen. I could give hundreds and thousands of them if necessary. I ask any Member on either side of the House how long he would be prepared to tolerate such a state of things? I venture to say our people would be the veriest slaves and hounds, and should be justly considered so, if they did not loathe the law and order that is associated with men like this Caddell. The only reply we get in this House when we mention these things is that crime is common in Tipperary. I venture to say that the only crime in Tipperary is that which is encouraged by Caddell and his policemen. A struggle has been going on in that town now for 12 months, and two vast estates have been cleared, and I defy the Chief Secretary to name one single act of bloodshed that has been committed by the people. I could name acts of bloodshed on the other side, and I venture to say there never was a people—and they a hot-blooded people—who conducted themselves so crimelessly, so peacefully, and so marvellously in the face of insults like those this man Caddell has heaped upon them day after day. And what is the result? You have achieved the maximum as regards outraging the people's feelings, and you have accomplished only the minimum as far as your own purposes are concerned. This condition of affairs in Tipperary, if it were not so horrible in many ways, would be downright ridiculous and disastrous. For nearly nine months Colonel Caddell has had at his back about 130 policemen and 600 or 700 soldiers. He has absolutely limitless power both as a police bravo and a Police Magistrate under the Crimes Act. He has done all that a man 108 could do—all that I verily believe a demon with all his ingenuity could do—to exasperate the people into riot and disturbance, and what is the result? At this moment the combination against which you are in vain fighting, and the legality of which the Chief Secretary was practically obliged to acknowledge the other night, is as firmly rooted as the Rock of Cashel. Notwithstanding all the horrible shadowing that has been going on, Colonel Caddell has not succeeded in establishing a single successful prosecution for boycotting. Although priests are dogged from day to day, and every prominent man is dogged by policemen, I venture to say the only thing he has succeeded in has been acquitting policemen who jostled men they were shadowing, and in punishing men who remonstrated with the police. At this moment he is an utter failure in Tipperary, and still he is allowed to remain there, day after day, as a constant source of outrage and insult to the whole community. I only wonder that he has not been actually promoted for his services in Tipperary. He is the best of all types of the Resident Magistrate, who is promoted actually in proportion to his brutality to the people of Ireland. There is scarcely a man who has so distinguished himself who has not found the results in speedy promotion. There is Mr. Cecil Roche. I saw him beat with a stick a man in Tralee, who had the temerity to salute me, and he afterwards gave him three months in gaol. His salary has been increased by several hundred pounds since, and I am told that at this moment he is indignant because more has not been given to him. I am also told that there has been a good deal of indignation and heart-burning on the part of Caddell, because he has not been promoted to a Divisional Commissionership. All I can say is, if these are the sort of men the Government have pinned their faith to, we need not object except for the sake of the unfortunate people who are subjected to their outrages. These men are doing our work. They are exemplifying the hatefulness and the impossibility of the present system of government in Ireland, and all I can say is we have not the least objection that you should choose such instruments in Ireland so long as you carry on a 109 system of coercing and oppressing the Irish people. It is quite another thing how these proceedings will be regarded in England, and I venture to say the longer you continue this system in Ireland the surer you are, in the first place, to cement our Union in Ireland and the combination of the Irish tenants; and, in the second place, to meet condemnation here where you fear it most.
§ (6.20.) MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
This subject of the Irish Magistrates has been frequently and fully brought before 'the House. We have proved on many previous 'occasions that the personnel of the Irish Resident Magistracy would be a disgrace to any Government in the world. It has been shown, I regret to say, and no one has attempted to contradict it, that successive Governments—and I do not blame the present Government more than its predecessors—have made it a custom to appoint to these most important posts in Ireland men with absolutely no qualifications for the position; men not only without any experience of civil administration, but the whole course of whose lives has been such as to unfit them for the delicate task which they have to perform. I am speaking now from the point of view of the Chief Secretary himself. We have Returns before the House in which the antecedents of all these gentlemen are set forth, and as well as I can remember now, and I have not the Returns by me, three- fourths of the Resident Magistrates of Ireland are retired military men; and when we look into the personnel of the remainder, we find that with few exceptions there is little more to recommend the civilians than the military men. We find for the most part that they are broken-down "ne'er-do-wells" of county families in Ireland, whom their relatives will not support, and who are utterly unable to make their own way in the world—men of no education or knowledge but of hunting, shooting, fishing, and hare coursing. On one occasion an interesting collection of letters fell into our hands at an auction in Dublin, letters of application to the Lords Lieutenant, in which the most ludicrous reasons were set forth as justification for their application for appointment as Resident Magistrates. Well, the result has been the appointment of men with no sort of qualification for the duties and 110 difficulties of the position. I intend to explain fully the reasons why we Irish Nationalists think the office of Irish Resident Magistrate is an office that ought not to exist under any Government, and I will explain that in a few minutes. It must be admitted by all sections that the duties under a Coercion Administration are of a peculiarly difficult and delicate character; and that, in order to secure the due discharge of those duties, even from the point of view of the Chief Secretary and his supporters, men should be selected who are well experienced in civil administration, trained, and who may be expected to restrain their temper with rigid self-control under difficult circumstances, and who are somewhat versed in the Criminal Law. Now, I need not go at length into the matter, for I do not think it is contended that these qualifications are in any considerable number of cases possessed by the present occupants of the posts of Resident Magistrates. It is a scandalous condition of things. There is not a man on these Benches, nor do I think there is an Irish Representative opposite, who has not witnessed the scandalous behaviour of these men at Petty Sessions. I recollect perfectly well, before the late agitations arose, in my own district in East Mayo a Resident Magistrate, a retired Army Officer, who was in the habit of drinking too much; and I know that day after day he attended the Petty Sessions Court under the influence of drink, and frequently he did not attend at all. There was no remedy. I have watched the unfortunate people coming in with their solicitors from a distance, for there was at that time no solicitor in the town. I have seen them waiting for hours, losing their time and their solicitors' fees, and no Magistrate came. When on the Bench his bearing, his language, was that of a fishwife. I remember a case brought before him in which a tinker was charged with stealing a donkey; and in an altercation which took place, it was difficult to understand from the language used which was Magistrate and which was tinker. I am referring to a considerable number of years ago; but this is a case that came within my personal knowledge, and he occupied the Bench for a number of years. For a quarter of an hour re- 111 criminations were exchanged between the Magistrate and the tinker, police and people standing by and regarding it as the ordinary method of administering justice. This same Magistrate, travelling to a country station one wet evening, found that there was only one car at the station, which had been secured by a commercial traveller. The Magistrate ordered the commercial traveller to get off the car, which the man refused to do. The Magistrate then ordered the two policemen who usually attend at stations to drag the man off the car, and this they proceeded to do, and in doing so broke the man's leg. The man was ill for six months, and the Magistrate had to pay £100 compensation. Bat, after this, this Magistrate was still allowed to occupy his seat on the Bench and administer justice. I only mention this to show the kind of men whom the Irish people in the past have had to go for justice.
§ MR. DILLON
It took place about seven years ago. I do not present it as more than an illustration. The facts are admitted and well known in the district. I only mention it to show the scandalous system which was allowed to go on, and it is to be charged against all Administrations—not only the present—that this scandalous system has been allowed to grow up and form an integral part of Irish government. All Administrations I say, must share in the blame. And now I come to what I consider to be the fundamental blot, or, at all events, one of the fundamental blots in the Irish system of Resident Magistrates, such as I do not know is to be found in any free country in the world, and which, even if the personnel of the Irish Resident Magistracy were beyond question, beyond all blame, would condemn the whole system. It is this: that you have in Ireland a system under which police officers act as Magistrates. Now, I ask any hon. Member, any Englishman, what would he say if in any district a police officer were to sit on the Bench and decide cases in which the police acted as prosecutors? And, unhappily, the objection is very much stronger in Ireland than in this country, because in Ireland the number of pro- 112 secutions instituted and originated by the police is infinitely greater than in this country, owing to a variety of unhappy circumstances. I need not now go into detail. Summonses and prosecutions that in England would be left to private initiative are instituted by the police in Ireland, and this makes the position still more intolerable, that a man who as executive police officer directs a prosecution, should then climb on to the Bench and act as Judge in the case. First ho orders the prosecution, and is through his subordinates a party to it, and then he decides the case. We have heard a great deal about recent disturbances at Cashel and Tipperary. They are of the same character as many previous disturbances in Ireland. But they serve excellently as an illustration of the complaint I am now about to make. It is terrible that such things should be done in the name of justice as are now being done in Cashel and Tipperary. What happens? Caddell orders the charge by the police, and then he is found sitting on the Bench to decide between the police and the persons who complain against them. Take what happened to myself. I was standing talking peaceably to a friend in the Square of Tipperary when Colonel Caddell ordered the police to charge and baton. The police did not obey orders by batoning the people. But suppose any of these policemen had struck me, what would have been my redress? The Chief Secretary would have told me that I had a legal remedy against the policeman if I could identify him. And where would this policeman have been tried? Before the police officer who ordered the charge. Could you have a more grotesque travesty of justice? Here is another example of the principle which obtains in the administration of the law in Ireland. A man was charged with assaulting an officer who was shadowing him. The charge was that he had shoved the officer off the path. I venture to point out that it is exceedingly necessary, if you have such a system of shadowing as that which now prevails in Ireland, that the assault should be very clearly proved. When an officer walks so closely behind the person shadowed as to kick his heel, while another constable touches his shoulder, it may easily happen that the 113 action necessary to escape the kicking of the heel and the touching of the shoulder is construed into assault. In the case tried before Colonel Caddell, three civilians, against whose character there is no accusation, swore there was no assault, yet Colonel Caddell, who had ordered the shadowing, called upon the men to find bail. And, therefore, Mr. Morgan Hay, who had gone into the town of Tipperary to transact some business, was sent to gaol for six weeks. That is an illustration of what goes on in Ireland. The police are ordered to adopt a certain course of proceeding, and if a policeman alleges assault in the course of that proceeding he is supported by his superior officer who tries the case. So long as such a system as that prevails you cannot expect the people of Ireland to respect law and order. I want to say this with regard to Mr. Caddell. I have had a good deal of experience of Magistrates and policemen during the agitation in Ireland, and I must say that some of them are gentlemanly and self-restrained. But there are others against whom Irish Members have frequently had occasion to bring charges in this House. Of one, Captain Plunkett, I will say nothing now, as he is dead. Of another, Captain Segrave, I may remind the Committee that when a charge was made against him he was enthusiastically defended by the right hon. Gentleman. There was the fatal day at Mitchelstown, and when I stated what occurred between me and Captain Segrave the right hon. Gentleman defended him. We raked up the antecedents of Captain Segrave, who was compelled to return to that obscurity from which he ought never to have emerged. Captain Segrave's character was so abominable that even the Chief Secretary had to give him up. If necessary, we shall go into the past of Colonel Caddell. I do not like such a method of warfare, but if we are to have scoundrels and ruffians, dragged from the purlieus of society, placed in the seat of justice, we shall be compelled to resort to it. I shall apply myself to the career of Colonel Caddell, and if his record is as foul as that of Captain Segrave, he will have to leave the Bench. There are men sitting on the Magisterial Bench in Ireland who are not fit to be in decent society, and whose record is such that they would not 114 be admitted to any club of gentlemen if it were made known. Rather than see murders and outrages committed upon our people by these dissipated and disreputable wretches, I will rake up their past history, in order to relieve the Irish people of their intolerable presence. I wish now to call attention to what may be described as rather a shady trick of the Irish Executive. I have over and over again called attention in this House to the gross irregularities of the provisional Magistrates in Ireland. The Chief Secretary did not approve of regularising these provisional Magistrates The Government promised that that payment should be recognised by Statute, but they have not kept their word, and I want to know why they pledge themselves to introduce legislative measures and break their pledge? I suppose it is because they dread the discussion of any such proposal, and it is exceedingly likely, after the experience they have had, that they do not wish to excite further discussion with regard to their policy on matters of this kind. Everybody knows the unpleasant experience of the late Mr. Forster, and the proposal he brought forward, which was supposed to be a device intended simply to meet a tremendous emergency. In order to meet that emergency, Mr. Forster started the idea of decentralisation and division of responsibility, by means of a system of Divisional Magistrates, a system which I contend could not be applied for a single hour to any other country in the world. What happened? Why, that the system, which was intended to meet a grave crisis, became the regular system of the country, and continues to be saddled with all the additional cost and inconvenience it entailed. The recommendation of the Controller and Auditor General was that those payments should be made by Statute, and the Government, although they pledged themselves to carry out his suggestion, have broken that pledge, and have got round the Auditor General by calling the Divisional Magistrates Executive Officers. That is an idea unworthy of a Government. The Auditor General objected to the payment of these three gentlemen as Resident Magistrates, because, under the Act of William, the maximum salary of the Resident Magistrates was fixed at 115 £750 a year, and the Government, instead of passing a fresh Act creating fresh officers, go to the filthy archives of Dublin Castle, and rake out some musty precedent which enables the Irish Executive to appoint Executive Officers provided the Government pay them. They cease to call these men Resident Magistrates, and describe them as Executive Officers, whom they keep ranging in the air, ready to do anything the Government require; they get the Lord Chancellor to make them Magistrates, and they pay them £1,000 a year as Executive Officers. A more monstrous way of evading the Auditor General was never heard of; and the conduct of the Government in this respect is most disgraceful and must be protested against. Under the present system the Government have placed a superior officer in every district of Ireland, giving him absolute control over all the other Magistrates, who are actually dependent on him for their children's bread. Let us consider how this system works. Some time ago the Government made an appointment which, for brazen-faced indecency, passes anything I ever heard of. I allude to the appointment of Mr. Cecil Roche. Who was Mr. Cecil Roche? He was a briefless barrister utterly unable to make a living at the Irish Bar, and, like many other adventurers, at the Election of 1886 he cast in his lot with the Unionist Party. Briefless barristers and needy adventurers in Ireland generally do cast in their lot with the Tory Party, because all the pickings they hope to get come from that side. Mr. Cecil Roche came over to England and perambulated the country making speeches in the interest of the Government; speeches in which he was prominent for the violence and the vigour of his vituperation. He denounced the Nationalist Party in Ire-land in the most horrible language, although I must admit that sometimes we use strong language ourselves, only there is this difference between us, that if I make use of vigorous language I cannot go to the Bench and send my opponent to gaol for six months. Well, what did the Government do? Mr. C. Roche had distinguished himself by this sort of conduct, and I am informed that on one occasion he stated that "when Hell was frozen over he would go down and fight 116 the Parnellites on the ice." Well, when the Election was over he did not go to fight the Parnellites on the ice of frozen Hell, but he got a much more comfortable place, and obtained an appointment under which he was enabled to send the Parnellites to gaol, so that they might experience the effects of hard labour and the plank bed. I regard it as a most disgraceful thing that a man, for going round the country and denouncing the Parnellite Members, should, in something like six months, be placed upon the Magisterial Bench and empowered to send to hard labour and the plank bed men infinitely more respectable than himself. That, Sir, is the historical Mr. C. Roche, and his history is a most scandalous one. Well, let me point out the connection between his appointment and the appointment of the Executive Officers. We have all heard of Colonel Turner, who found Mr. Cecil Roche so utterly unscrupulous and unreliable for the purposes of the Government that he practically used him as a "walking gallows." I may remind the Committee that there was a historical character, a man of great height and physique, standing well over 6ft. 3in. in his stockings, who used to dispose of the rebels by putting a rope round their necks and hanging them over his shoulders whereby he acquired the name of the walking gallows. Mr. C. Roche was used as a facile instrument and unscrupulous tool by Colonel Turner; wherever a case was to be disposed of in which it was essential to secure a conviction Mr. C. Roche was sent. Can anything more indecent be imagined than a system like this, where, in case the Local Magistrates can not be relied upon to adjudicate in certain cases, another man is to be imported from a distance, because he is known to be a thorough-going hater of the Nationalist Party. But this system does not end with Mr. C. Roche; unfortunately, it is being pursued throughout the whole of Ireland. I remember that when I was on my trial the Government would not trust the Magistrate of the district, Mr. M'Carthy—he was too honest a man; they, therefore, imported an ironclad Magistrate, who was an Orangeman of the deepest dye, and made him Magistrate for my district simply in order that I might be tried by him. [Cries of 117 "Name."] The name was Harris, and he was a blackguard, and the reason he was placed upon the Bench was that he was as Orange at heart as he could possibly be. I say that such a system is infamous, and can have no possible justification. I will endeavour to point out to the Committee the work which Colonel Turner does. He was the Executive Officer for Clare, Kerry, and Limerick. As Executive Officer he had the means of life of every Magistrate in the district under his control. I know he could not actually dismiss a man, but I know there is not a Magistrate who does not tremble in his shoes before him. Colonel Turner was sent down to a district greatly disturbed on the agrarian question. His sympathies were strongly with the present Government, and, indeed, Colonel Turner's sentiments are of the most convenient character. When Lord Aberdeen was in Dublin Colonel Turner was an enthusiastic Home Ruler. He even declared in the presence of a friend of mine that if he were an Irishman he would have been a Fenian. When the right hon. Gentleman opposite went over to Dublin Colonel Turner became an equally enthusiastic Unionist. That is a very convenient form of conviction for a man to have. When he went down to take charge of this disturbed district, surely common sense and decency would dictate to him an attitude of the strictest impartiality between landlord and tenant. What did he do? He went down into Clare and took up his abode with the chief and most unpopular agent, Mr. Stacpoole, as that gentleman's guest, dining at his table, driving round in his carriage or car, and he had actually the indecency to drive into Ennis upon official business more than once in the private carriage of Mr. Stacpoole, the most unpopular agent in County Clare. For months he resided as a member of the family with Mr. Stacpoole. I have not language strong enough to characterise the conduct of a Government that would tolerate such things. Colonel Turner became the servant, the lackey of Mr. Stacpoole, there was no work too dirty for Colonel Turner to do, until at last the police in Clare acted as the servants of Mr. Stacpoole, and members of the Force were employed to collect the tolls at a fair for Mr. Stacpoole. 118 Magistrates and police became the servants of Mr. Stacpoole, and when a Magistrate was required to do the dirty work of Colonel Turner, and a local man could not be trusted, Mr. Cecil Roche was sent for from Tralee at the cost of additional travelling expenses. In spite of all these things, and this state of administration, these charges, which have been made before and never denied, the Government complain that the people of Clare and Kerry have no respect for the administration of the law. All I can say is that if the people of Clare and Kerry had any respect for the administration of law under such circumstances they would be the most contemptible creatures, and would deserve to be kicked and flogged like slaves. When Thomas Drummond instituted a class of Resident Magistrates, he had in view the protection of the poorer classes against possible tyranny and annoyance of the Local Magistrates of the landlord class; he never dreamed of the use to which they have been put. He forgot that the appearing of Resident Magistrates as protectors of the poor depends on the men who preside in Dublin Castle, and who may make these Magistrates an additional instrument for the oppression of the people. As a further instance of Colonel Turner's abuse of his position, I may mention the part he took towards preventing a settlement of the dispute on the Vandeleur Estate. He wrote a letter to the Times denouncing the landlord for not taking more stringent steps, and for not bringing emergency men down to his estate. In view of these facts it is perfectly outrageous on the part of the Government to endeavour by a shady trick to pass this Vote to pay such men, who are no more nor less than Executive Officers placed over the heads of the Magistrates in Ireland for the purpose of intimidating them into doing the dirty work of the Government. What would English Members say if the Commissioner of Police were to sit upon the Bench one day and command the police the next? That would give a faint idea of what we have to put up with in Ireland, though that is not exactly a parallel case, because there we have officers at the head of the Judicial Bench and of the police in Ireland who are in no way responsible, directly or indirectly, to the people of 119 Ireland, Now I turn to say a word or two upon the County Court Judges of Ireland. I regret to say the people of Ireland have not confidence in these officials.
§ MR. DILLON
Under those circumstances, I will proceed with a few words I have to say upon a case recently tried before a Resident Magistrate, which, in my judgment, illustrates in a forcible and valuable way some of the doctrines as well as the value of the facts of right hon. Gentlemen opposite in regard to boycotting cases. We have heard boycotting described by the right hon. Gentleman in strong language as being accompanied by intimidation and violence. Now I want to draw attention to a case of boycotting recently tried in Tipperary, in which the charge was made against two schoolboys named William Quin and Robert Lewis. The summons set forth the grounds on which the prosecution was instituted, and is a kind of a manifesto on the part of the officials founded on the statements of the right hon. Gentleman opposite—Whereas it is a matter of popular notoriety that a system exists in several parts of Ireland known as boycotting"—so runs this manifesto of Colonel Caddell—"which injuriously interferes with the free exercise of legal rights by Her Majesty's subjects, and that the said system is carried out by certain persons, who, by signs, or otherwise, warn those who wish to exercise their legal rights not to do so,and after other "whereases of great charge," finally, on June 19, these two respectable lads, under 16 years of age, are charged with the commission of that offence, to wit, endeavouring to prevent children from attending school. The evidence given by the police showed that the lads stood outside the school house, and in this case the overt act of intimidation and violence alleged was that one of the lads charged shook a rose at the girl supposed to be intimidated, and prevented her from attending school. Of course, the whole thing is perfectly ludicrous, and I do not wish to discuss it at great length, but I wish to emphasise the fact that in all these prosecutions before Magistrates in Ireland for boycotting there is no established proof of violence or intimidation. We hear of violence and intimidation from the Chief Secretary, 120 but when we come to hard facts before the Magistrates, we hear nothing at all of these accompaniments. The right hon. Gentleman is, of course, quite entitled to denounce boycotting, but he is not entitled to connect boycotting with violence and intimidation when there is no violence and no intimidation. The Irish Government are armed with enormous powers. Why, if there is violence, are not such cases brought before the Magistrates? But, as a matter of fact, there are no cases of violence connected with boycotting. Over and over again we have had it in evidence that the offence of a man charged with boycotting was indicated by his pointing with a crutch he held in his hand at certain animals, or he said some words, or he winked, nodded, or coughed in the sight or hearing of the persons who were about to make purchases. There is no proof, I say, that boycotting is based on intimidation. One word in conclusion, and I do not know whether I shall be strictly in order, but I will only make a brief reference to the question of "shadowing," as exemplified in the case of David Kent. It has transpired in evidence that the constable who shadowed David Kent did prevent the sale of calves and lambs by Kent, by thrusting his head between the owner and possible purchaser, scaring away the latter. Kent, unable to do his business, unable to sell the stock he brought into the fair, turned round, and at a short distance away saw a police officer, who was walking about the fair, and began to follow him. The police officer turned round, and said, "If you continue to follow me I shall have you arrested." Kent continued to follow him, and was arrested. He was brought before a Magistrate, put in gaol for five or six hours, and then bailed out. When brought before the Magistrates for trial he was charged with obstructing the police in the execution of their duty. The Magistrates, I understand, held the charge to be proved, although there is some mistiness about the record of the decision; but Kent was dismissed on condition that he should not follow the policeman any more. Now, Sir, I want to know what is the legal ground of the charge against Kent, and I want also to know what right the Magistrate had to dismiss the man on condition that he 121 would not continue to follow the policeman? If it be maintained that the Magistrate was acting within his legal right in finding this man guilty, and in requiring such an undertaking from him, I want to know how it can be lawful for the police to obstruct a poor man in the discharge of his business? The Government has hitherto given no clear and definite statement of the law on this point in Ireland. We want to know whether, if it be lawful for a policeman to follow a civilian, and to obstruct and annoy him in the discharge of his business, it is also lawful for a civilian to follow a policeman and in the same way annoy him? Under what law may a policeman molest, annoy, irritate, and interfere with the private business of an individual against whom no charge is made, if a civilian is not entitled to do the same thing? We had it the other day from the right hon. Gentleman opposite that the Magistrates in each district are allowed, on their own responsibility, to select the individuals who are to be subjected to this horrible persecution. I say frankly that during the autumn we shall try to put a stop to this system. People who are shadowed will insist upon following the police, and if they are arrested for following the police, I am bound to say, it will come to this in the end, that on a suitable opportunity it will be the duty of one of our men to knock down a "shadow." Although I have over and over again used my influence in Ireland to preserve the police, and to prevent collisions between the police and the people, often under very unpleasant circumstances, I say I think our people are justified, when a favourable opportunity arrises, in trying the law on this matter, if the Attorney General refuses to state it clearly in this House. I think the proper way to try the law is for the man shadowed to take his opportunity when out of sight of the picket to knock down the "shadow," and assert his right not to be dogged, punished, and outraged by policemen when there is really no law to justify it.
§ *(6.26.) MR. H. H. FOWLER (Wolverhampton, E.)
I think this the most important Vote in the whole of the Irish Estimates. We have been discussing for the past fortnight the administrative and the executive policy of the right 122 hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. This Vote deals with the whole question of the administration of justice in Ireland. Of course, we are not going to touch the administration of justice by the Superior Courts. In Ireland, as in England, and I suppose everywhere else, the Courts of First Instance—the Courts of the Local Magistracy—are the Courts with which the people are familiar, and these are the Courts which represent to the people of Ireland that much repeated phrase of "law and order" They represent British justice, and I submit it is the duty of the House of Commons, in voting the money for these Courts, to satisfy itself that they are Courts which adequately administer justice, and which have the confidence of the people of Ireland. I believe someone has said it is necessary in a free country not only that justice should be impartially administered, but that the people should believe it is impartially administered. If that be true I think both sides of the House will admit, even without the confirmatory evidence of the two speeches made to-night, that the people of Ireland do not believe justice is impartially administered to them. I suppose there is hardly a gentleman sitting on the other side of the House who is not in the habit of taking part in the administration of justice in his own locality, and there are many also on this side of the House who administer the law. I am not going to say a word disrespectful to the general ability and legal knowledge of Stipendiary Magistrates in the great towns of England, and especially in the Metropolis, where, I think, they dispense justice in a highly satisfactory manner, but I believe it to be the just boast of Englishmen that justice is fairly and impartially administered by the overwhelming majority of the Justices of the Peace. In London, and wherever you think it necessary to provide paid Magistrates, you take the greatest possible care that they shall be fully qualified to discharge their duties. No one is appointed who has not studied the law and practised the law. It is a rule, almost without an exception, that the men selected as Stipendiary Magistrates are not only possessed of knowledge of affairs, but that they are also possessed of knowledge the law. The same rule prevails in Scotland, and in the colonies, and in India. 123 In India, which, perhaps, some people would say is the parallel of Ireland with regard to our rule, we are a conquering race governing a subject race. I believe, myself, the strongest hold we have on the people of India, the strongest tie which attaches India to British rule—is not our military, or our civil, or our financial administration, but the belief which pervades all classes in India that in the Courts of the Queen they receive, and will continue to receive, fair, equal, and impartial justice. And why is this? How do we provide for the administration of justice in India? We do not make the office of the administration of justice a refuge for the morally and intellectually destitute—we take care to provide suitable men. The examination imposed upon men who go out to India is the most severe competitive examination, and a man who passes it does that which is equal to taking a first-class degree at Oxford. Then we give him a special University training at the public expense for a certain number of years. When we send him to India we take care that he shall have judicial training and every Magistrate is compelled to state in writing, not only the decisions he gives, but the reasons on which these decisions are founded, and they are submitted to a Superior Court for revision, and alteration if need be. I am simply giving these details to the House to show the means we take to secure the just and fair administration of justice in India. Now, what do we do in Ireland? Is there any parallel between the administration of justice in Ireland and its administration in England, or Scotland, or the colonies, or India? I am not going to say a single word reflecting on the personal character of any Resident Magistrate—I am dealing with a system, and I do not hold the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. A. J. Balfour) responsible for that system. He found it when he came into Office, and it is one of the evil results of English rule in Ireland that the system exists. Although the right hon. Gentleman has defended it with unswerving fidelity to the men over whom he has been set, it would be a mistake for us in dealing with it to regard it as an accident of the present Administration. I have in my hand a Return respecting the Resident Magistrates in Ireland. It was moved for by the hon. Member for 124 the Rushcliffe Division of Notts (Mr. J. E. Ellis) last year, and I find from it there were then 75 Magistrates in Ireland, who are receiving the grant provided for by this Vote. I call the attention of the House to the composition of this body. Only 14 of the Resident Magistrates have the slightest ostensible connection with the legal profession. In the 14 I include not only gentlemen who have been barristers-at-law, theoretical or practising, but one gentleman who kept all the terms for the Bar, but "for family reasons was not called." I have also included gentlemen who served in the Army after they had been at the Bar. I do not think it requires much knowledge to know what that means. At all events it is a very fair presumption that men who did that were not much fascinated by or attracted to the legal profession. Well, then, there are 24 ex-officers of the Army, 22 ex-officers of the Constabulary, and 15 gentlemen, who are variously described, some as "Hon. Secretary to the Tipperary Agricultural Society," "In the Revenue, Police and Superintendent Departments," "On the Commission of the Peace for several years," and so on. One gentleman is described as an Army tutor. Now, let me ask the House what these gentlemen have to do. Here we can bring the matter more closely home to the present Administration. It is under the present Chief Secretary's legislation that there has been thrown upon these gentlemen some of the most difficult legal duties which possibly can fall on any Court. You have deprived the people of Ireland of the protection of juries, which is given in other parts of the Kingdom, and you have devolved upon the Resident Magistrates the functions not only of Judges, but of juries. I will quote one sentence from one of the greatest authorities we have on criminal jurisprudence. He says—Perhaps few things are left so doubtful in the Criminal Law as the point at which the combination of several persons in a common object becomes illegal.Well, this delicate and difficult question of Criminal Law has been handed over to these 75 gentlemen, of whom only 14 are in any way competent to decide a legal question. What do these gentlemen cost? I know the Chief Secretary will say, "The House 125 of Commons does not vote enough money for me to get the article which India, and the colonies, and Scotland and England get. "I have heard him say," I cannot with the Vote that you supply provide myself with perfectly competent men. "I am rather doubtful about that. The Vote is 20 Magistrates at £675, 32 at £550, and 20 at £425. In addition, each receives £100 as travelling allowance, and something more than £100 for their personal and travelling expenses. Judging of Irish salaries by English salaries, applying the test that an Irish Judge of the Supreme Court receives about two-thirds of the salary paid to an English Judge. I think if an Irish barrister receives two-thirds of the salary which is paid to an English Stipendiary Magistrate, the proportion is pretty well observed, and tonight we shall vote to the Irish Resident Magistrates considerably higher salaries than two-thirds of what is generally paid in England to Stipendiary Magistrates, excluding the Metropolis. In addition to these salaries a large number of these gentlemen are in receipt of Army pensions. I concede to the Chief Secretary that we ought to provide sufficient money. This House has never been niggardly in Irish administration. These Irish Estimates are monuments of extravagance. The cost of the Government of Ireland is a great deal too large. When the Chief Secretary obtains from this House, practically without discussion and objection, the most liberal allowances for the Constabulary and every branch of his administration, I am sure the House would not grudge him money to enable him to give the people of Ireland proper administration of justice. Whether we are Home Rulers or Unionists we must be agreed upon, this that the people of Ireland are entitled to a competent Judicial Bench, and until the Chief Secretary comes down to the House and asks for a sum which will enable him to appoint competent qualified men, and the House refuses him such a sum, he has no right to shield himself behind the supposed zeal for economy. Now, how do these gentlemen discharge their duties? The Chief Secretary may say they do their work satisfactorily. I have seen, again and again, in speeches of the Chief Secretary, statements that the appeals which have been made from the 126 decisions of the Resident Magistrates are a very fair indication of the admirable manner in which their duty is discharged. We have been told that a very large number of cases have been heard' by Resident Magistrates, and that there have been very few appeals. I have got the Judicial statistics for 1888. In that year there were 1,082 convictions under the Crimes Act. There were 201 appeals. You may say that that is a small proportion, and that there is a primâ facie presumption that the decisions have been satisfactory. But go a little further, and you find that by the astute manner in which the mode of appeal was dealt with 697 cases were not appealable against. The sentences were below the mark carrying the right of appeal. As a matter of fact, there were only 385 cases which could be appealed against, and in 201 of the 385 cases, appeals were made. In 70 cases, or in 33 per cent. of the cases appealed against, the appeals were successful I believe that is quite as high, if not higher, than any similar effort in this country, A few days ago the hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division (Mr. J. E. Ellis) obtained a Return up to the 31st of March, 1890. There have been 769 convictions; 204 could not be appealed against, leaving only 565 that could be appealed against. 233 were appealed against, and in 72 cases the appeals were successful—again 33 per cent. I think that is very fair evidence of the effect of the appeals. Let me bring under the notice of the Committee one or two cases. I am not one of the Members, who have been to Ireland, but the reports I have read in the Times, for example, fully confirm my opinion as to the unsatisfactory nature of the system, and prove the in competency of the men who have been put into these positions. But I also rely for a good deal of my Irish information upon what I think is one of the ablest provincial newspapers, the Manchester Guardian. With the permission of the Committee, I will read a few sentences from the account given by the special correspondent of the Manchestvr Guardian of what he saw in Ireland upon the trial of my hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien). He said—People in England are often puzzled to know why the Irish want Home Rule. The 127 best answer to a man in such perplexity would be to take him to a town where a political trial is proceeding and hid him 'Mark, learn, and inwardly digest.' He would see much to astonish him. Passing by the hotel patronised by the landlord party, he would probably observe a group consisting of the Magistrates who were to try the case, the Magistrates who were to command the police and the troops, several police officers with swords and revolvers, several officers of the Army, the counsel and solicitors for the Crown, and, to protect the whole party, a plain clothes detective. That, at least, is the sight which I saw last night, and it is a sight I have often seen in Ireland.Turning out this morning after 10 o'clock I found great preparations for meeting the enemy—I beg pardon, I mean our Irish fellow-subjects.—The hussars had saddled their horses, made ready their carbines, and were waiting the signal to mount. The men of the Welsh Regiment were seeing to their accoutrements and trying whether the locks of their rifles worked well. Police—some armed with rifles, others with batons—were pouring in from country stations, and those encamped in the town were preparing their weapons. In all 110 police, 34 hussars, and 50 infantry soldiers were present to make it quite certain that respect for the law is completely restored in Ireland.The correspondent then gave some details of the trial, and proceeded—The Magistrates who were to try a Member of Parliament on a highly complicated charge which would test the acumen of the most learned and skilful judge were Mr. Irwin, a promoted officer of the police, and Colonel Caddell, an ex-soldier. By no possibility could either of these gentlemen have had any legal training worth speaking of, and if an intricate question of law were to arise they were bound to go slap-dash at their conclusion. Now it turned out that the question they had to try was in a singular degree one which the most cultivated lawyer would have faced with hesitation. The charge in the summons was that Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Gilhooly had entered into a criminal conspiracy to induce certain persons not to fulfil their legal obligations. Amplified by Mr. Ryan, Q.C, the prosecuting counsel, the formal charge meant this—that Mr. O'Brien and Mr. Gilhooly had delivered speeches at Clonakilty, the object of which was to put pressure on Mr. Smith-Barry to desist from his Ponsonby estate operations by inducing his tenants to withhold their rents.The hon. Member has already alluded to the evidence given in the case, and certainly there was perjury on the part of the police officer, who pretended to have taken shorthand notes. Writing later, the correspondent said—A wretched and miserable farce is just over. I suppose that no man with the slightest legal training—I will go further, and say no man with common sense—could have sat in Court this day and have come away without being convinced that wherever the interests of the land- 128 lords are concerned impartial justice cannot he expected from Irish Resident Magistrates.I have given the Committee some details of the case in order to show how justice is administered in the eyes of an independent observer. I desire now to refer to the attitude of the Irish Magistracy towards Members of Parliament. The Chief Secretary says that if Members of Parliament break the law they should be prosecuted the same as other people, and there I agree with him. But the point in which I differ from him is that Members of Parliament should not be punished because they are Members of Parliament, and that is the crux of the Irish situation. I put it to Gentlemen opposite who have judicial instincts whether after the strong, powerful, and excited speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) to-night, in which speech he mentioned by name certain of the Resident Magistrates of Ireland, it would be decent in case of any alleged infraction of the law by him—I will not put it stronger—that he should be tried by the men he has denounced to night? Is it human to expect justice under such circumstances? Would it be considered fair to the hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson), for instance, that he should be tried for anything he may have said or done, by a Court composed of Gentlemen below the Opposition Gangway? The Irish Resident Magistrates assume that they are part of the great army in the controversy which is now going on, that they are fighting under a distinguished and able general, and that their policy and aim is not the administration of justice, but the winning of a political victory against their political opponents. Let us take the case of the prosecution of the Rev. Mr. Crawley, a Roman Catholic curate, on the charge of having intimidated a Protestant rector. I think a little common sense would suggest to any impartial spectator that where a Catholic clergyman is accused of intimidating a Protestant clergyman, or where a Protestant clergyman is charged with intimidating a Catholic clergyman, or any other clergyman, a good deal of caution should be exercised in dealing with the case, a case which evidently, in the first instance, is not entirely disconnected with sectarian rivalry. But I am not 129 going into the case. I understand it was a case of strong language; and, as a friend said to me the other day, any English Magistrate would have dismissed it. Captain Welsh and Mr. Cecil Roche were the two Judges in the case. Captain Welsh said the defendant was represented as being in a position to sway the people of the district. As the language he addressed to the people carried great weight the Magistrates had no difficulty in arriving at the conclusion that the Rev. Mr. Hopley and Sergeant Burke were intimidated, and they sentenced the defendant to a month's imprisonment in each of the cases. Would any English Magistrate have sentenced the defendant to a month's imprisonment? Captain Walsh added that, to prevent the recurrence of the use of such language in the future, they would bind the defendant over in one surety of £40, and two of £20 each, to be of good behaviour, after the expiration of his sentence, for 12 months. In default of finding those sureties he was to go to gaol for six months. I call that a travesty—a prostitution of justice. But that evidently did not come up to the requirements of Mr. Cecil Roche, who said—The defendant was a very remarkable man. Of considerable power of mind, of splendid physique, he had acted kindly towards his parishioners, who were an ignorant, wild set of people, half mountaineers, half seafaring men. Rightly and properly, he had great influence over them. The part Father Crawley had taken between landlord and tenant was praiseworthy and creditable, but his intense egotism had led him astray.Fancy Members of Parliament being convicted for intense egotism! Mr. Cecil Roche evidently regards himself as dictator. Such words would never be used in English or Scotch Courts. If any Magistrate acted like Mr. Cecil Roche, the Lord Chancellor would immediately have him removed. The Resident Magistrates have no knowledge of law, and do not appreciate the elementary principles of justice. They are in the thick of a great political fight, and are conscientiously convinced that the policy of the right hon. Gentleman opposite is the best policy for Ireland, and that advocated on these Benches the worst; but they are not qualified men to steer an even keel in a country where agrarian disputes are the main 130 source of all criminal trouble. These Magistrates connected with, inflnenced by, belonging to, one class, are not competent to deal out even-handed justice, and the result of their action proves it. What you have said à priori would happen, has happened, in almost every case brought before us. The other night the Chief Secretary made a startling admission. I admire him for having the courage of his convictions. He never shrinks from a paradox, however it may turn against him, or stays to fence with qualifications of the case he makes in his defence.It may, he said, be the result of three centuries of mis-government. I form no opinion on that, but the condition of Ireland is such that practically three-fourths of the people cannot he trusted to keep their oaths as jurymen on a trial, and, therefore, a system of procedure unknown in this country had been pursued by successive Governments in Ireland.Is he going to say the same thing to-night; is he going to say it is impossible to trust the people of Ireland, and hence it is necessary to adopt the system of administration of justice? Is it a necessity in Ireland that we should autocratically and despotically administer justice, shutting the people out from their share in the administration, relying on administration by Magistrates alone? Then I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to have competent Magistrates, men like those whom we send to India and to the colonies, and those whom we have in England and in Scotland, men apart from all political prejudice, so that they will show to the people of Ireland that, no matter whether they have Home Rule or rule at Westminster, wherever the Queen's power extends justice will be fairly and impartially administered. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary has said that he is striving for principles which lie at the root of civilisation. There is a greater principle than he contends for which lies at the root of all civilisation and society, and that is the pure and impartial administration of justice. In that consists the condemnation of the present system, which we so much deplore, and are trying to put an end to. Whether we succeed or fail—I do not wish to mix this question up with Party politics—I make one more appeal to him, not to defend the present system, but to 131 ask the House of Commons to help him to remedy what is a national danger and a national disgrace.
§ (7.5.) THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR,) Manchester, E.
Every one who has heard the speech just delivered by the right hon. Gentleman will agree that it is not an unwelcome interruption to the ordinary course of invective in this Debate against Her Majesty's Government. The right hon. Gentleman has tried, and successfully tried, to keep the question of politics out of sight, and has asked me to do the same. The right hon. Gentleman has made no personal attack on the Government, who can defend themselves, or upon individual Magistrates, who cannot defend themselves, and, for my own part, I will endeavour in the observations I have to make to follow the example which the right hon. Gentleman has set. The right hon. Gentleman began by saying that politics ought not to be allowed to enter into any question connected with the administration of the law in Ireland. In one sense of that recommendation every human being who heard, and every human being who may read those words will, I am sure, cordially agree. That the course of justice should be diverted, if only by a hair's breadth, to serve the interests of any political Party, would be a horrible and disgraceful thing; but if the right hon. Gentleman means, by what he has said, that the administration of the Criminal Law in Ireland, in the state of opinion of the Irish people as they were now led in certain parts of Ireland, is to be kept wholly independent of political objects which the commission of crime is intended to attain, that, I think, is not at present possible. The right hon. Gentleman has argued throughout upon the hypothesis that the political objects of a great Party in Ireland are wholly independent of the Criminal Law and its administration. He has argued as if it had never occurred to anybody in Ireland to commit a breach of the Common Law or the Statute Law, in order to gain a political object. I do not wish to introduce more controversial subjects than I am obliged; but the right hon. Gentleman knows that, whether rightly or wrongly, the Government do not follow that opinion, but are forced to the melancholy conclusion that political 132 objects in Ireland for the last 10 years have been aimed at by criminal methods. As long as that unhappy state of things continues, so long as political objects are arrived at by criminal methods, so long will trials which ought to be purely criminal trials, and abstracted entirely on the part of the audience as well as the Judge from all political considerations, be attended with those unfortunate symptoms which the right hon. Gentleman has described, of an excited mob and disgraceful scenes in the streets, which have, unfortunately, so often accompanied the administration of justice in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman asks me how it is possible and legitimate to try, for example, the hon. Member for East Mayo before one of the Magistrates he has so cruelly aspersed in his speech. I admit that the fact that the administration of Criminal Law is—through no fault of ours—mixed up with politics, is a great misfortune and a difficulty. But because the hon. Member for East Mayo chooses to make this sort of attack on the Magistrates, is he to be allowed to break the law in Ireland with impunity? I take a purely hypothetical case never likely to occur. I trust the hon. Member will never come into collision with the administration of the Criminal Law; but supposing that the hon. Member, in carrying out his political object, does resort to methods regarded as criminal by the law of the country, is he not to be tried because he has thought fit, in the exercise of his duty, to make a violent and, I am bound to add, a discreditable attack upon certain Magistrates?
§ MR. H. H. FOWLER
I did not say that he was not to be tried, but that he should be tried by an impartial tribunal.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
That is to say, it only rests with the hon. Member to attack every tribunal—and to do him justice, I think he has attacked every tribunal in turn. Attempts were made in these Debates yesterday to attack the High Court, and this evening to attack the County Court Judges, attacks which were only prevented by the ruling of the Chairman, and, therefore, the right hon. Gentleman will see that if his principle is to be carried out, an hon. Member will only have to add to a breach of the law a violent attack in this House on the tribunal which would 133 have to adjudicate, and he will secure immunity for himself. I have only taken the case of the hon. Member for East Mayo, because it has been cited by the right hon. Gentleman. I do not assume that the hon. Member contemplates any breach of the Criminal Law. The right hon. Gentleman asks us to apply to this system in Ireland the test of experience. I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that that is the proper test to apply. If experience shows that the present system in Ireland works tolerably well, I presume that the case will fail that we ought, by spending a great deal more money, to get a class of men who will not serve at the present salaries. In order to see whether, in a normal condition of society, the existing system of Magistrates works well, we have only to look at that part of Ireland which is in a normal state, and I maintain that in Ulster, or, at all events, in those parts of Ulster which are not disturbed (I am aware that there is a certain amount of disturbance in Donegal), the system works admirably. It is only when, in the exercise of their duty, through no fault of their own, politics are connected with these breaches of the Criminal Law, that it is alleged that the Magistrates fail. The right hon. Gentleman says that they have to deal with a very difficult law, and that they have no legal training. For my own part, I am not prepared to admit that in England experience shows that men of the same class as the Resident Magistrates, military men and others, are incapable of dealing with such matters. How many Chairmen of Quarter Sessions are old officers? The right hon. Gentleman assumes that experience in the Army for a good many years renders a man incapable of performing such duties. For my own part, I maintain that some of the best Chairmen of Quarter Sessions have had precisely the same kind of legal training as these Resident Magistrates. The right hon. Gentleman says the law which these Resident Magistrates have to administer is very difficult, especially the law of conspiracy, but Chairmen of Quarter Sessions have also to administer the law of conspiracy. ["No, no!"] Of that I do not speak with confidence, but I refer to the argument of the right hon. Gentleman that the 134 administration is difficult. We have heard a great deal of the right of appeal, and the right hon. Gentleman has reminded the Committee that there is no right of appeal from a conviction where the sentence is below a month. But on a point of law, whatever the sentence may be, there is an appeal to a Court which the right hon. Gentleman will admit is competent—namely, the Court of Exchequer or the Queen's Bench—by case stated. I have no doubt that appeals on points of law have been taken exactly in those cases where, in the opinion of the defendants' counsel, the Resident Magistrates had shown themselves weakest in law. Since the passing of the Crimes Act to July 1, 1890, there have been 25 appeals to the Court of Exchequer or the Queen's Bench by cases stated. Of these 25 cases, obviously those in which the Resident Magistrates were considered weakest, only three were reversed, and the remaining 22 were affirmed. Therefore, I say that, looking to past experience of the law administered by these gentlemen, it is not at all so weak as the right hon. Gentleman would lead the Committee to believe. The right hon. Gentleman has examined the cases in which there have been appeals on the facts, but I was not quite able to follow the right hon. Gentleman's figures. According to a Return furnished I find that from November, 1888, to June, 1890, 1,393 cases were tried. The number of appeals lodged in that period was 256, and of these only 18 were reversed on appeal. That is a proof that, on the facts, as well as on the law, experience demonstrates that these tribunals are competent, fair, and honest tribunals.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
There were, no doubt, some 60 cases in which there were reductions of sentence. But with respect to those it must be remembered that two Courts of co-ordinate jurisdiction often pass different sentences on cases apparently similar. But such differences of opinion by no means demonstrate that the Court of first instance did not do its duty. As my right hon. and learned Friend (the Attorney General for Ireland) reminds me, on appeal the cases were re-heard, and therefore evidence not 135 before the Court below might be, and probably was in most instances, called in the Court above, and, further, that in several cases the sentences have been increased for the very purpose of giving a right of appeal. Therefore the mere fact that a sentence was reduced on appeal by no means demonstrates that the Court of first instance did not do its duty. I pass from that general criticism on Courts of first instance in Ireland to certain specific allegations made by the hon. Members for East Mayo and North-East Cork. The hon. Member for East Mayo accuses the Government of having broken their pledges in not having regularised the position of the Divisional Commissioners by Act of Parliament. Is there any human being who, in the present state of public business, would do anything by Act of Parliament which could be done in any other way? Would it be common sense to come for an Act when we found that it was unnecessary for us to do so? The hon. Gentleman said such a Bill would have been met with the same kind of resistance as the Bill for the appointment of an Assistant Under Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant was met with. If that is so, the Government were justified in taking the obviously rational course of avoiding the difficulty by not coming to Parliament at all. The hon. Gentleman then proceeded to make a most violent attack, and exhausted even his budget of invective upon Colonel Turner. But when it all comes to be analysed it amounts to this. Colonel Turner lived with Mr. Stacpoole, who was a landlord in Clare. On account of that unforgiveable offence he has been described as a man who acted as Mr. Stacpoole's lackey, who is unworthy of the confidence of the Government, who ought to be dismissed on the earliest possible occasion, and who is a proper target for the ordinary arrows of Nationalist invective. Why should not Colonel Turner stay in Mr. Stacpoole's house? Is every man who stays in a country house the lackey of his host? Is every man who stays in a country house incapable of doing justice? Is it an iniquity to use the carriage of your host to go to a neighbouring town? Incredible as it may seem to hon. Members who were not in the House when the hon. Member made his speech, that is one of the chief counts in the 136 indictment against Colonel Turner He drove from Mr. Stacpoole's residence into Ennis in Mr. Stacpoole's carriage! Monstrous enormity! Horrible iniquity! Ireland indeed requires Home Rule when such things as these are done in that unhappy country.
§ MR. DILLON
Do we understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that he approves of the action of Colonel Turner in becoming an inmate of the house of a land agent in County Clare, in the then condition of the county?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Colonel Turner has never asked me whether I approved or not, and I think it would be grossly impertinent if I interfered in such a matter by expressing any opinion at all. The hon. Gentleman appeared to be driven to rely on his attack on the Irish Magistracy, on some old and some very hypothetical incidents. He gave a long account of what happened seven or eight years ago in County Mayo in connection with a Resident Magistrate, since dead. That might have been a good thing to bring up on the Estimates seven or eight years ago, but it is not a good thing to bring before the Committee now, because it can afford them no guide as to the course they ought to pursue with regard to the present Estimates. The hon. Gentleman then related what occurred to him at Tipperary. He said-he was talking to some friends when Colonel Caddell ordered the police to draw their batons and charge. The hon. Gentleman said the police did not obey their orders, and so nothing happened. But supposing, the hon. Gentleman said, something had happened, then Colonel Caddell would have had to try the case of an injury inflicted in obedience to his own orders. I think the hon. Gentleman in stating this hypothetical case has fallen into several serious errors. Colonel Caddell did not order a charge; the police did not disobey his orders, and if batons were not drawn on that occasion it was because the police followed strictly the orders given by Colonel Caddell.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I believe I have stated the facts as I have been told them by Colonel Caddell; but, at any rate, Colonel Caddell gave no direction which would have justified the police in 137 batoning the hon. Gentleman or his friends. Then the hon. Member said, supposing he had been brought before Colonel Caddell as the result of what might have happened? The hon. Gentleman and his friends have said over and over again that the utmost care ought to be taken not to mix up executive and judicial functions. With that I agree, and every effort is made by the Irish Government not to allow the man who has executive functions to perform to adjudicate on the cases arising out of that executive action. It is in order to pursue that rule that it is necessary to make Resident Magistrates leave one district and go into another.
§ MR. W. O'BRIEN
How does the right hon. Gentleman explain the case of Nunan and Hogan, in which Colonel Caddell combined the two functions?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The two women referred to by the hon. Member were bound over by Colonel Caddell to keep the peace on a day subsequent to the disorder in which they were concerned. Colonel Caddell could have performed that operation on the spot. He preferred to do it next day, and he did it next day. The facts of that case, therefore, do not bear out the contention of the hon. Member. No Resident Magistrate has ever ordered a baton charge and then directed a prosecution of those charged.
§ MR. E. HARRINGTON
No, I am not mistaken. It occurred in my own constituency. I know Mr. Roche quite as well as you.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The other chief ease brought against Colonel Caddell was in connection with the funeral of a man named O'Dwyer. The hon. Member accused the police of violating the graveside, of desecrating the feelings of the relatives of the dead, and of behaving in a way in which no one in a civilised country ought to behave. I will remind the Committee of the facts connected with that funeral. If it had been an ordinary funeral, merely an occasion on which the relatives committed to the earth the body of one who had been dearly connected with them, and chose that occasion for the display of natural emotion, interference by the police would 138 have been monstrous. But was this so? Does the hon. Member claim immunity for a funeral when it is made the occasion of a political demonstration? I think that the hon. Member will feel it to be absurd to put forward any such claim. It had been published abroad that the hon. Member himself was going to the funeral, and that other political friends would be present. There were 12 policemen told off to protect the reporter on that occasion. There were nine reporters not connected with the police present. On this sacred and solemn occasion, therefore, there were nine reporters, I presume, of the Nationalist Press who had come to the grave not to make public the family grief, but in order to take down the speech which the hon. Member might deliver and publish his words all over Ireland with a political object. I am far from saying that the action of the police on that occasion was necessary, but to describe it as a desecration of the grave is surely absurd. There was no attempt to interfere with anyone present.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The police were there because they believed, on good evidence, that this was a political demonstration, and whether they were right or wrong, whether they were necessary or unnecessary, I maintain that the attacks which have been made are utterly outrageous and beyond the merits of the case. There have been cases in which graves have been desecrated and funeral processions interfered with. The other day when a policeman was burying his child in Tipperary the unfortunate mother and father, standing by the grave-side, were assaulted by stones.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
As they were standing by the grave they were assaulted with stones thrown by the roughs of Tipperary. I call such conduct as that interfering with the last rites of the dead, and in a manner which is disgraceful and discreditable. Some moderation, however, might be shown by hon. Gentlemen in the language which they use. The hon. Member for East Mayo not only denounced in the most violent language the character of the Magistrates 139 with whom he has been brought into conflict, but he announced his intention of raking up details of their private life, and of dragging out anything which he thought could be twisted into an accusation against them. I have never listened with greater pain to any speech delivered than to this one. I think it most discreditable to the hon. Member who made it. As for Colonel Caddell, who has been made the object of a vituperative attack by the hon. Member for East Mayo and the hon. Member for the Rushcliffe Division, who has used language which he would never dare to use outside the House, this Magistrate has nothing to fear from attacks of that kind. If the hon. Member wishes to rake up details about Colonel Caddell's private life I will give the hon. Member some assistance in the task he is undertaking. Colonel Caddell was 23½ years in the Royal Irish Fusiliers; he was an instructor of musketry for three and a half years, an Adjutant in Louth, Deputy Assistant Adjutant General in Belfast during the critical time of the riots; he served in the Soudan campaign of 1884, for which he received a medal and the Khedivial decoration. Colonel Caddell has served and is serving his country, and such attacks as have been made upon him this evening will do nothing to sully the reputation of a man like him. I do not ask hon. Members to moderate the attacks which they make on the Government or the officials in Ireland. Let them make what attacks they please, but surely the private life of those individuals might be sacred. Surely those who from the vantage ground of this House may say anything they please without being called to account for it, might feel that that privilege carries with it some duties; and it is discreditable not only to themselves, but to the cause they desire to serve, that they should seek to use the language of private calumny and private slander.
§ MR. DILLON
As a matter of personal explanation, I should like to say that nothing was further from my mind than that I should employ the vantage ground of this House to make an attack upon any one and which I should be afraid to repeat outside. When I attacked Captain Segrave I did so outside this House, and I shall do the same in the ease of Colonel Caddell.
§ *(7.40.) MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
The speech just delivered by the Chief Secretary of Ireland renders it very difficult for me to make the speech which I had intended to make on this occasion. I am bound to say that with a long experience in England I cannot conceive the possibility of police acting at funerals in the way which has been described to-night by the Chief Secretary himself without causing much exasperation and irritation by their presence, and I would suggest that it would be better far that one or two rash speeches should escape notice rather than that the people assembling to pay the last farewell to the remains of their friends should be insulted by the presence of the uniformed' officers of the Crown. It was not, however, for that that I rose, but to deal with a case which was discussed two days ago, and which has not yet received any notice at the hands of the Chief Secretary or of the law officers of the Crown. It is the case of Mr. John Kelly, who was charged with conspiracy, and sent to gaol by Mr. Meldon and Colonel Waring for four months with hard labour. The speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton dealt with the difficulty of the law of conspiracy in a way which saves me the necessity of delivering some remarks I had intended to make. Lord Justice Jervis, one of the most eminent lawyers who ever sat in the Court of Common Pleas in this country, once said that the charge of conspiracy was one of the easiest to make and one of the most difficult to prove. If he had had the experience which we have had of the procedure before these Resident Magistrates, I think he would have come to the conclusion that it is quite as easy to prove as it is to make, especially if he had had any knowledge of the case which I am now discussing. There was not, so far as I am able to learn, a shadow of evidence upon which any reasonable jury would have convicted this gentleman of the charge of conspiracy. A charge of intimidation was preferred against him, but on that he was acquitted by the Resident Magistrates themselves. The general charge of conspiracy was proved by two speeches, one of which was made by Mr. O'Dwyer, who was in Mr. Kelly's company on the occasion of the proceedings which immediately led 141 to his arrest. The speech itself was, however, made in Mr. Kelly's absence, and it was not suggested that Mr. Kelly could possibly have known anything about it until long after it was delivered. The second speech was one delivered by the hon. Member for North-East Cork, and Mr. Kelly certainly could not have known anything of that, because he was in gaol at the time of its delivery. Now, these were the only two speeches on which this charge of conspiracy was founded. It is, I think, necessary that a tribunal which deals with charges of conspiracy should be, from a commonsense point of view, a jury of twelve impartial men, and, from a legal point of view, a high judicial functionary beyond suspicion in dealing with such a case. But what have we here in this case? I say, without fear of contradiction, there was no attempt on the part of the Chief Secretary, who was present during part of the Debate the other night, or on the part of the Attorney General for Ireland, who was in the House the whole time, to answer the case made out by the hon. Member for one of the divisions of Dublin against Mr. Kelly's conviction. The case against Mr. Kelly did not involve one single overt act except those I am just about to put to the Committee. All that was shown against him was that, in company with Mr. O'Dwyer, he had gone on to the estate of the hon. Member for South Hunts, and that he had driven on an outside car to the houses of different tenants. There was not a particle of evidence of anything that happened at any one of those places. Of course, if you intend to assume that a man is guilty, and if you intend to convict him, I can quite understand that you may manufacture out of several harmless acts some conclusion in support of a conviction. But there was not a particle of evidence against Mr. Kelly. He went, no doubt, into several of the tenants' houses. It was not alleged that any language was used by him in any of the cases save one. In that one case he appears to have talked with the wife of one of the tenants just outside the house, and the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, who has carried espionage in Ireland to an extent utterly unknown in the history of that unfortunate country, was served to this extent by a constable who was hiding 142 behind a hedge, and who stated he heard the woman say: "This is the real campaign ground about here;" that Mr. Michael O'Dwyer, who was in company with Mr. Kelly said, "Yes, that is the woman to fight;" while Mr. Kelly re joined, "I find that women are a great deal more determined for us than are the men." Now, the only possible portion of the phrase on which there could be a shadow of defence for saying that any sane man could come to the conclusion that a conspiracy existed was contained in the words "for us." What did "for us" mean? What ought it to have meant? What ought the Magistrates to have imported into the meaning? What would a jury have imported into it? Would they have imported the language of the hon. Member for North-East Cork delivered at a time when Mr. Kelly was in gaol? Would they have imported into it the speech of Mr. O'Dwyer delivered some time previously, also in Mr. Kelly's absence? I say it would have been impossible to get an English jury or an English Magistrate to convict under circumstances of that kind. But the Resident Magistrates, having found a general conspiracy in the speech of the hon. Member for North-East Cork, which, I believe is the very speech to which he drew attention in the earlier part of this evening, and having found also a conspiracy in the speech of Mr. O'Dwyer, they import Mr. Kelly into that conspiracy, because he happens to have used the words "for us" in a careless way to a woman who was using language quite natural on the part of a woman in that position. Rightly or wrongly, no doubt there is a conflict in that district between landlord and tenant, and it is a conflict of a most bitter kind. It is not a conflict brought about by the hon. Member for North-East Cork, or by any other hon. Member. It is a conflict which began unfortunately before they were born, and it arose out of a bad state of things which has long prevailed in Ireland. I mentioned on one occasion on which I addressed this House how much I had been struck by some articles in Blackwood for 1844, 1845, and 1846, dealing with the state of things between landlord and tenant in Ireland at that time. You might reprint those articles as descriptive of what is happening in that country to-day. The only difference 143 is that now you have less crime, fewer murders, less moonlighting and outrage, and that is due to the hope put into the minds of the tenantry by the hon. Members for East Mayo and North-East Cork and their colleagues—a hope which induces them to act within the law, because they believe that sooner or later some kind of justice will be achieved for them. Mr. Kelly was found guilty of conspiracy by two Resident Magistrates. In England, over and over again, Judges, when trying cases of conspiracy in which questions of politics might be imported, have warned juries to use the utmost care in weighing the evidence submitted to them. I understand the right hon. Gentleman to urge that he has a right, in cases in which criminal acts are committed for political objects, to resort to special methods for the purpose of dealing with them. I cannot help thinking that he has done much to lower the view which English people will take of Irish justice. I feel sure that the course which is being pursued, and which was pursued in the case of the hon. Member for East Mayo himself when he was brought within the grasp of the Resident Magistrates by the direct act of the Chief Secretary in proclaiming a district so as to bring it within the operation of the Crimes Act, is a course which in England induces English voters—and I believe will still more do so at future elections—to give a rough rule-of-thumb verdict of justice. It will induce them to say that as your Resident Magistrates treat men whom you describe as criminals, as political foes, they are straining the law in sending them to gaol, and as a consequence the English people will, by their verdict, take the political power which you misuse out of your hands.
§ (7.52.) MR. E. HARRINGTON
Before the Chief Secretary leaves his place, I beg to give a most emphatic denial to his statement that Magistrates do not act judicially and executively at the same time. Unless the Chief Secretary has a shorter memory than we give him credit for, it must have been within his knowledge that cases have been brought to his notice in this House. Does the right hon. Gentleman forget the Vandeleur evictions? Did not Roche at these evictions take part in a baton charge, actually using a stick himself, 144 and did he not afterwards sit on the fence and have the very persons he had batoned brought before him and sentenced to imprisonment? If there is any shame in the world the Chief Secretary, addressing the House amid grave and awful accompaniments, might have paused before he delivered himself of these sentiments. I will give my own case, which was brought to the notice of the Chief Secretary, not only by myself, but by my hon. Friend while I was in prison. Roche, who presided in the case, went out to the steps of the Courthouse of Tralee and ordered a baton charge on the people who had ventured to cheer for me when I came out under arrest. Roche led the charge himself with a stick in his hand, and he never allowed me to go out of his sight until he had lodged me in gaol. The right hon. Gentleman will probably say that that is the reverse of the process that has already been referred to—that the Magistrate sat on the Bench first, and lugged his prisoner to gaol afterwards, but I have also brought to the Chief Secretary's notice the case in Dingle of the unfortunate man Ferriter, who was put in gaol time after time for the crime, as it was then, of selling copies of United Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman has said there has been no change in his policy—that there has been no change in the administration of the Crimes Act. Why, then, is Ferriter not in gaol to-day? He is still selling United Ireland. This man was brought before Mr. Roche and sentenced, and here also that Magistrate made a baton charge on the crowd, heading the police himself. Several men were arrested, and these men Roche at once proceeded to try. They were committed to prison, and Roche accompanied them and the man he originally tried, to Tralee, a distance of 34 miles. Can the right hon. Gentleman deny this fact? The right hon. Gentleman said I was mistaken. I was not. There are things which have caused our blood to boil and our flesh to creep. I, myself, have seen Resident Magistrates ruthlessly and mercilessly leading these baton charges, and afterwards sitting in judgment on the cases of the very men they had attacked time after time. Instances of this kind have come before me, and I can, if the Chief Secretary challenges 145 the fact, identify these cases by the dates and the particular sentences inflicted. It is a hard thing for an Irishman to trust himself to speak on these subjects. Our feeling is not so much one of hatred as it is of extreme loathing and contempt, and it is very hard for us, knowing how the Government are championed by the political supporters who sit behind the Front Bench, to keep our temper when these statements are made. I tell the right hon. Gentleman, born as I was among the Irish people, that I know them to have a strong sense of propriety in these matters, and that nothing more easily arouses their indignation than when they see those who have to administer the law, and are supposed to administer it equally, making common cause with those who side against them. The Irish people would spurn us if we showed the same partiality as the right hon. Gentleman wants the Resident Magistrates to show, and we claim that these men who are drawn from the off-shoots of landlordism, should at least preserve the appearance of decency in the exercise of their functions.
§ *(8.15.) MR. BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)
I am almost ashamed to mention the trivial matters which I am about to bring before the Committee after listening to the expressions of honest indignation which have fallen from the hon. Gentleman who has just addressed the House. I can myself bear testimony to what the hon. Gentleman has said with regard to the partiality displayed by the Irish Magistrates, and I will give an instance. In April last I was on the Ponsonby Estate, during the evictions managed by Colonel Turner. I saw on a police car the agent for the Property Defence Association, and I am sorry the hon. Member for South Hunts is not in his place, as I should like him to hear what I have to say. It struck me with shame that the representative of one of the parties to the dispute on the estate should be honoured and protected by the authorities in that way; and I protested against it to Colonel Turner, saying it was a scandal that that person should be allowed so to use the public property. I am glad to say that Colonel Turner had sufficient sense of right to prevent a repetition of this display on the following day, and I 146 am also glad to tell the Committee, because I sympathise with the people, that not a man was to be found in the Youghal district who would drive that individual. I remember on that occasion seeing the leader of the tenants rudely thrust back when he wished to enter premises from which a family was being evicted. It was his duty to take the number of the family so as to arrange for the accommodation they might require in order to protect them from the weather. He was, however, thrust back by the police, and that, too, from a place where he had a legal right to be. A lady who was with us, and whose warmhearted services to the people are deserving of all praise—Mrs. Byles, of Bradford—protested against the treatment of that young man. What happened? The Police Inspector, Inspector Hill, whose name is now familiar to us, declared that that person ought not to be permitted to enter the premises because he had been in prison. An appeal was made to Colonel Turner, and he replied that if the English ladies and gentlemen wished it the man should be admitted. Well, Sir, as an Englishman, I am ashamed to be represented in Ireland by men who can behave in that fashion. I know, from my experience in this House, that it is a waste of time for an English Member, not to speak of Irish Members, to complain of the conduct of the Irish Magistrates. No heed whatever is paid to us when we declare that the Irish Magistrates have broken the law. We are either not listened to or we are listened to with indifference when we complain of the brutality of these men. To my mind, it is a pity and a shame that English gentlemen should stoop so low as to make it appear, either by their speeches or their silence, that they believe their Colleagues in this House are capable of bearing false witness.
§ (8.7.) MR. J. O'CONNOR
If I were a friend of the Chief Secretary, I should have compassion on him, because he is called upon to defend the actions and whitewash the blackened characters of his subordinates in Ireland. I should feel sorry that his great abilities were called in play to defend and whitewash a man like Colonel Caddell, whose conduct towards 147 a lady, under most disgraceful circumstances, must be characterised as that of a blackguard. A man who, when remonstrated with by a reverend clergyman in the streets of Tipperary, had no other answer to give to that educated gentleman than to stick his tongue out and make use of insulting language. I say that the action of the Chief Secretary, in whitewashing that blackguard, places him in a position for which his friends ought to feel the greatest compassion. In his defence of Colonel Caddell, he deemed it his duty to make a charge against the people of Tipperary, that they committed an assault upon the police on the occasion of a funeral of a child. I could not hesitate on the spur of the moment in crying out that that was false, and I now say that the statement was one of those official falsehoods which we are accustomed to listen to in this House. When I was last in Tipperary, not long ago, I made it my business to inquire into this matter, and, after continued investigation, I could find no man in Tipperary who ever heard a word about this assault on the police. I went to the spot where the assault was said to have taken place, and none of the neighbours knew or could tell me anything about it. I asked Father Humphreys to investigate the matter, and he willingly undertook the work, and I will now read to the Committee a letter which he wrote to me after he had made that investigation. He says:—My dear Mr. O'Connor, since telegraphing to you, I have heard of what happened at the burial of Constable Corcolan's child. No one but the police attended the funeral. When they were passing through the street, some little children of eight or nine years old cried out after them 'Balfour, Balfour' and whistled 'Harvey Duff.' This was the mob who stoned the constables whilst burying a child. The very small children here have a habit of crying out 'Balfour' when they see a body of police passing through the town. I saw a child five years old doing this on a day of eviction. If there was a mob throwing stones, how was it that no one was summoned?This, Sir, is a pertinent question. The police were present in sufficient force at the funeral of the child; doubtless there were policemen at every corner in Tipperary. Yet no one was arrested. Not a single charge was made against anyone, and no complaint was made 148 until we heard a statement in this House in reply to a put up question on the part of the hon. Member for Tyrone. I deny that this shameful charge has any foundation in fact, or that any justification can be found for making it, and I demand an investigation into all the circumstances connected with it. If that investigation should take place I venture to assert that the people of Tipperary will come out of it with much greater credit than the officials of the right hon. Gentleman. The right hon. Gentleman has defended Colonel Caddell, and told us that he does not unite in himself the administrative and executive functions. Let me draw the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the sad and distressful case of the poor boy Heffernan, who was shot down in the streets of Tipperary by policemen who were under the command and direction of Colonel Caddell. In the course of the investigation which took place into that affair, it was proved that the police were not compelled to act as they did, and that an order had been issued that the greatest humanity, combined with prudence, should be exercised before any attempt was made to fire on the people, and that they should not fire until every other means of preserving their lives had been exhausted. It was proved in the case of the boy Hunt. A verdict of wilful murder was given against Carter. Informations were applied for, and Colonel Caddell, who commanded the police when this boy was killed, was one of the Magistrates who sat upon the Bench, and refused to grant informations against people who had been declared guilty of wilful murder by the Coroner's Jury. Why should the Irish people respect law and order when they find it ruthlessly set aside by the tools of the Government, and when they see the verdict of one of the oldest Courts known to the Constitution ignored? Allusion has been made to the invasion of the sacred rite of burial, in the case of O'Dwyer. It was carried out by Colonel Caddell, and it was a most disgraceful proceeding. My hon. Friend the Member for North-East Cork had intended to make a speech, and I ask the right hon. Gentleman, is his Government so bad, is the conduct of the Resident Magistrates so atrocious, is the 149 course of the Executive so ruthless, that the criticisms of my hon. Friend could not be permitted? I come to another statement made by the right hon. Gentleman. He defended Colonel Turner from the charge brought against him by the Member for East Mayo, of having stayed at the house of Mr. Stacpoole, a local landlord. No matter how the Chief Secretary may exhaust his powers of rhetoric in defending Colonel Turner, we still hold that it is a disgraceful thing for a man in his position to have stayed with a local landlord. Why did the Land Commissioners give orders to the Sub-Commissioners never to accept the hospitality of anybody connected with the land of Ireland? Because they knew that to do so would be to forfeit the confidence of the Irish people. Is it not the fact that in England Inspectors of Private Lunatic Asylums do not accept the hospitality of those whose institutions they inspect? The Factory Inspectors in England, too, do not accept the hospitality of anyone who is connected with a factory. But in the case of Magistrates in Ireland, they can accept the hospitality of those in whose interests the law is administered in Ireland. This Colonel Turner, fresh from the table, with his legs just drawn from under the mahogany of his friend, Mr. Stacpoole, ordered his soldiers to advance upon the people, and I counted 80 men with bleeding heads after the fray. Yet the right hon. Gentleman expects the Irish people to respect law and order, as administered by these people, who accept the hospitality of landlords and agents. The manner in which the law is administered is illustrated by the remark of Colonel Carew, who said, "I do not care what the law is, but I do care about the instructions from Dublin Castle." Cheering for Mr. Gladstone is a crime to be punished, or calling a donkey by the name of Mr. Balfour, or winking at pigs at the fair, is a heinous offence. Indeed, the Magistrates have tortured the law so as to punish those whom they are obliged to declare innocent, Now, Sir; on the 2nd of July, last year, my hon. friend the Member for Mid Cork visited the town of Tipperary, and he was met by a number of people, whe cheered him. The Police Magistrates considered that a 150 very grave offence, and accordingly some 15 or 16 of these men, young fellows, were brought before the Magistrates. They were solemnly charged, and the case was investigated. The Magistrates retired to consult, and when they returned, one of the young men was dismissed, but with regard to the other 14 or 15, Mr. Meldon said they must stop such disorderly proceedings as cheering for the hon. Member for Mid Cork, and he ordered the defendants to find bail to be of good behaviour for 12 months, or go to gaol for two months. The defendants at once refused to give bail, and said they were ready to go to gaol. That is what I call a straining of the law by the Magistrates. I remember, Sir, reading of the crowd in Liverpool, on the occasion of a great trial, in which a woman was charged with poisoning her husband, expressing by groans its disapproval of the jury who found her guilty. People were so indignant at the verdict that they groaned at the jury and they groaned at the Judge; but there was no baton charge of the police, there were no arrests, no fines, and no imprisonment and why? What was the difference between the two cases? The only difference was this, that the people who cheered for Mrs. Maybrick in Liverpool were Englishmen, and the men who cheered for Dr. Tanner in Ireland were Irishmen. The law was broken, if broken at all, as much in the one case as in the other. I have another case to refer to. There is in Tipperary a man of great influence and great respectability although sometimes the Chief Secretary, as is his wont, tries to throw aspersions on his character. I allude to Mr. John Cullinane, who I might say is my premier constituent. His great offence in the eyes of the Magistrates is that he has great influence with the people. He has often been accused before the Magistrates, but the Magistrates have been obliged to admit that he used his best efforts to keep the peace, and to prevent riots taking place. Recently Mr. Cullinane was brought before Removables Irwin and Caddell, and charged with having taken part in an unlawful assembly. The unlawful assembly consisted in a procession of carts passing through the streets of Tipperary. These carts had been engaged throughout the 151 day in removing earth from one place to another, in order to level the ground for the building of houses for the evicted tenants of Tipperary. The neighbours of these people of Tipperary had engaged in what they believed to be a charitable work. They were formed into a procession by Mr. Cullinane, who believed that would be the best and more orderly manner in which they could get out of the town, as it would prevent delay, it would prevent stopping at public houses, and it would ensure that no opportunity would be given to the police to baton the people. Well, he marched them through the town, and was charged in consequence with an unlawful assembly. The case was solemnly tried by Mr. Irwin and Colonel Caddell. Well, Colonel Caddell, the hero of the Chief Secretary, the warrior with medals and honors, who insults evicted tenants when they are helpless females, who sticks out his tongue at an educated and respected rev. gentleman who addresses a civil question to him—even he could not find that Mr. Cullinane was guilty of unlawful assembly. He said it was for them to consider whether such circumstances existed as put people of firm minds in dread and terror. They did not feel that they would be justified in coming to such a conclusion, and therefore they dismissed the charge of unlawful assembly. But on the evidence before them it appeared that this gathering was "immensely excessive." In other words, Mr. Cullinane was guilty in the eyes of the Magistrates of an excess of legality, because they declared that the assembly was lawful. He was thereupon ordered to find bail, himself in £100 and two sureties in £50 each, to be of good behaviour for 12 months, or in default to be imprisoned for six weeks. Of course, Mr. Cullinane, as an honourable man, would not admit he had been guilty of any offence. If he had given bail for his good behaviour it would have been an admission that he was of bad behaviour, and he therefore elected to go to gaol for six weeks. Thus the Magistrates used the Act of Edward III., not for the purpose of punishing those who are guilty of crime, but in order to put out of the way the enemies of landlordism as it at present exists, and the friends of the people whose only 152 offence is that they are the political opponents of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. I shall allude to only one other phase of this question. The Magistrates in Ireland have incited the police to the commission of violent acts, at the time young Heffernan lost his life there was also another man named O'Donovan who was shot down by the police. In reference to this case Mr. Cecil Roche said—I quite agree with the sentence of the Court, and I wish to say that in any other country in the civilised world had these men attacked the administrators of the law in the way they have, their lives might have been taken, and they (the police) would have been justified by the Government in taking their lives.Now, Sir, that language was used by a man in a judicial capacity, and was addressed to a Force which is in a most excited state, and to men who, when they have deadly weapons in their hands are allowed to take drink to an extraordinary degree. In the trial alluded to by Mr. Cecil Roche, on that occasion, it was proved that the man who fired the shot was such a bad character in the eyes of the police that he was several times fined, according to his admission, for want of discipline and for drunkenness. This, taken in connection with language used in another case, is very significant. Mr. Bolton, Crown Prosecutor, said, in open Court, that he was sorry to hear it stated that the police had no right to defend themselves unless the Riot Act had been read three times. He declared that a more absurd statement had never been made and that whether or not the Riot Act was read, and even without command from their officers, the police were entitled to defend themselves with their weapons if attacked by civilians. Now, what I want to point out is, that these two speeches, when taken together, show design on the part of those administering the law in Ireland to incite the police to the commission of murder. After such language as that any constable may say, "I may shoot, maim, kill, bludgeon as much as I like; I have only to say my life is in danger, and whatever I do I shall be defended by Mr. Bolton, the Crown Prosecutor, and shall be 153 acquitted by Mr. Roche, the Resident Magistrate." At the time he made the speech to which I have referred, Mr. Roche said that stones were "deadly weapons," hence we have it that if a small boy—an irresponsible child—hurls a stone at the police in Ireland, it may be taken as an excuse for turning round on a peaceful meeting of citizens in Tipperary, Kerry, or Cork, and firing volley after volley into them. I say that such language as that, coming from such men in authority, and used in the presence of men who are already in a state of excitement, is nothing more nor less than an incitement to murder. We are often told by the Chief Secretary and the Attorney General for Ireland, who sometimes acts as his lieutenant, that we have the law open to us in Ireland. I imagine these poor people going before Colonel Caddell or Mr. Cecil Roche—the latter holding his drum-dead court-martial. After an eviction this Mr. Cecil Roche sits on a stone at the road-side, and, after his baton charges, having arrested people, tries them, and gives them six months' imprisonment. Imagine going before this gentleman and expecting to get justice. The Chief Secretary is fond of saying that the ordinary protection of the law is open to the poor people of Ireland. One man in Cashel, a discharged soldier, not long ago took the Chief Secretary at his word, having been seriously assaulted by a constable. It seems that some children were parading the streets, jeering at the police, and singing songs. The only people in the street besides the children were four men standing at a corner, one of whom was the discharged soldier. This man was assaulted by a policeman in a most wanton manner, and, relying on the word of the Chief Secretary, he brought an action against the constable for breaking a blackthorn stick across his head. It was proved that the assault had been committed, and one of the Inspectors was asked—Did the men at the corner do anything?The answer was—No, but I considered if they were allowed to remain they might do something.The Magistrate heard the case, but the oath of the discharged soldier, who is yet liable to be called upon to shed his 154 blood for his country, for he is in the Reserves, went for nothing, and that of the Inspector, who said that the four men, if they had been allowed to remain on the corner of the street, might have done something, was believed. The Magistrates, to whom we are asked to appeal for justice, dismissed the case against the police. Now, Sir, this case, which could be multiplied a hundreds fold, if it stood alone, would be enough to justify us in taking up the position that the Irish people cannot expect justice in Courts presided over by Resident Magistrates, for the reason that those Magistrates are all on one side in Ireland, that side being the landlords and land agents. That is the side of the Government, who are the friends of the landlords, and the people feel it is no use to expect justice from these Magistrates whose salaries we vote tonight.
(9.22.) MR. O'KEEFFE (Limerick City)
The hon. Member who last resumed his seat gave several instances of police misrule in Ireland. Every single county and city in Ireland is prolific in such instances, and were every Irish Member here to bring forward the cases that have come under his own immediate-notice, I think this House would have to sit until the end of the year. The hoc Member referred to the friendly relations which exist between the landlords and Resident Magistrates in Ireland, and referred to the visit of a Resident Magistrate to a Tipperary landlord. Such a system as he described is, to my mind, fatal to respect for the law. As a practising Solicitor, I have seen letters from County Court Judges, declining on very high grounds to receive any entertainment from private landlords or noblemen in the districts over which they are the presiding Judges. I was particularly struck with the assertion of the Chief Secretary, that the law as regards intimidation and boycotting is the same in Ireland as in England. The right hon. Gentleman referred triumphantly to a case which was tried in Liverpool, and said the defendants in that case received a term of imprisonment for having taken part in boycotting practices. But the right hon. Gentleman was most careful 155 to conceal the fact that, assuming the law in its outline to be the same in its administration and detail, there is an essential difference. The defendants in the Liverpool case were tried before a Judge and Jury, but all cases of intimidation and boycotting in Ireland have been tried before irresponsible Magistrates, specially appointed by the right hon. Gentleman. Take the case of Mr. John McHenry of the Limerick Leader. That gentleman was tried for having published an article in his newspaper relating to the intimidation of a certain member in the locality. He was brought before two Removable Magistrates, and received the inhuman sentence of nine months' imprisonment. There upon the Crown prosecutor, Mr. Murphy, whispered to the Magistrates, who thereupon added hard labour to the sentence. That fact can be proved by the evidence of hundreds of persons who were in Court, and it exclusively proves that the Magistrates only sit on the bench to do the behests of the right hon. Gentleman. Several references have been made to the action of the police towards public men in Ireland. About two weeks ago it was my duty to -attend a meeting in the mountains. There were four or five Resident Magistrates at the meeting—Mr. Shannon amongst the number—and immediately I stepped off the car I was shadowed. Two policemen stayed by me, and a Sub-Inspector of Police, who represented the new-fangled department of the right hon. Gentleman, the Intelligence Department, followed me several hundred yards distant. We are justified in holding up this conduct of which we complain to public reprobation, and if we had the least chance of carrying our protest to that extent, we should be justified in refusing the salaries of those who use their position to insult the Irish people and their Representatives. The Vote will certainly not be carried with our approval. The Chief Secretary does not apply himself to any source of popular information to guide him in his administration. I do not refer to those matters in which he is in antagonism with Irish bodies; I refer to Grand Juries. He has stated he has no power over Grand Juries, but when we find that a gentleman holding the important office of High Sheriff was dismissed—
§ MR. O'KEEFE
I pass from the allusion I was about to make. All I wish to convey is that the Chief Secretary has not used those avenues of information from popular bodies in Ireland which would lead to successful administration in Ireland. I will give an instance from an experience some two years ago in the city of Limerick, which, I think, has never been referred to in this House. A public meeting announced to be held was proclaimed by the Government the day before the meeting was appointed to be held, and there was the usual paraphernalia of Resident Magistrates, police and soldiers, all the pomp and circumstance of war, to prevent the legal exercise of their rights by the people. That evening a riot took place in the city. I will not enter into details, but it was shown in evidence before the Judge of Assize on a case arising out of claim for damages, that the riot and the damage originated with the action of the police themselves. But what I want in mentioning the circumstance is to give proof in support of my assertion that if the Executive would seek the advice of popular Representatives, they would not fall into the blunders they commit. The Resident Magistrates who on this occasion were the supreme destiny, who had the lives of the people in their hands for 24 hours, when they saw the state of turmoil and riot they had caused by their action, went quietly to the Mayor's office—to the man whose existence they had ignored on the previous day, and said—We know your influence, and if you will take over the peace of the city, we will all go away, and there shall be no more police seen in the streets.They had come to appreciate the gigantic blunder they had made by insulting the people, and these doughty champions of law and order came cringing to the Mayor to induce him to take over the task of keeping the peace which they could not accomplish. I am glad to say the Mayor did as he was asked, the Police Force vanished, and there was no further disturbance. With regard to the particular 157 matter which has been brought before the Committee the character of the Resident Magistrates, I can only say that I have never, in my magisterial experience, and I have had sometimes to associate with these gentlemen, observed any qualities that should invite the confidence of the Irish people. I never heard from them the expression of any lucid idea in law or fact. I remember once having to sit in judgment on a Resident Magistrate.
MR. MAC NEILL (Donegal, S.)
Did you give him six months?
No, I did not. He was guilty of a culpable breach of law. Some flag was hanging out in the street; it waved between him and his allegiance to the right hon. Gentleman, and for the removal he was summoned for trespass. We were merciful to Resident Magistrates, and the Court fined him 5s., with the alternative of 14 days' imprisonment. Now, it is asserted that it is impossible for an Irish Magistrate to state a case for a Superior Court, but I know that I gave 15 reasons for the conviction, in each of which I was upheld by the Queen's Bench, although, on a technical ground, it was found the case did not come under the section of the Act. Whether you take the high policy of the Chief Secretary or the details of his administration, his Coercion Act, after four years' experience, is a miserable failure. Has it in any case shaken the allegiance of an adherent to the National cause; has it made one convert? Quite the contrary: its effect has been to intensify the eternal hostility of the Irish people to the system of the Chief Secretary. With all the force of our people's opinion behind us we shall contest that policy. We know that no matter what changes may be effected in Parties here, we know that our words and our actions are justified in the minds of the Irish people, and we know that when we go back to our constituents, any man among us who wishes to return here will not appeal to his constituents in vain. I think the Irish people appreciate the good services rendered by Irish Members who attend these discussions on the Estimates. By this means we show the failures of the right hon. 158 Gentleman's administration. The whole policy of the Chief Secretary has been an entire failure, and the Irish people will hail with delight the moment when the political extinction of the right hon. Gentleman and his Party is announced. On that day the black flag will be hoisted half-mast high over every gaol in Ireland.
(9.40.) MR. MAC NEILL
The Chief Secretary is always interesting when he assumes the high moral tone, and he has discharged all the vials of his wrath upon my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo. In his strictures upon Resident Magistrates my hon. Friend was undoubtedly severe, but the great point of his severity was that every word he said was demonstrably true. If my hon. Friend has erred in his estimate of the characters of these Magistrates he has erred in good company. Archbishop Whateley, who had 30 years' experience of Ireland, said that the time of the Lord Lieutenant was occupied chiefly in trying to get the posts of Resident Magistrates for ruined gamblers or cashiered officers, and Lord Rosse, a Tory of the Tories, used language not a whit less strong than has been used to-night with reference to these Resident Magistrates, stating, for example, that the appointments were infamously jobbed, that no character seemed to be thought necessary for the post, and that half of those appointed had been habitual drunkards. My hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo made a brief allusion to some letters from applicants for appointments, which passed into our hands, and specimens of these were read to the House by an hon. Colleague in 1887. I lately was reading some of these, and they are worth reading. [An hon. MEMBER: And the dates.]—Dates! O'Neill Segrave was appointed in 1888, and that after being dismissed, branded as a swindler by the Cape Government. This is the first letter from a well-known Gentleman, the late Knight of Kerry, to Lord Carlisle, then Lord Lieutenant—My Dear Lord,—The kindness which your Excellency has shown me since I have had the honour of being known to you encourages me to apply to you on a subject deeply interesting to me, although I fear it will need all your 159 kindness to excuse the presumption of the application. My brother (Stephen Fitzgerald) having but a small provision, my father applied to Lord Clarendon, when Lord Lieutenant, for a situation for him, and received an encouraging reply, with a conditional promise; but nothing having resulted therefrom, he continued to lead an idle life at home, and fell into habits injurious to himself and distressing to his family, who could not but lament to see considerable talents, united with an excellent natural disposition, completely going to waste. He has latterly, I rejoice to say, been leading a different life, and recently formed an attachment for a most interesting young Scotch lady, one, who especially in point of deep religious feeling, is all that could be wished for, and their union, so very desirable, is only delayed in re erence to his financial position. Under these circumstances, I venture to ask your Excellency's kind aid in procuring a situation for him. That of Stipendary Magistrate is one for which I think he would be extremely well qualified, as he has regularly and very efficiently discharged his duties as a J.P. in this parish and in the neighbouring district; but if that post be unattainable, some one of less value would be just now very acceptable. I really dislike more than I can well say thus troubling your Excellency in such a personal matter, but I feel at least that you will make great excuse for my so doing in a case where more than the temporal interests of an only brother are involved.
§ I have the honour to be, my dear Lord,
§ Your Excellency's very obedient and obliged Servant,
§ P. FITZGERALD.
§ (Knight of Kerry)."
MR. MAC NEILL
About a quarter of a century ago. But my contention is that instead of growing better these appointment have been growing worse. These appointments are not like good wine; they have not improved with age. And now let me give another specimen.
The letters may have been amusing when first read, but to read them now offends against the rule against tedious repetition. Moreover, they are not relevant to the Vote.
MR. MAC NEILL
My only object is to prove my contention that bad as they were in those times they are worse now. I was about to read a letter from Lord Monck on behalf of his brother-in-law who desires an appointment, whose qualifications seem to have been that he was an ex captain in the 17th Lancers, not on good terms with his 160 father, with nine children, and in embarrassed circumstances. I will not read the letter from Lord Monck, having in view your ruling, but I may refer to the appointment of Colonel Forbes, who is still, I believe, a Resident Magistrate. Here is the letter in which this gentleman is introduced:—
§ "62, Great King Street, Edinburgh,
§ January, 23rd, 1890.
§ My Dear Sir,—May I venture to introduce to you my cousin, Major Forbes, late of the Third Light Dragoons, a very distinguished officer at Sobraon? His military testimonials will speak for themselves. He is a candidate for one of two Stipendiary Magistracies in Ireland, where his brother, Colonel Forbes, has recently purchased property in County Galway. Their father commanded the 56th. Foot. They are all Roman Catholics, but mostly gentlemanly and popular men. Major Forbes has been resident at Edinburgh.
§ Yours faithfully,
§ J. J. HODSON, D.D.,
§ Merton College, Oxon."
§ Well, the application was successful. Colonel Forbes was the Resident Magistrate at Kildare, and at the Kildare Quarter Sessions, in April last, he was the defendant in three suits for goods supplied to his wife. His defence was that he was not liable because he had made a separate allowance for his wife, but it was stated in evidence that his wife had not received any allowance for three and a half years, and decree was given in each ease against him. Surely that is not the sort of gentleman who ought to be a Judge of the political conduct of Irish Members. At the risk of tedious repetition, for I know it has been very often mentioned, I would recall the Committee to a statement made on the 17th May, 1887, by the Chief Secretary. In that statement the right hon. Gentleman expressly declared that an appeal should be given in every case from Resident Magistrates' decisions under the Coercion Act. But now he has withdrawn from that, and his Magistrates give short sentences to prevent appeals. Thus we have Mr. Redmond, the editor of a Wexford paper, sentenced to two weeks' imprisonment, and he asked to have the sentence increased to give right of appeal. That entreaty was refused. Who were the persons who inflicted the 161 sentences on these gentlemen? One was Mr. Considine, a gentleman of whose legal knowledge the Lord Lieutenant is satisfied, although he has never been called to the Bar. His coadjutor was a promoted policeman. It has been repeatedly urged that these Magistrates, these 14 lawyers, who are nothing but the sweepings of the library of the Four Courts, are selected because they will administer the law as between man and man. But the law which they do administer is one which cannot be tried by ordinary Magistrates at all. It can only be tried in this country in the Superior Courts before a Judge and Jury. It cannot be tried in a Court of Petty Sessions, and this duty in Ireland is reserved exclusively for Resident Magistrates. It is said that the same law prevails in Ireland as in England. Why, as I have already stated, in England tradesmen and operatives, according to declaration of the Home Secretary, are especially protected under the Workmen's Liability Act, whereas the Irish peasants are treated under laws entirely different from those affecting people of the same class and social condition in England. During the last 15 months there has been a development in the proceedings of the Resident Magistrates. I mean in connection with the novel provision of giving bail. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Stockton, when the matter was first brought forward, said that in all his experience he had never known of a case in which a man had been called upon to give bail for good behaviour when no crime had been committed. But what is the course in Ireland? The first person who was brought under the operation of this provision was the hon. Member for Mid Cork, who was taken before a brace of Removables, of whom one was Mr. O'Neill Segrave. These Magistrates stated that he was not guilty of the charge originally prefered against him, but they then produced a long document, on the strength of which they sent him to prison in default of giving bail for his good behaviour. Surely that is another instance of the inequality of English and Irish law. I have the authority of the Court for Crown Cases Reserved in England for saying that no person can be held over to he of good behaviour for 162 committing no offence. A case recently occurred in England in which a man named Miles was tried for assault. The Magistrate did not inflict any punishment upon him, but held him over to be of good behaviour. Subsequently fresh evidence was forthcoming, which showed the assault to be of a very aggravated nature, and he was then put upon his trial for the aggravated assault. But the plea was put forward that he had already been convicted of the assault, and punished by being called upon to give bail for his good behaviour, and the Superior Court held that the call made upon him to give bail amounted to punishment for the offence, and that, consequently, he could not be tried a second time for that assault. Yet in Ireland, without any offence being proved against any accused person, the Resident Magistrates are held to have the power to hold him over to bail for good behaviour. The hon. Gentleman the Member for South Belfast was once called upon to give bail. He declined to do so, saying that if he did he would admit his moral culpability, and he preferred to go to prison rather than place himself under a moral stigma. I say the administration of the law in this respect is most shameful. Some man becomes an object of suspicion and even hatred to the Government. Proceedings are promptly instituted against him under this Coercion Act. It happens in all probability that the charge against him is not provable, and the Magistrates who are dependants of the Chief Secretary inflict upon him the arbitrary and cruel punishment of sending him to gaol in default of giving bail—bail which no hon. Member would ever dream of giving. Lord Spencer has been referred to, and, in a speech which he delivered on the 17th December last, he said that the Resident Magistrates, dependants of the Crown, are absorbing the legitimate jurisdiction of the Petty Sessions. He added that in his time Resident Magistrates were only employed in exceptional cases, but now they are employed in Petty Sessional Courts, and they oust the jurisdiction of the country gentlemen who are on the Commission of the Peace. A most remarkable instance of this has occurred in Tipperary. A Coroner's Jury found a verdict of wilful murder against two 163 policemen in connection with the death of a boy named Heffernan. The two accused persons were taken to the Petty Sessions, but the Bench was packed with two Removable Magistrates—Mr. Meldon and Colonel Caddell—who refused to send the men for trial. Again, we have heard Resident Magistrates say that they represent the Crown. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary has repudiated that assertion. He stated that Colonel Carew had never made any such statement. I am surprised that a man of the Chief Secretary's ability should so absolutely assert a negation—
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I stated that Colonel Carew never said that the Crown had given him directions in regard to judicial decisions.
MR. MAC NEILL
That is a beautiful dialectical curiosity. Now we will come to the real facts. This case occurred on the 7th September, 1887, and I think the Report which I hold in my hand will fully prove my contention that these Magistrates combined executive and judicial duties. Some men were brought before Colonel Carew (sitting not as a member of a Coercion Court, but as a member of a Court of Petty Sessions) for assault. What occurred? Colonel Carew said—I have received orders from Dublin Castle that these men shall he tried before the Coercion Court, and I now order them to be taken back to Kilmainham Gaol.The solicitor who defended said—I should like to have this thing done formally. I understand that the prisoners have been served with a summons since they came here to-day. If the Crown desire a remand they must make application in the usual way.Colonel Carew (to the Clerk): Make out the warrants for the prisoners.The Solicitor to the defendants: The case must be first called on. Then you must hear what the Crown have to say, and I may have something to say on behalf of my clients. I wish to know does the Crown withdraw the charge?Colonel Carew: I represent the Crown here, and I have instructions that these men shall be tried under the Coercion Act.The Solicitor for the defendants: Pardon me, you no more represent the Crown than I do. Your business is to hold the scales of justice evenly.Colonel Carew: I am a Resident Magistrate here and as such represent the Crown. The prisoners will be tried under the Crime Act.I think, Mr. Courtney, that the right 164 hon. Gentleman owes me an apology for denying that a Resident Magistrate has ever stated that he represents the Crown. Now, I propose to proceed to another case, and that is the action of the Chief Secretary in moving these Resident Magistrates about the country, like pawns upon a chessboard. One Magistrate, a respectable gentleman in the County of Cork, was dismissed by the Lord Chancellor from the Commission of the Peace, simply because he went a short distance outside his district in order to adjudicate upon a case in which a charge was brought against a policeman. But what does the right hon. Gentleman do? We find that he sends his Resident Magistrates all over the country. And why does he send them? Because the Government find they are handy tools for the purpose. The right hon. Gentleman said that Mr. Cecil Roche had got promotion because he richly deserved it. But he deserves it simply because he always does the right hon. Gentleman's behests. Mr. Cecil Roche got promotion also because twice when he was on the Bench he incited policemen to the commission of crime. He incited them to the commission of acts which might have resulted in murder. Of course, in the eyes of hon. Members opposite murder is not so serious a crime as boycotting. A policeman if he fires a revolver in the air is guity of a dereliction of duty, for has not the right hon. Gentleman said that it should be the object of a policeman to "fire to kill?" I want to know if Colonel Caddell is an independent Magistrate what right the Chief Secretary has to closet him. These Magistrates are all said not to be dependent upon the Chief Secretary, but we continually see announcements, or rather we did see them until I drew attention to the fact in the papers, to the effect that Resident Magistrate So-and-so "having been in attendance on the Chief Secretary in Dublin has returned to his duties." Surely that is not a proof of the independence of Magistrates in connection with the Divisional Magistrates. In conclusion, I should like to point out that Colonel Turner has not been so wise as Captain Plunkett was, and he has openly endeavoured, in connection with the Vandeleur Estate, 165 instead of promoting peace and order, to do the very reverse. I will only add that the more we disclose these facts to the people of England, the more we show how the whole machinery of justice in Ireland is used for political purposes, the surer will be our victory at the next General Election.
§ (10.25) COLONEL SAUNDERSON
I should have left the House to judge of the accusations which have been made, and the defence of the Chief Secretary, had it not been for the fact that hon. Members opposite will persist in saying that they speak in the name of the Irish people. I do not deny that they speak in the name of some of the Irish people, but I absolutely deny that they speak in the name of all the Irish people, and I, therefore, ask the permission of the House to intrude for a moment or two in a Debate which concerns the maintenance in Ireland of law and order. There is one advantage that the Government, whether Tory or Liberal, is sure to possess, and that advantage is that they know that a certain portion of every Session, when the Irish Estimates are under consideration, will be devoted to attacking the Government and the Irish Executive. The present Debate has pursued the usual course. A mild attack was made upon the Vote of the Lord Lieutenant, and it was proposed, I think, to deprive him of the advantage of a Chaplain and a Secretary. Avery powerful attack was made upon the Vote for the Chief Secretary for Ireland. That Debate is in the memory of the House, and it appears to me that instead of the attack being made upon the executive policy of the right hon. Gentleman and the Government, hon. Gentlemen opposite complained principally of his manners in the House of Commons. The hon. Member for North-East Cork pointed out that the Chief Secretary, under the thrashing he had experienced, had improved. The hon. Member for East Mayo, who followed in the Debate, said the Chief Secretary was far from improving. After all the efforts of hon. Gentlemen opposite to improve my right hon. Friend he has not attained that high level of Parliament decorum which is prevalent below the Gangway. Then the police were 166 attacked. There is a sort of familiar likeness in all these Debates—a certain number of cases were brought forward, but I think the weakness of the attack must have been palpable to the House and to the country. Now I come to the last act of the tragedy, or rather comedy. With regard to the speech we have just heard I will say nothing. When I called out "date," it was not done to annoy or interrupt the hon. Member for South Donegal, but to bring out the fact which I want the House to appreciate, that the letter was written 42 years ago, and was written under a Liberal Administration. The hon. Member for East Mayo made a violent attack on the Police Magistrates, and referred to the case of Mr. Hamilton, who, he said, was an Orangeman. I challenged that statement, and the hon. Member then said that if Mr. Hamilton was not an Orangeman he had an Orangeman's heart.
§ DR. TANNER
I rise to order. The hon. Member has challenged a statement that Mr. Hamilton was not an Orangeman.
It is not a point of order. The hon. Member must be ignorant of the elementary rules of order.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
I believe there is one thing in common between Mr. Hamilton and the Orangemen—they are both on the side of law and order in Ireland. The hon. Member for East Mayo then pursued a different and, I believe, an entirely new line of attack in this House. He attacked Colonel Caddell, and said he believed that he could prove that Colonel Caddell's character was as disgraceful as that of Captain Segrave. Colonel Caddell is not here to defend himself, and I look upon such an attack, founded upon merely an assumption of knowledge, as one of a most cowardly description. No hon. Member of this House has ever before attacked the character of another, 167 whether that person is in or out of this House, on the mere assumption that he believed he could prove in the future that the character of the person attacked was as bad as that of some other person indicated, and I think the hon. Member for East Mayo will yet feel ashamed that he has made the statement. It is a statement he dare not make outside, where there would be another method of dealing with it. But under the privilege of Parliament he fires this barbed arrow at a man unable to defend himself. The hon. Member then went on to attack the Executive, and I agree with him when he says that Government could not be carried on in Ireland without unpleasant expedients. That is so, because the Executive has to deal with the criminal expedients of the Nationalists. Shadowing is an unpleasant expedient, but the persons shadowed have to be looked after. It is unpleasant for the Magistrates to interfere with the right of public meeting, but when meetings are held with the object of intimidating the people the duty becomes necessary. The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton also has found fault with the Irish Executive on the ground that they have not the confidence of the Irish people, by whom I suppose the right hon. Gentleman means that portion of the people who are represented by hon. Members opposite below the Gangway. That may be true, but what conceivable Executive or Magistracy or police would secure the sympathy and support of those hon. Members? It would be as hopeless and foolish a task to seek to satisfy them in those respects as it would be to try to create Magistrates and to enlist police that would satisfy the aspirations of the criminal population in London. The issue between the hon. Members opposite and the Unionist Government is as to what is crime, and on this point agreement can scarcely be expected between them. The right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, however, went on to say that he did not impugn the action of the Resident Magistrates on personal grounds, but because they were not lawyers and had not received legal training. The Irish Magistrates have dual functions to perform—executive and judicial—and the executive function, when they find the people hounded on to 168 lawlessness by certain persons, among whom are Members of this House, requires something more than a legal training to discharge efficiently, and I know of no persons better qualified for such a duty than men who have occupied distinguished positions in the Army. The main result of the Debates on the Irish Estimates must be to convince the majority of the House and the country that the Executive in Ireland are attacked simply because they have sought to maintain in Ireland the laws that Parliament has passed. It is also apparent, from the line that has been adopted by the leaders of the Party opposite, that this attack is on no particular Government; it applies to all Governments, of whatever Party, who dare to maintain the law in Ireland, and the attack made on this Unionist Government sinks into insignificance when compared with the violent and unscrupulous attacks that have been made on previous Governments. Therefore, the Chief Secretary may feel very well satisfied with the result of the Debates, for they have faded away into matters of very little importance. So persuaded are they of the great popularity and triumphant success of my right hon. Friend, that for the first time, for I do not know how many years they have allowed the Chief Secretary's Vote to pass without a Division. There is at the present moment one feature which differentiates these Debates from those which have preceded them. In former times, I am not going into ancient history, for I only speak of four and a-half years ago—an attack on the Irish Executive and the Stipendiary Magistrates was always—
I am afraid the hon. and gallant Gentleman is going into matter which is not relevant to this Vote.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
I think, Sir, if you will allow me to follow the matter up, I can show that the line I am taking is absolutely relevant We have had an attack made on the Stipendiary Magistrates in Ireland, and I want to point out the circumstances which differentiate this attack from former attacks on that body. Formerly these attacks came alone from hon. Members below the Gangway, whereas now, they 169 are joined in by those who at one time were responsible for this Vote. The hon. Member for East Mayo has attacked Colonel Turner on the ground that he has changed his opinions, and that he has a convenient conscience; that whereas, in former days he was a Home Ruler, he is now a Unionist. I wonder what most of the right hon. Gentlemen sitting on the Front Opposition Bench thought of that attack on Colonel Turner's position. Sir, I have no doubt what the final verdict of the country will be when the country appreciates the facts. [An hon. MEMBER: "Barrow."] An hon. Member cries "Barrow," but I think it will not be denied that the Barrow Election did not turn on the Irish Estimates. The Barrow Election turned on the attempt which was made to float the foundering ship of Home Rule on the advancing tide of teetotalism. When these attacks on the Irish Magistrates which are now made are read, I think it will be found that the verdict of the country will be that the Irish Executive, which is specially represented in this House by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary, has brought about in Ireland at the present moment a condition of peace and prosperity that has been unknown in that country for many years.
§ (10.46.) MR. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
We have heard the speech just delivered by the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Saunderson) a good many times. He tells us that we are the party of disorder, and that the Orangemen of Ireland are the party of law and order. This comes well from the champion of the party which has threatened to kick the Queen's Crown into the Boyne. The hon. and gallant Gentleman went to Belfast at the General Election, and did not remain there very long. He tried to champion the candidature of Colonel Somerset Thaxwell, and was hunted out of Belfast. He has compared the population of Ireland with the criminal population of London; but among the Irish people is the constituency which he himself represents, and that also which returned my hon. Friend the Member for South Armagh (Mr. Blane) without contest at the last two elections. But Armagh is not the only part of Ireland containing this criminal population; more than half of Ulster must be included. The Counties of 170 Donegal, part of Derry, part of Tyrone, Cavan, and Monaghan, are all embraced in his sweeping and, as I venture to term it, disgraceful declaration. When we attack the Orangemen of Ulster we do not impute to them criminal instincts from their birth; and I think the time has come when even the hon. and gallant Gentleman's own Party ought to repudiate the attacks he makes upon his own country upon every occasion when he speaks in this House. The hon. Member has referred to the date of a letter, which has been quoted, and stated that it was written 42 years ago; but if more recent letters could be got at, I think it would be found that they would be very much of the same character. We are unable to produce the documents we should like to have. We cannot produce the letters which led to the appointment of C. Roche, Mr. Segrave, and Major Waring; but if we could get them I think it would be found they were very much like the letter read by the Member for South Donegal. We have to-night been treated by the hon. and gallant Gentleman to a washed-out edition of the speech he did not deliver on the 12th of July. I hope he will repeat that speech as often as possible, especially at the bye-elections, because if he does our victories will be more numerous than ever. He has pleaded for the colonels who sit on the Magisterial Bench, and argued that men who had served in the Army were those best fitted to administer justice in Ireland. To my mind the sooner all these Magistrates are colonels the better, because in that case the sooner will the present system be terminated. At present you mix up a few lawyers and non-military men with the great military geniuses who figure on most of the Magisterial Benches, and the result is that you do not get at the truth as you would do if all the Magistrates were colonels, because then the system would be shown to be so ridiculous that the British people would at once get rid of it. I might, however, suggest that considering the position the hon. and gallant Gentleman has himself held in the Army he might have left his eulogium of the colonels to other hon. Members. He has referred to the American phrase that the people were "agin the Government." I do not think we could produce any phrase more strongly condemnatory 171 of the Irish Government than that. That phrase, which is historic, involves an emphatic commentary on the disgraceful system pursued in Ireland for the last 300 years. Ever since the dawn of civilisation in Ireland, as testified by Sir John Davis in the reign of Charles I., the people have been claiming equal justice. Why do they not get it? It is because you have made the Government of "law and order" a byword. You have so governed the Irish people that to expect them to obey the law would be to expect them to be more than human, and I do not hesitate to assert that if the Irish people had the least respect for law and order as now interpreted they would not be fit for freedom. In conclusion, I would give the House one illustration of how justice is administered in Ireland. Last year Mr. John Cullinane was charged before two Justices, including Colonel Caddell, with unlawful assembly, and in the judgment then delivered it was stated that the terror resulting from the assembly was not sufficiently great to justify the Magistrates in concluding that the meeting was unlawful, and consequently they would have dismissed the case but for the fact that the gathering was excessive, and the consequence was that Mr. Cullinane was held to bail in £100, with two sureties in £50 each, or in default to undergo six weeks' imprisonment. In the case of Cullinane the man was actually acquitted of crime. The Magistrates decided that no crime was committed, nevertheless they bound the man over to keep the peace, and because he would not confess that he had broken the peace and been guilty of crime by entering into his own recognisances, he was sent to prison for six weeks. Was anything more monstrous ever heard of? Is it any wonder that the Irish people throw dirt upon, and spit upon, the present administration of the law in Ireland. It they did not kick it from one end of Ireland to the other on every conceivable opportunity, they would not be worthy of the liberty for which they are struggling.
§ (11.2.) MR. W. REDMOND (Fermanagh, N.
I feel bound to raise a protest against the speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson). He compared 172 the Irish people to the criminal population of London. When speaking of the portion of Ireland he represents he should have remembered that the majority of the Representatives of Ulster sit on these Benches and not behind Her Majesty's Government. As representing an Ulster constituency in which Catholics and Protestants stand side by side, I am bound to say that I repudiate in the strongest possible manner the hon. and gallant Gentleman's insinuation. He said these attacks were made on the Irish Estimates every Session, and that within his own knowledge these attacks have been constantly made during the past 22 years. Why, Sir, the fact that these complaints are made year after year and Session after Session is the best proof that they are not without foundation. The hon. and gallant Gentleman says that this Debate has been a comedy, and I must say I never, in my life, heard a bolder assertion. He must be aware that one of the reasons we have made these speeches has been to complain of the wanton and cruel murder of unoffending persons in the towns and villages of Ireland. References have been made in the course of the Debate to the conduct of the police in shooting down people in cold blood when acting under the orders of Resident Magistrates—shooting down men and boys for no crime whatever, or for doing that which in this country would not even evoke an order to "move on." The hon. and gallant Member said that these Resident Magistrates in Ireland should be military men, and he scoffed at the idea that they should be expected to have any legal training. But one of the principal class of cases upon which these men have to adjudicate is that of conspiracy, and every one knows that that is the subject of all others in dealing with which legal training is required. The hon. Member gave his case away when he said that these Magistrates should be men of military experience. It is our complaint in Ireland that the majority of these men are fitted for military affairs, but certainly unfitted to administer the civil law. Would complaint be made if a state of things similar to that in Ireland existed in England and Scotland? Why, if we had no other grievance in 173 Ireland this would be a monstrous one under which our people could never be expected to rest contented. I myself have had the honour and advantage—for we consider it such in Ireland—of being sentenced to three months' imprisonment by two of these Resident Magistrates. When I was undergoing prosecution, one of the Magistrates, who had been in charge of 400 police and soldiers, was asked what were his qualifications to be in command of these men on a critical occasion, and he replied that for a short time he had belonged to the Inns of Court Volunteers. He was then asked what were his qualifications to sit on the Bench and sentence me to imprisonment, and he had to admit that he had never been called to the Bar, or attended a single legal lecture, or passed an examination in his life, and that his only qualification was that he had eaten a few dinners in the Middle Temple in London. It was by a man of that kind I was sentenced to imprisonment, and when anyone complains of our rising in this House and giving vent to our complaints under such circumstances, I say that it is most unreasonable.
§ (11.9.) MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford Central)
I do not desire to detain the Committee for more than a few moments, but, before the Vote is taken, I am anxious to say a few words on the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. I think those who listened to his speech will admit that, though he spoke with his usual ability, he utterly failed to make any adequate reply to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton. My right hon. Friend showed that of the 75 Resident Magistrates in Ireland, only 14 have received the first rudiments of legal education, and that they were briefless barristers who had been appointed because they had failed at the Bar. Of the remainder, a very large proportion are military men—half-pay officers—and the others are political hacks who, like Mr. Cecil Roche, having been defeated at the polls in England, reap their reward on the Bench in Ireland. How did the Chief Secretary attempt to deal with the complaint of my right hon. Friend? He drew a comparison between the Chairmen of English Quarter Sessions, many of whom are soldiers, and the Irish 174 Resident Magistrates; but according to my experience the former class are the very pick of the English Magistrates, and many of them are experienced barristers. Then they are assisted and controlled in all difficult cases by juries, and I would not trust even those gentlemen to deal with difficult questions of conspiracy without a jury. It is the jury who is the protection in England against injustice being done under the law of conspiracy. That law would never have been allowed to remain on our Statute Book if it had not been for that protection. Yet this, which is admitted to be the most difficult part of our law, is in Ireland committed to the jurisdiction of these incompetent, broken-down lawyers or soldiers, who form the great bulk of the Magistracy in that country. The Chief Secretary further urged that the Resident Magistrates have stood the test of experience, and have given great satisfaction in Ulster. But, owing to the peculiar conditions of Ulster, no parallel can be drawn between the position of the Resident Magistrates there and in other parts of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman went on to claim credit for the Resident Magistrates on the ground that only a certain proportion of decisions had been reversed, and he said that even in cases where terms of imprisonment of less than a month had been inflicted there was still an appeal to the Superior Courts. But it must be recollected that it was very difficult for poor people to proceed by way of writ of certiorari, and when they did it must be borne in mind the presumption of fact was always against them. Some of the Judges had declared that they would not over-rule the Courts below on questions of fact. Under the circumstances, therefore, I am not surprised that there was not a large number of appeals of this kind. I notice that the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary was altogether silent on the case of Father Crowley, which was referred to by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton. My right hon. Friend showed that this gentleman was convicted of conspiracy in a case in which no jury in England could have been found to convict, and sentenced to imprisonment for one month, and to give bail to be of 175 good behaviour or go to prison for a further term. That is a glaring instance of the injustice perpetrated by these Resident Magistrates, for they know perfectly well that gentlemen of this character decline to give bail. Then, with reference to the case of Colonel Turner, who took up his abode with the leader of the landlord party in his district, the Chief Secretary says that it would have been impertinent for him to direct Colonel Turner where he should live. But in the case of the Land Commissioners a rule has been laid down forbidding them to accept the hospitality of landlords, lest they should lose the confidence of the people. Colonel Turner has shown himself a thorough partisan, and is universally distrusted in Clare, as I can vouch from experience, having visited the district. It seems to me it was a very unfortunate thins: that Colonel Turner identified himself with Mr. Stacpoole; and also that the Chief Secretary did not drop him a hint that it would be wise not to accept this hospitality. With regard to Colonel Caddell, looking only at his public character and acts, I think he is a most unfortunate officer in his district. He is a constant source of danger to the district, appearing to be interested in inciting the people to a conflict with the police and the military. I have had some experience of this gentleman, for when, last autumn, I went to Tipperary, I was followed by 600 or 700 people to the house where I was going to stay, and when I arrived I was invited to address them from the steps of the house. [Ironical cheers and laughter.] I am not ashamed of it. I did not go there for the purpose of making a speech, but had desired that there should be no demonstration. However, it was very difficult to avoid one. When the people asked me for a speech there immediately started up a force of 30 or 40 armed police, with Colonel Caddell at their head, and posted themselves on the flank of the crowd, and a conflict between the police and the people seemed imminent. That is a good example of what is taking place in Tipperary daily. Colonel Caddell is a representative man of his kind. I believe the Chief Secretary would do well to remove Colonel Caddell and appoint some more moderate and 176 cautious man. One of the worst symptoms of the administration of the right hon. Gentleman is that he never makes any concession to public opinion, and has no sympathy for the feelings of the people, and there can be no better illustration of this than what happened at Mr. O'Dwyer's funeral. A great outrage was committed by the police on that occasion. Colonel Caddell proclaimed the funeral in advance as an illegal assembly, and I venture to ask whether in the whole history of Ireland such a thing ever was done before, or whether in any other country in Europe the Government has ever been known to proclaim a funeral? Was there any reason to believe that any harm would have resulted from allowing this funerals to take place in the ordinary way? The hon. Member for North-East Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien) delivered an address, and I am sure the presence of the police made no difference in his utterances on that occasion. His speech was couched in terms of the greatest possible sympathy for the people of the district, and no-exception could be taken to it on the ground that it had an illegal tendency. It would have been well, in my opinion, to have allowed the funeral to take place without the intervention of the police. What harm could it have done? Political funerals are not uncommon on the Continent, and the authorities, however despotic they may be in general, usually make an exception in favour of a funeral and allow things to be said which they would not allow to be said on other occasions. They recognise that it does not do to outrage the feelings of people on such occasions. I think the right hon. Gentleman would have done well to have allowed a political funeral to take place in this case. I rather gathered from the right hon. Gentleman that he is not altogether pleased with the action of Colonel Caddell on this occasion, for he said he would not express an opinion as to whether it was right or wrong. I would suggest that it would have been wise of him to have gone a little further, and to have made some small concession, even at the last moment, to public opinion in Ireland. Few people who, have not been present at some of the Magisterial inquiries in Ireland can form an adequate notion of the relation of the 177 Resident Magistrates to the executive. The fact is that these Resident Magistrates are part of the executive, and are completely under the thumb of the Crown lawyers. I have myself seen three or four trials of this kind, and what most struck me about them was the complete helplessness and feebleness of the Resident Magistrates in the presence of the Crown lawyers. I am not one of those who believe that the Resident Magistrates actually receive instructions from the officials in Dublin, but I could not help seeing that they were the complete slaves of the Crown lawyers—not from bad faith, but because they were so feeble and so ignorant of the law. I believe that hundreds of these cases come before the Crown Prosecutor and the Attorney General. I think I am right in saying that all these cases come before the Attorney General before the prosecutions are entered upon, and that he therefore is primarily responsible for them. The Resident Magistrates practically carry out the suggestions of the Crown lawyers and the Attorney General. What is also conspicuous about these cases is that they have all been perfectly futile. I believe I am right in saying that all these cases are connected directly or indirectly with disputes between landlords and tenants. They are entered into for the purpose of breaking down the combination of the tenants and enabling landlords to collect arrears of rent. In this respect I undertake to say they have been utterly futile from beginning to end. I challenge the Chief Secretary, as I have done once before this Session, to say whether he can show that any adequate result has accrued from any of these prosecutions under the Coercion Acts. Has he succeeded in breaking down any of the combinations between landlords and tenants; has he succeeded in breaking up any of the so-called suppressed branches of the National League; has he prevented people from attending meetings to protest against the injustice of their landlords? I say he cannot show that any good has been done, even from his own point of view, by the course that has been pursued. It is true that many of the disputes between landlords and tenants have been brought to an end, but this has been done, not by 178 coercion, but by the landlords giving' way. I can only say, in conclusion, that if the right hon. Gentleman were to devote one-tenth part of the labour he bestows upon defending these cases in the House of Commons, preparing the various implements of coercion and instructing his various agents in Ireland, to persuading the landlords to arbitrate in these disputes, he would in a very short time find all difficulties at an end and no farther necessity for prosecutions under the Coercion Act.
§ (11.33.) The Committee divided:—Ayes 193; Noes 124.—(Div. List, No. 190.)
§ Resolution to be reported to-morrow.
§ Committee to sit again to-morrow.