§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ (4.15.) MR. J. REDMOND (Wexford, N.)
I rise for the purpose of moving—That, in the opinion of this House, the time has come when, in view of the peaceful state of the country, and the lengthened term of imprisonment already served by John Daly, Egan, and other persons, now suffering sentence" of penal servitude for treason-felony, a re-consideration of their sentences should take place, with a view of recommending the extension towards them of the clemency of the Crown.I fully recognise the fact that I cannot hope at the commencement of my remarks to have the sympathy of the House in the appeal I am about to make. It cannot be denied that the offences which were committed in connection with the so-called dynamite conspiracy were of a senseless and cowardly character; and although none of them, as far as I know, resulted in actual loss of life, yet they were distinguished by such a recklessness of consequences that it is not unnatural the House of Commons 1142 should view with impatience an appeal made to them on behalf of men who have been convicted in connection with such crimes; but I most humbly and respectfully submit to the House of Commons that we should take care lest a feeling of this kind should lead us into many an act of injustice. We should remember that the aim and object of all punishment are to deter; and as soon as punishment degenerates into vengeance, it becomes utterly unworthy of a powerful and free nation. I appeal, therefore, to the House of Commons for an unprejudiced hearing, and if I am able to show good grounds for the re-consideration of these sentences, I trust that no feeling, however natural on the part of the Members of this House as to the character of the offences alleged against these men, will prevent the House and the Government from taking a just and generous view of the necessities of the case. I propose to deal, first, with the cases of John Daly-and Egan, because they differ in almost every particular from those of the other prisoners who have been convicted of these offences, and I ground my appeal not on any consideration of mercy or clemency, but upon the serious doubt which exists as to the justice of the sentences. Daly and Egan, I believe, are the victims of a dynamite scare created, to a great extent, by newspapers and by public men who by their action and speeches gave to this so-called dynamite movement a vitality which otherwise it would have been impossible for it to have attained. But although Daly and Egan were the victims of this dynamite scare, and although they are now suffering in gaol as dynamiters, it will surprise hon. Members to find that they were neither tried nor convicted of any offence in connection with dynamite. Let me take the case of Daly. He was tried simply for being a Fenian, and not under the Explosives Act of 1883 specially passed to deal with the cases of dynamitards. Under that Act it was possible to award sentences of 20 and 14 years' penal servitude; but that Act has scarcely been used at all in connection with any of these alleged offences. Daly and Egan were indicted for treason-felony upon facts which showed more or less conclusively that they had been connected at some time with the Irish Republican 1143 Brotherhood. The right hon. and learned Member for Bury (Sir H. James) presented the case against Daly and Egan with the utmost fairness, simply as one of treason-felony. The report of the speech of the right hon. Member for Bury, who was counsel for the prosecution, shows clearly that the offence for which Daly was tried was treason-felony, and the evidence went back as far as 1868. An informer named Moran was produced, who proved that in 1871 Daly was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, an association the objects of which were to levy war against the Queen and to establish a Republic in Ireland. The right hon. Member for Bury, did not put the case as one of dynamite, but as an ordinary political trial for treason-felony. The first point I desire to make is that, although treason-felony was the offence for which Daly was tried, and of which he was convicted, it was not the offence for which he was sentenced. The evidence and speeches at the trial were precisely similar to those in all the State trials which have occurred from time to time in the unhappy history of Ireland. The offence for which Daly and Egan were tried was levying war and attempting to raise an insurrection against the Sovereign of these realms. Daly was sentenced to penal servitude for life in 1884 on a State charge of treason which was alleged to have been committed 20 years before. According to the evidence Daly was never a leader of the Fenian organisation. The leaders of that organisation were tried almost a generation ago; some were sentenced to death, others to penal servitude for life, and others to imprisonment for 20 and 15 years; but England, in the exercise of a wise and judicious policy, amnestied those men and gave them back their liberty. At this moment there are thousands of men walking about in Ireland against whom the Government can rake up no evidence, who in 1868, 1870, and 1871 might have been con victed of treason. It is absurd to suppose that the sentence inflicted upon Daly was in respect of the charge for which he was tried. Although the charge was one of treason, the sentence of penal servitude for life was given to Daly by reason of the dynamite reflection that was cast over the case 1144 by one or two small pieces of evidence which I propose to explain. With regard to his conviction for Fenianism, I have little or nothing to say. I do not think the Home Secretary will attempt to evade the question on the ground that Daly was rightly convicted, because there was sufficient evidence of his being a Fonian. For the purpose of my argument I am pre-pared to admit that Daly was properly convicted of treason-felony. My case is that if it had stood simply as a case of treason-felony he would have got a comparatively short sentence, and would have been now a free man instead of being in Portland Gaol with a life-long sentence. What I wish to destroy and explain away is the complexion of dynamite that was cast over the evidence, and I think I shall be able to show that so far as dynamite is concerned, the evidence is unreliable and tainted with the gravest doubt and suspicion. If I succeed, as I believe I shall, in proving my case, then I think it will be absolutely impossible for any man to argue that the clemency of the Crown which was extended years ago to all the leading members of the Fenian organisation ought to be withheld from Daly and the other men like him who are in prison to-day. On the day that Daly was arrested three parcels were found on his person. Those parcels wore either explosives or intended to be used in connection with explosives. But I want to satisfy the House that these things were "planted" on Daly by a person in the pay of the Irish Police. That person had been a Fenian, and was able to ingratiate himself with Daly and obtain his confidence. That person gave those explosives to Daly with a story which Daly believed, and which induced Daly to take the parcels a certain distance, although absolutely innocent as to their nature. For seven months Daly had been followed day and night by detectives, as many as 14 persons being employed to dog his footsteps, and practically he was never out of their sight. Yet during the whole of those seven months Daly was never seen by the police officers to do anything suspicious. He was arrested on the early morning of April 11, 1884. The police swore that on the Wednesday previous Daly had gone to Wolverhampton. He went from 1145 Wolverhampton to Birkenhead, and thence to Liverpool, where the police lost sight of him. But on Friday morning, at 8 o'clock, when they returned to Birkenhead, the police knew exactly where to lay their hands on him. How did the police know of Daly's movements, and how did they know he would have these explosives upon him, because they had no reason for arresting him unless they found something upon his person on that morning? They were asked how it was they arrested him that morning, when they had had him under observation for seven months, and their answer was that they saw his pockets "bulky." I submit that the evidence shows conclusively that the greatest doubt and suspicion attaches to this part of the case. Daly was undefended at his trial, and I think that was a great misfortune. Had he been defended by an astute lawyer the whole of the case as to the finding of explosives upon him and the action of the police in connection with it would have been torn asunder, and the Judge and jury would not have listened to it. The theory that these explosives were put upon Daly fits exactly into the case as I have laid it before the House. If it stood alone it would be the duty of the Home Secretary to investigate these matters. But it does not rest there, because not long ago a communication was made to the Home Secretary by an Alderman of Birmingham making a revelation of such a character that when I first read it it almost took my breath away. The Chief Constable of Birmingham went to one of the Aldermen of Birmingham—Alderman Manton—and made a statement to the effect that he, the head of the police of Birmingham, could no longer remain silent, but must and would unburden himself of the secret preying upon his mind, and that secret was that he had knowledge that these explosives had been planted upon Daly by an agent of the Irish Police. Here is the letter addressed to the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary by Alderman Manton—
§ "Holly Bank, Edgbaston,
§ "October 6th, 1887.
§ "Honoured Sir,—It is with deep regret that I feel compelled to address you. Three weeks since, at the request of several members of the Watch Committee, Mr. Farndale, Chief of the Birmingham Police, applied to 1146 you asking the favour of an interview, for the purpose of laying before you the circumstances which led to the arrest and conviction of the convicts Daly and Egan. I am informed you have decided that if the additional evidence favourable to Egan can be produced, you will be prepared to give it favourable consideration; but in regard to Daly, nothing will induce you to interfere with the verdict. Sir, I will take the liberty of stating some of the circumstances connected with the arrest, as they were stated to me 12 mouths since, without any preliminary remark. Mr. Farndale spoke as follows: 'Mr. Alderman Manton, you will be surprised when I tell you that the explosives fount on Daly were planted on him by the police.' I said, 'Can it be possible?' Mr. Farndale replied, 'It is really so.' I said, 'Are you absolutely certain?' Mr. Farudale said, 'I am,' adding, 'and I promise you that I will never engage in another such business as long as I live.' I felt appalled by the revelation, and, after a few days' calm reflection in the conscious presence of a gentleman, Mr. Farndale engaged to visit the Home Secretary, but he thought it best to go alone. Mr. Farndale said it was not exactly the police who planted the explosives on Daly, but a companion and confidant of Daly, who was in the employ of the Irish Police, who not only supplied cash for the purpose of the explosives, but contributed to the support of the confederate, and through him to the support of Daly, for a considerable time. Mr. Farndale has stated as his opinion that Daly had never been associated with dynamitards, and that he would have thrown the explosives out of the railway carriage on the first opportunity, or was Mr. Farndale alone in his opinion? Another police officer of high rank said he believed Daly would have thrown the explosives out of the window in the first tunnel he came to. Mr. Farndale has stated that but for finding the explosives there was no ground for the arrest of either Daly or Egan. With regard to Egan, there were grave doubts at the time in relation to the finding of the canister in the garden. Neither the canister nor its contents were worth hiding or finding. Not a few were surprised at his committal for trial. I have been passing through a most painful ordeal for 12 months. I have earnestly striven by the best means I could think of to obtain some measure of redress for the wrongs inflicted as the result of a vile conspiracy. I verily believe that justice imperatively demands a thorough investigation of the whole case. Nor would I conceal from you, Sir, that the dread of the same men, or other members of the Irish Police Force, may have been, or may still be, perpetrating similar atrocities on others, and thus imperilling the lives and liberties of my fellow subjects, has had very considerable influence in promoting my action. Neither time, experience, nor observation has weakened my resolve. Sir, I earnestly plead for your help. The knowledge of this letter is confined to myself. I pray God that he may be pleased so to order events that, as far as possible, the wrong may be redressed and my soul be relieved of a burden which has been 1147 terribly oppressive for a long period of 12 months!—I remain, honoured Sir, yours most respectfully,
§ "HENRY MANTON."
§ I want to know was Mr. Farndale at that time the Chief of the Police of Birmingham and a trusted officer? Is he still Chief of the Police? If so, how, with any sense of certainty that they are doing right, can the Executive keep this gentleman in gaol? The last time this question was before the House mention was made of conspiracies at the Home Office and of conspiracies by the police. I do not want to make any accusation of conspiracy against the Home Office or the police. I simply say that We have here the evidence of a gentleman of responsibility in one of the greatest English towns, which, if true, shows that Daly was convicted on evidence which, if properly sifted at the trial, would have broken down, in which case the savage sentence inflicted upon him would never have been passed. The Homo Secretary has said that he has made some investigation into these allegations, and they have proved to be groundless; but if the result of the investigation was only to show that the Executive were merely able to say that nothing new brought to their notice altered their opinion that Daly's conviction was just, I say that is juggling with the question. I am convinced that the right hon. Member for Bury (Sir H. James), the Attorney General at the time, had no knowledge that the evidence was got up in this way. I am constrained to the belief that the right hon. Gentleman was kept in ignorance of how the evidence had been worked up. If so, the atrocity which has been committed is still more horrible, and not only works injustice on this unhappy man, but inflicts a great blow on the administration of justice in this country. The statements I have made are consistent with the evidence in the case, and consistent also with the statements Daly has been able to make to me. Here I have to thank the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary for the facilities which he has afforded me for having an interview with Daly, and I will now repeat to the House the substance of the statement Daly made to me, with certain reservations for reasons which hon. Members will doubtless appreciate. 1148 I shall, of course, be willing to communicate privately to the right hon. Gentleman such parts of Daly's statement as it will not be convenient for me to relate to the House. Daly belonged to a branch of the Fenian organisation which, it is well known to all who are acquainted with the history of the subject, vehemently and passionately denounced anything in the shape of outrages of any kind. When in America he openly and publicly denounced the use of dynamite, and he quarrelled with O'Donovan Rossa, and was denounced in Rossa's paper. On his return to this country he intended to emigrate to another part of the world than America; but he was approached by a man—whose name I will give to the right hon. Gentleman privately—who had been an old comrade of his in the Fenian organisation, and who asked him not to leave the country, because a few old friends were anxious to keep him here and would endeavour to obtain employment for him, and provide him with funds in the meantime. A short time afterwards that man came to him, or sent for him, and asked him to take charge of a small parcel for him, saying that he was in danger and that he was being followed by the police. Daly took the parcel and hid it in the back garden of Egan's house at Birmingham, where he was living. Daly's statement to me was that he did not know and did not inquire what was in the parcel. As soon as he was arrested the police with unerring instinct walked over to the corner of the garden where the parcel was buried and dug it up. It proved to contain a small bottle holding a very small quantity of nitro-glycerine. The story of Daly's arrest is very curious. Daly had no reason to believe that his friend was a dynamiter, and on receiving a telegram from him at Birmingham he went to Wolverhampton to see him. He missed him at Wolverhampton and then went to Birkenhead, and finally to Liverpool. In Liverpool, on the way to the man's house, he eluded the police. He did not find the man at his house, but he slept there that Wednesday night. The next day the man came to him with three more small parcels, and induced Daly to take charge of them to bury in the garden. He says that after he had taken these parcels the man 1149 asked him what route he was going by, and then urged him not to go till the Friday morning, and then to leave by the 8 o'clock train from Birkenhead—which was some miles out of his way. Finally it was arranged that Daly should sleep that night in the man's house, and on the following morning should cross to Birkenhead and take the train home. All this time the police say they did not know where he was; but on the Friday morning, on his going to the railway station at Birkenhead to take his ticket for Birmingham, he found them waiting for him, they having been duly informed of the hour he would arrive and of what he had in his pocket. So well were the police informed on the point that they brought a black leather hand-bag to carry the parcels, and had provided themselves with handcuffs. Shortly after the man at Liverpool, who had carried on business un-successfully there and who was in financial difficulties, left Liverpool, and is now out of the country, as far as I know. If that man who professed to be a friend of Daly's was in reality an agent of the police, who had lured and drawn this unfortunate man to his destruction, and had then been allowed to leave the country with his packets filled with his ill-gotten gains, the plot was a most horrible one. As to Egan, there was no evidence that he had been connected with the Fenian organisation during some seven years before his arrest, and the only evidence connecting him with dynamite was the finding of this phial of nitro-glycerine in his garden. Egan was declared over and over again by Daly to have been perfectly innocent of any knowledge or participation in the offence with which he was charged. When Daly was given an overdose of belladonna, and was lying upon what he believed to be his deathbed, he solemnly repeated that exoneration of Egan. Considering that Egan has been condemned to:20 years' penal servitude, not because he was a Fenian, but because it was suggested that he was a dynamiter as well, I do think the House will be taking a wise course in dealing leniently with this man and restoring him to his young wife and his children. The case I want to lay before the House is that both these men were never what are called dynamiters. 1150 Egan especially a short time before expressed sentiments in America which it is notorious got him into trouble. He denounced dynamite, and all through that was his sentiment. It is not for me to express my personal belief in the matter, but whatever case there is of Daly being a Fenian, I do not think he has ever been a dynamiter, or tainted with the suspicion of it. It is a terrible thing to see a young man in the prime of Ills years prematurely decayed, and presenting a picture of horrible suffering, and who has been three times poisoned by mistake in Chatham Gaol. If that had happened to any ordinary prisoner, as soon as he had recovered he would have been released. It is dreadful to see this man penned up for life in Portland Gaol. As to the treatment of him by the officers of the gaol, so far as I can sec, they behave with humanity to him. But the cells in which these dynamite prisoners art; confined differ from those of the ordinary prisoner in that the windows are covered with an iron shutter, which is punctured with holes, so that the unfortunate dynamite prisoner is deprived of even a sight of the sky, though criminals of the lowest class enjoy that privilege. It may seem a small thing to mention, but it is intelligible that to a man confined for life such n, deprivation is an absolute torture. I am not going to make any claim with regard to prison treatment. I think I have made out a serious case demanding investigation, and which, if inquired into, will lead the Executive to the conclusion that this man has been sufficiently punished, and that the savage sentence of penal servitude for life should not be carried out in his regard. In Ireland the conviction is universal that John Daly is innocent of the crime. I have not dwelt upon Egan's case, because it hinges on Daly's; and if Daly's sentence were commuted, it would be impossible for the Government to deal otherwise than with equal leniency in the case of Egan. I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman, in the name of justice and humanity, to investigate this case thoroughly; and if it turn out as I believe it will, then I ask him to regard it as a case fit for the clemency of the Crown. The commutation of these sentences would not in the slightest impair authority. The dynamite 1151 conspiracy is as dead as Julius Cæsar, and the prolongation of the punishment of these men can only have for its object the wreaking of vengeance upon individuals, and not to exercise a deterrent influence upon the community. If that is so, it is a policy absolutely abhorrent to the whole theory of our Criminal Law, and unworthy a great nation and a powerful Government. I ask the right hon. Gentleman for a full and impartial inquiry in regard to Daly and Egan, and in their case and the cases of all other prisoners who are suffering sentences of penal servitude in English gaols I ask for a re-consideration of their sentences, with a view to the speedy exercise of the clemency of the Crown. In conclusion, I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name.
To leave out from the word "That," to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the Opinion of this House, the time has come when, in view of the peaceable state of the country and the lengthened term of imprisonment already served by John Daly, Egan, and other persons, now suffering sentences of penal servitude for treason-felony, a re-consideration of their sentences should take place, with the view of recommending the extension towards them of the clemency of the Crown,"—(Mr. John Redmond.)—instead thereof.
§ Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ *(5.15.) THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. MATTHEWS, Birmingham, E.)
I do not complain either of the Amendment or of the speech in which it has been moved, but I am bound to observe a considerable reserve in what I say, whilst the hon. Member is perfectly free to say what he chooses. The allegation that Daly and Egan are not indicted for dealing with dynamite, but were indicted for treason-felony, is in one sense true; but one count of the indictment set forth that the prisoners, knowing of the existence in the United Kingdom of a treasonable association called the Irish Republican Brotherhood, had aided and furthered its principal object—the overthrow of the authority of the Queen in Ireland—by procuring and having in their possession dynamite shells with intent to employ the same in the furtherance of the aforesaid 1152 object. The indictment also alleged the possession of nitro-glycerine. Therefore, it is hardly accurate to say that the offence alleged was not the possession of explosives with the intent to use them. I agree it is not an ordinary case of having explosives in a. man's possession with the intent to use them simply for an unlawful purpose, such as the destruction of the property of a private enemy. The dynamite was to be used for a public treasonable purpose, and in that way it was perfectly accurate to speak of the offence as one connected with the use of dynamite. I need not recapitulate the facts of the case. I have repeatedly gone over them as they came oat in the trial, and I am bound to say that if anyone would take the trouble to read the case presented to the jury by the right hon. and learned Member for Bury he would come to the conclusion that the verdict was perfectly right. Daly, having no occupation whatever, came to lodge in the house of Egan in October, 1883, under a false name, that of James Denman. He had no business or occupation, and he frequented places where he was likely to meet with those who took his views of the relations between Ireland and England. Neither at the trial nor through the hon. Member did Daly attempt to give any explanation of the business he had in hand. His movements were mysterious upon more than one occasion. He went more than once to Liverpool, and that was significant, because Liverpool is the port of arrival from America, whence most of these pernicious explosives came. He walked from Birmingham to Wolverhampton, and thence took train to Liverpool. On a particular occasion, on April 9, a Birmingham policeman, who had been watching him for some months, lost him. Leaving the landing stage at Liverpool, he crossed a street, looked over his shoulder several times, and then ran down Covent Garden, and got out of sight. There was nothing extraordinary in Daly being followed and watched, because for a considerable time the police had grave suspicions as to what the errand of Daly was. After he had effected his escape from observation every station by which he was likely to leave the town was watched; he was arrested, and these bombs were found upon him. The hon. Member said they were planted upon him 1153 by the police. [Mr. J. REDMOND: Mr. Farndale said so.] I will deal with Mr. Farndale afterwards. The hon. Member suggested that those bombs were planted on Daly by the police. If that were true, it would undoubtedly be a material circumstance to consider in regard to Daly's punishment. Although Daly was not defended by counsel on his trial he defended himself with great acuteness and presence of mind, and he did not for a moment suggest that he was not aware of what the bombs were, or that be had them for an innocent purpose. He made a speech of great length to the jury, and in the course of that speech he alluded to that crucial part of the case. He said—The jury might ask him how he got the bombs. He could invent a story, as the police had done, but he should not do so.That was all he said to the jury upon that point. It is quite true that in October, 1887, Alderman Manton made a statement to me. It thereupon became my immediate duty to institute a most searching, careful, and full inquiry, and the first person to whom I referred was Chief Constable Farndale. That gentleman assured me that a great part of Alderman Manton's statement was purely imaginary, but he stated that he believed that the bombs were planted on Daly by the police. I called upon Chief Constable Farndale to supply me with every scrap of evidence on which he based that belief, and Chief Constable Farndale did supply me with the Reports of his Inspectors from which he derived that conclusion. I read and studied those Reports with the greatest care, and I came to the conclusion that they did not bear out at all the inference that Chief Constable Farndale drew from them. The truth is that the Birmingham police were greatly annoyed by the whole of that matter. Daly had escaped from their officer, and Chief Constable Farndale was reproved by his own Watch Committee, and it was in answer to that reproof that he made his statement as to the bombs having been planted on Daly. All I can say is that there is not a tittle of evidence to bear out the inference drawn by Mr. Farndale. In the course of the inquiry I made to investigate these allegations, I came to the conclusion 1154 beyond all doubt that the bombs and the nitro-glycerine—certainly the bombs—had been procured from America, and that they arrived at Liverpool just before Daly went to fetch them. They were sent from New York by a person whose name was very well known in connection with transactions of that kind. I had my suspicions as to who the person (on board a steamer trading to Liverpool) was by whose hands those things had come, and who actually conveyed them to Daly. The conclusion to which I came was supported by the evidence. In Colonel Majendie's evidence it was shown not only that the nitro-glycerine was of American manufacture, but that the small glass bottles used for holding the sulphuric acid, which I believe was to cause the explosion, was enclosed in a pen box which had upon it the name "Easter brook and Co., Vulcan Pen, Philadelphia." That was one of the parcels found on Daly. I do not feel warranted in stating publicly all the information that came under my notice in investigating the statement of Alderman Manton, but I am perfectly satisfied in my own mind that there was not a shadow of foundation for his allegation that an agent of the police had supplied those bombs to Daly, but that, on the contrary, they had been sent to Daly at his request from New York. No Home Secretary has probably ever more carefully watched or more sternly repressed anything in the nature of agents provocateurs than the right hon. Member for Derby, who was in office at that time. All the steps taken were duly and constantly reported to the right hon. Gentleman, and were largely within his personal knowledge. The suggestion that Daly fetched those things from Liverpool and buried them in the garden to oblige his unnamed friend, in perfect innocence of heart and not knowing what they contained, is a theory which will not bear investigation. Such actions are not within my experience. The police dug in the garden for a long time before they found anything, and in the course of their digging they found Egan's tin box containing documents, some of them, it is true, 10 years old, but others, including a list of arms, dated only a few months previous to the trial. There was also correspondence between Egan and Daly and a price list of sample fuses—a little circumstance I 1155 had forgotten. All those things pointed to a perfect knowledge, on Daly's part, of the character of the things buried in the garden. It is a little too much in the face of these facts to ask any one to believe that Daly was in perfect ignorance of the contents and nature of those things. The hon. Member, putting himself forward as the legal adviser of Daly, asked to have an interview with Daly out of hearing of the warders, and I thought it right to yield to the request of the hon. Member. I do not dispute the hon. Member's right to use to the best interests of his client the information he then received, but I must be permitted to say that when an hon. Member stands up in the House of Commons and gives an admittedly partial account of Daly's statements—
§ *MR. MATTHEWS
With all respect to the hon. Member, I cannot accept those statements of Daly's even if they were reasonable in themselves. But those statements are not such as any reasonable man could accept. It seems to me that to alter the result of the trial much more than more statements is required. The hon. Member asks me to make full inquiry, but I have not hoard anything from the hon. Member which I have not already inquired into. I have an enormous correspondence connected with the case, and if I were to state fully to the House all the circumstances which, after minute inquiry, came to my notice, I am sure I would convoy to the minds of hon. Members the impression strongly left upon my own mind, namely, that the suggestion that the bombs were planted upon Daly was a piece of absolute imagination. The sentence passed upon Daly was by no means a severe sentence, having regard to the character of the offence of which he was found guilty. Treason-felony is one of those mitigations of the law due to the humanitarian feeling of modern times, and it is only because the old punishment was somewhat repugnant to modern feeling that the Act was passed altering the law. Although the hon. Member might with truth call it a political offence, treason-felony remains a very grave offence; but when treason-felony is accompanied by the employment of such instruments and means as Daly in his 1156 judgment undoubtedly intended to use, it becomes an offence for which hardly any punishment is too severe. Egan's participation in the matter is, no doubt, less clear than that of Daly, and his activity in the matter was also less. It is also true that Daly, in a very chivalrous manner, constantly tried to shield Egan and take the blame on his own shoulders; but, on the other hand, I cannot shut my eyes to the fact that the documents—some of them addressed to Egan and some of them in his own handwriting—laid him open to the charge of Fenianism just as well as Daly himself; and I am unable to accept the charitable view that somehow or other bottles of nitro-glycerine could get planted in a man's garden without his knowing anything about them. Egan pretended not to know Daly, but the correspondence found buried in the garden showed that the two men were on terms of close intimacy, because they were addressing each other by their Christian names. In face of the verdict of the jury, and in view of all the facts, I am unable to draw any distinction between Daly and Egan.
§ MR. J. REDMOND
The jury did not find him guilty of the dynamite offence at all, but of treason-felony.
§ *MR. MATTHEWS
The verdict of the jury was guilty upon all the counts, as far as Daly and Egan were concerned.
§ (9.40.) MR. J. O'CONNOR (Tipperary, S.)
The right hon. Gentleman has not answered the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Wexford, as to whether Mr. Farndale, the Superintendent of Police, is still in the employment of the Government or not? He has passed lightly over whatever information that gentleman gave to the Government, and I am sure that was a strong part of the case emphasised very much indeed by my hon. Friend. There was no charge made against the Home Secretary, or his predecessor, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, as to the employment of agents provocateurs. But I would point out that the right hon. Gentlemen in their position are unaware of the machinations of their subordinates. It brings to my mind an incident in my own life, where agents of the Crown were employed to carry out an outrage planned by the police, and with which I was to be 1157 charged. Afterwards the agents of the Chief of the Police gave away the secret, and it is not denied. It is only a very short time ago that a noble Lord, who represented the strong Government in Ireland, apologised to me for that act, and said he knew absolutely nothing whatever about it. Great stress is laid upon the fact that the dynamite found in Egan's garden was sent from Philadelphia. To that I reply that the Government have agents in Philadelphia, Chicago, and all over America, who are in Communication not with the Government at homo, but with the Minister at Washington. It is quite possible that the substance found in Egan's garden was sent over by me of these individuals. The right hon. Gentleman has said that the Birmingham Police were annoyed. I daresay they wore, because they were called upon to keep constant watch upon Daly, and they therefore made accusations against him. It is reasonable to suppose that they came to the conclusion that it was better for their own convenience to put him out of their way. It was a very suspicious circumstance that John Daly was caught on that Wednesday afternoon, and doubt is cast upon the evidence, because the police were ready to arrest him, and with a bag at baud for the reception of the bombs, which undoubtedly they knew had been placed upon him. It is said that Daly was to be suspected because he frequented Liverpool, which is the port of arrival from America. He was in Liverpool by the invitation of the police agent, and I therefore hold that it is wrong for the right hon. Gentleman to suggest that he was in Liverpool for the criminal purpose of receiving the bombs. Then it is said that John Daly had no occupation, but he came here to seek employment. I do not wish to expand the legal question raised by my hon. Friend, but I wish to say a few words with regard to the treatment of the prisoners. The very nature of the imprisonment is such as to entitle them to the clemency of the Crown by the extension of privileges usually afforded to those who have been unfairly dealt with by the authorities. Because they were convicted of treason-felony their treatment has been much more severe. Full scope has been given to the brutality of their 1158 gaolers. The right hon. Gentleman, in reply to questions in this House, has endeavoured to alleviate some of their sufferings, and has removed them to a prison where they can see their friends and relatives. It is an indication of the character of these men, and distinguishes them from the ordinary prisoners, that one of them asked for a book on navigation, in order to pursue his studies while in prison; another for a Latin and French grammar, while John Daly requested to be supplied with the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. It has been pointed out, further, by one of them that the prison officers could not get out of their mind the crime with which these prisoners were charged. It is also known that the officers of the prison left scraps of newspaper about the prison containing news from Ireland, well knowing that the intelligence would give interest to these unfortunate men. Subsequently, they would find these scraps of newspaper upon the prisoners, and this very fact constituted an offence, for which they would be punished. The warders also used towards these prisoners coarse and insulting language, and a Visiting Committee appointed by the right hon. Gentleman gave orders that coarse language was not to be used in their hearing in future. Again, when the time arrived that Egan was to be visited by his wife—widow I should almost call her—it was contrived that he should be under punishment for some trifling offence, into which he had been driven by the insulting and coarse language to which I have alluded, and so Egan's wife was unable to see him. All this will be found in the Report of the evidence, on page 236, where Wilson says that Egan was punished for having a bit of paper in his possession. On one occasion a prisoner was punished for reporting one of the warders, and the Visiting Justice told him that the less the prisoners reported the warders the better it would be for themselves. The investigation of the Visiting Committee, then, was a perfect farce, because they based their Report not on the evidence adduced by the prisoners, but upon the evidence of those who were accused by the prisoners. I have hero the letter of a prisoner who was released from Chatham, and who describes the sufferings of these prisoners. Gallagher, he states, has been so cruelly treated as 1159 to produce mental aberration. He mentions the case of another prisoner who a few weeks after punishment died of a pulmonary disease. He also mentions the prisoner whom they poisoned with belladonna; and he concludes by saying—I have no hesitation in stating that the general treatment of prisoners in Chatham Prison is an intolerable disgrace to the whole prison system.Daly, after having been poisoned three times with belladonna, refused to take medicine from any of the prison doctors, though he was suffering excruciating-pain from rheumatism, which might have been assuaged. He was afraid to take medicine from men who had poisoned him, who were tolerated by the Government, and who had been reinstated in their positions by the Visiting Committee. Such brutal treatment entitles the prisoners to the consideration of the Government. I have not had an opportunity of making myself acquainted with the number of occasions on which the Government have exercised their power, but I am told that it is usual to exercise clemency to prisoners who have been unfairly treated, or who have suffered in an extraordinary way for which the Prison Rules did not provide. I claim that the same custom or rule should be applied to these men as would be applied to burglars or murderers who had been treated unfairly. It is not too much to ask the Government that such clemency might be extended to such a man as John Daly. It is true he was a Fenian in the past, but those who knew him in the past know very well that he was a man who was incapable of committing the offence with which he was charged, or for which he was sentenced. Daly was a man who had the highest and keenest sense of honour. He was incapable of adopting a mode of warfare that was likely to involve the guilty and the innocent in one common slaughter. He was ready to try and obtain the freedom of his country by force of arms, but I am certain that he feels it an indignity to have to suffer for an offence of this kind, of which he was incapable. He has suffered in a greater degree than was intended by the law, and I think we are justified in asking for the extension to him of that clemency which would 1160 have been extended to him had he been sentenced on any other charge.
§ (6.2.) MR. W. A. MACDONALD (Queen's Co., Ossory)
There are two questions before the House. The first is the treatment of these men, and the second is the justice or injustice of their sentences. As to their treatment, I am satisfied from conversations I have had that men who have suffered for Fenianism have for some reason or other been treated more brutally than they would have been if sentenced for any other offence. I am satisfied from statements made to me by men of honour and integrity that England treats her political prisoners worse than any country in Europe except Russia. The right hon. Gentleman did not for a moment deal with the point that Daly belonged to a party of Fenians that was strongly opposed to dynamite. The right hon. Gentleman has to show why this sudden change took place in the opinions of Daly on the subject of dynamite. Why were these prisoners, Daly and Egan, instead of being tried under the Explosives Act, tried under the Treason Felony Act? You try them for treason-felony, and, in order to increase the sentence which might be inflicted on them, you bring forward this matter of dynamite. Assuming, for the sake of argument, that these men were guilty of concealing this dynamite, I ask the House what is the use of continuing these sentences to the bitter end when there is now no dynamite conspiracy and no thought of dynamite? Surely the fact that the necessity for the sentences has ceased ought to influence you in extending the clemency of the Crown to these men. Nobody now denies that, whether by accident or by design, Daly was most cruelly treated when he was in Chatham. Have you determined that you will carry out the sentence to the bitter end in spite of this consideration? Surely humanity is not entirely banished from the minds and the hearts of the people of this country. We had hoped that the feelings of bitter enmity between the nations were gradually fading away. Why keep an open sore like this, when by an act of clemency and humanity you can do something to heal the sore and to bring back goodwill, kindness, and fellow-feeling between the 1161 people of Great Britain and the people of Ireland?
§ (6.10.) MR. J. NOLAN (Louth, N.)
My hon. Friend the Member for Wexford drew attention to the very great obstacle which stands in the way of Securing the sympathy of this House and of the 'Government for these prisoners, owing to the fact that they have been found guilty of a crime which excited a good deal of horror in the minds of the people of this country generally. One of the strong things in connection with the case is that Daly and his friends always indignantly repudiated having any connection with the dynamite conspirators. It is difficult to create any body of public opinion in this country in favour of clemency to an Irishman convicted of political offences; whereas it is always possible to do so in favour of an Englishman, Scotchman, or Welshman. Let US try to realise what the feeling would be on the part of the people of this country if they hoard that an Englishman, found guilty of a serious offence against morality, had, by the carelessness of prison officials, been brought three separate times to the verge of death. That is the case of the prisoner Daly, and yet I observed that the Home Secretary passed over as a matter of no consequence the fact that the belladonna supplied for use in the prison was of a strength with which the official who dispensed it was unacquainted. Three doses were given to Daly, who in consequence suffered frightful agony, and, in the loneliness of his prison cell, found himself face to face, as he says, with the Great Unknown. Irishmen have shown their readiness to risk great dangers and to undergo great sufferings for their country, but they have generally no sympathy with what is called the dynamite conspiracy. I have attended meetings that have been held in this country and in Ireland, and know that the prevailing impression amongst my fellow-countrymen is that Daly is entirely innocent of the dynamite part of the charge brought against him. Daly would have been prepared to take up arms at any cost for the purpose of obtaining the separation of Ireland from England, but Irishmen feel that he is not guilty of the dynamite part of the charge. I and many of my colleagues would have been better pleased with the Home Secretary 1162 if he had spoken not so much as a lawyer and more as a man. I should like to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the prisoner Daly was represented ill any way at the inquiry into his case? If not, the inquiry was absolutely worthless as far as Daly was concerned. I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman one question on the subject of prison treatment, namely, whether it is a fact that the right of searching prisoners is one which may be exercised by any warder or assistant warder at any-time he may think right to put it into operation? I believe I saw it stated in a popular London paper some time ago, as the experience of an ex-convict, that this was the case. I believe that when a number of convicts have been engaged in work outside it is the custom to halt them before they are sent to their cells, to strip some of them naked, and to subject them to a disgusting search. If this be the system, I would suggest that in the name of common morality and decency it ought to be put an end to. It ought to be made a regulation in convict prisons that no search of this kind should be made except by order of the Governor or of a high official, and in his presence or the presence of some responsible official. Let me direct attention to the effect this regulation is likely to have on men of the temperament of Mr. John Daly and other men who are confined at the present time. It very often happens that the minds of prisoners give way under the pressure of the irritating and degrading-treatment to which they have been subjected during their term of imprisonment, and this may happen in the cases of the prisoners to whom I refer. I am firmly convinced that Mr. John Daly was innocent of the dynamite charge made against him, and I claim not merely in his interest, but in the interests of justice, that a full and fair inquiry should be held into this case, and that he should be represented at that inquiry by counsel.
§ (6.30.) MR. PIERCE MAHONY (Meath, N.)
A very serious statement was made by Chief Constable Farndale, and the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary made an observation as to this Chief Constable's reason for his declaration which struck me as being very peculiar. He said the Watch Committee 1163 had complained of the Chief Constable's conduct in not arresting the man who gave Daly the dynamite, and I understood him to say, or to imply, that the Chief Constable had said as an excuse that the person who gave the dynamite was in the pay of the police. If the right hon. Gentleman did not mean that, I fail to see what moaning there was in that particular sentence of his. Well, I wish to know where Chief Constable Farndale is now—whether he has been dismissed, degraded, or punished? If not, it would seem to me to follow that the right hon. Gentleman is satisfied that Chief Constable Farndale did not make this statement as an excuse for neglect of duty, but believes that the Irish Police put the dynamite in Daly's possession, and under those circumstances there is grave reason why this matter should be sifted to the bottom.
§ *MR. MATTHEWS
In order that there may be no misunderstanding on this point I may be allowed to say that I did not intend to impute misconduct of any sort or kind to Chief Constable Farndale. I do not think I used language that conveyed that. I stated the occasion on which the Chief Constable's expression was used, and that was when the Watch Committee wore complaining that everybody connected with the case had not been arrested. I inquired as to the Chief Constable's grounds for the impression he formed. The reasons of the Chief Constable wore sent to the Home Office in writing, and they were the basis of my inquiry. The Chief Constable had not the solo or, indeed, the principal conduct of the inquiries going on about Daly, and had nothing to do with the endeavour to arrest Daly. But on examining the Reports I came to the conclusion that the Chief Constable was wholly mistaken.
§ MR. PIERCE MAHONY
I am obliged to the right hon. Gentleman for the interruption. Chief Constable Farndale is the head of the Birmingham Police, and therefore an officer in a very responsible position. A graver accusation than that made by him against the Irish Police—that the person who gave the dynamite to Daly was in their pay—cannot be conceived. What I would ask the House to realise is this: What would have been the effect of this 1164 accusation if it had been made at the trial of Daly? Would not the matter have been sifted to the very bottom? The right hon. and learned Gentleman who conducted the prosecution (Sir H. James) would have been the very first to desire that the matter should be sifted to the bottom before the jury, and would have got from the Chief Constable his reasons for making the accusation. We should have had what we have not got now—the information which the right hon. Gentleman says has led him to the conclusion that Chief Constable Farndale is mistaken. Whatever view any person in the House may take on the matter, surely no one will deny that Daly ought to be placed in exactly the same position as he would have been placed in if this evidence had been forthcoming at his trial. The reason we are taking such a deep interest in his case is because we believe he has been unjustly imprisoned. We urge that the Chief Constable ought to be asked to furnish the reasons for making the accusation regarding the manner in which the dynamite was obtained, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he will submit to us Chief Constable Farndale's written reasons, or the reasons which led the right hon. Gentleman himself to believe that the Chief Constable was mistaken. These are reasonable requests, and requests which We shall have to press on the right hon. Gentleman time after time—and I think the day will come when we shall not press for them in vain. Chief Constable Farndale kept this information locked up in his breast for a considerable time. Apparently, he only brought it out in the end in self-defence. It is a very serious accusation for one police officer to bring against another, and I would ask whether that does not in itself show the necessity of having an inquiry so that no doubt may be cast on the administration of justice. The right hon. Gentleman the Homo Secretary laid a great deal of stress upon the fact of Daly's being lost in Liverpool. I say that is a very suspicious circumstance as against the police. The right hon. Gentleman does not regard it as such, but the evidence showed that the occasion on which Daly visited Liverpool was not his first visit. He had been invited to go to Liverpool by a house-holder, 1165 a man of business, well known to the police, and Daly on that occasion received a parcel which he was asked to take away and conceal. This parcel turned out to be the nitroglycerine which was afterwards dug up in the garden. The police were watching Daly for months, and must have known that he had received a telegram on this particular day, and that he was going to Liverpool. Did the police know of his visit? If they did it is incredible that they did not know that Daly had received a telegram asking him to visit the town, because they were constantly watching him; indeed, they had taken lodgings opposite to his residence for the purpose. Why, then, did they not go to the residence of this Liverpool householder whom they must have known he was visiting? They lost him for two days, and we are asked to believe that they watched every railway station and road, and that it was by the merest accident that they found him at the Birkenhead Station.
§ MR. PIERCE MAHONY
It was no accident that 20 or 30 police were waiting at the station. Were there 20 or 30 at each of the other stations? I think it is a far more likely story that the police purposely lost sight of the man—that they knew the house he had gone to, that they had information from the owner of the house as to when and where he would arrive, and that they were, therefore, ready to arrest him. I hope that, in any case, the right hon. Gentleman will not refuse us the evidence or the reasons which induced Chief Constable Farndale to make this serious statement to the Watch Committee of Birmingham, and that he will give us an opportunity of judging for ourselves of the evidence which induced him not to credit Chief Constable Earn-dale's statement. So much for the case of John Daly and Egan. Now, as regards the general case of all these prisoners, I think the House will agree with me that, however much we may condemn the deeds of which these men were accused, and of which they were found guilty by a Coroner's Jury—and no one can condemn such deeds more strongly than I do—their acts were not performed with a selfish motive. Their's was not 1166 a selfish motive, and that alone shows that deep down in these men's hearts there was some good. I invite hon. Members to try and get at this good and make use of it. The evil in them has been punished by years of imprisonment. Surely it has been punished sufficiently. Why not, by showing mercy, make use of what is good in these men? Is there not a nobler work than letting them go to their death through vengeance? We are rejoicing now because we are so soon to cease to sit. We are rejoicing at the prospect of getting away from our work here. If these are our feelings how terrible must be the feelings of these men who have before them no hope of release from their sufferings but the release of death. Would it not be nobler to give them—even those who are guilty—some opportunity of making amends to their fellow men in this life, instead of letting them die a miserable death in prison? Surely it is clear that you can do no good in England or Ireland or anywhere else by keeping these men in prison any longer, and you do not know how much good you might do by showing mercy.
§ (6.50.) MR. ATKINSON (Boston)
I do not speak with any personal knowledge of these cases, because hitherto I have put my trust in those whose duty it is to investigate them, and when voting I have followed their lead. But I think the hon. and learned Gentleman who introduced the subject has made out a case for mercy. Inasmuch as I have lately had an opportunity of ascertaining that the right hon. Gentleman who is now answerable for reviewing these cases will not look mercifully into the cases of Englishmen who have merely walked in the streets in order to do good to the bodies and the souls of their fellow creatures, I will not follow the right hon. Gentleman when he stands up and says that he will not have mercy. I have myself, though a Visiting Justice, been prevented from going down and investigating cases in my own constituency. I pity poor men who are suffering penal servitude as these men are. When the Member for Derby was at the Home Office he was afraid that a piece of dynamite might explode near his portly person, and so the police used to pounce upon ladies when they came to the House and take their reticules from 1167 them lest they might contain dynamite. When a person is in the state of mind of the right hon. Gentleman, he thinks that a man who has anything to do with dynamite ought to be put in prison and kept there not only as long as he lives, but as long as the right hon. Member for Derby himself lives. If the pacification of Ireland is attained, I do not see why we should not lot out these poor fellows, who no doubt have committed crimes. We have all done wrong at some time of our lives, including the right hon. Member for Derby. Therefore we should have mercy. I have as great a detestation of crimes as anyone, especially of the crimes of those who would blow up the innocent with the guilty; but now that Ireland is pacified I would say lot these poor fellows go free, but not from police supervision. Police supervision will take care of them, and if they misconduct themselves again, the sentence can be revived, and they may be taken back to prison.
§ *(6.55.) MR. P. O'BRIEN (Monaghan, N.)
I bog to support the Amendment, and to express a desire to hear what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bury have to say on the subject. I will give the House my own experience. I am a citizen of Liverpool, where I have lived for 15 years. No fewer than three attempts have been made by the Irish Police in Liverpool to entrap me. I have been in business in Liverpool for a considerable time, and have been connected with every constitutional political movement of my countrymen there. For that reason, I suppose, I got a little more attention than I desired from the Royal Irish Constabulary stationed in Liverpool between 1883 and 1885. During that period I on three occasions was informed that small boxes had arrived for me from New York, and was asked if I would not call for them. But I was not to be caught. I knew that in business I could not receive any parcels from New York, and consequently I did not call for them. Subsequently, an officer, whom I had no difficulty in identifying as a detective, came to my office and asked why I had not called for the parcels. I asked the man to call a second and a third time, and eventually told him if he did not leave some of his 1168 colleagues from Dale Street would have to come and carry him away. The man who is alleged to have trapped Daly was well-known to me. He was a public house keeper, and the very day before Daly was arrested he stopped me and told me John Daly was in town, and asked me to go to a certain place to meet him. I declined to meet John Daly. That accounts for the fact that I am here to tell the tale. It was not that I disliked knowing John Daly, because I do not believe him capable of a dynamite outrage. I have known of him from the days of Mr. Butt as an opponent of constitutional movements and as favouring advanced or revolutionary tactics. But I declined to see Daly. Now it is said Daly, in order to get to Birmingham, went to Birkenhead Station, and he must, if he did that, have passed several stations whence he could more rapidly have been carried to where he wanted to go. I think this part of the right hon. Gentleman's statement was absurd. The Royal Irish Constabulary will stick at nothing to get a chance of promotion. In my opinion the Liverpool Force would not do such things. But the Royal Irish Constabulary consider themselves independent of the Watch Committee at Liverpool; they arrest with or without warrant. The Watch Committee have no control over these men, who look to Dublin Castle for orders and promotion. The right hon. Gentleman says he has papers in his possession which reveal a good deal of the working of this plot. Then why does he not produce these Re-ports? He has laid stress on the fact that certain documents were found buried in the garden at Birmingham; and from what I can understand, these appear to be a copy of the rules and constitution of the old Fenian Brotherhood. Well, there is nothing very terrible in that, and nobody ought to be better acquainted with the rules in question than the light hon. Gentleman himself, for they were the rules subscribed to by the men who in 1868 supported him in Dungarvan—men whose votes he accepted, the organisation whose money helped to secure his return.
§ *MR. P. O'BRIEN
Then the history of the time is false, which says that the right hon. Gentleman was supported by 1169 the leading Fenians of the time, and portions of his address were printed and circulated and paid for by the money of the Fenian organisation. But all I want to show is that the rules discovered in the garden at Birmingham wore as old as the right hon. Gentleman's political career. The right hon. Gentleman says that he cannot give the name of the man who brought the bombs from New York. Why cannot the right hon. Gentleman do so? I believe the reason is, because the man was the servant of the police in Liverpool. I remember how, in the course of the investigations of the Special Commission appointed to inquire into the charges brought by the Times against certain Irish Members, we used to hear a good deal about a certain Mr. Jenkinson who was said to have an intimate knowledge of the dynamite plots. I should like to know why Mr. Jenkinson disappeared from London before he could be subpœnaed by the representatives of the Irish Party? Daly was the victim of a plot. Daly was not capable of using dynamite bombs. In his speech from the dock, when he saw no hope of liberty, and had no object in making a false statement, Daly said he had a strong suspicion of where the information came from, but he would not mention names; for if he did he would bring other persons under the vengeance of the same machinery that had run him into the dock. It showed the good nature of the man that he would not run the risk of wronging any man by giving the name. What did he mean by bringing others under the vengeance of the same machinery which had led to his condemnation? He referred to the dynamitards in America, and he felt that any disclosure of the name would lead to that person being run to earth by the same men who made New York too hot for the innocent John Daly himself. John Daly's views were never in favour of the use of dynamite, as he said in his speech in the dock he had striven to teach the Irish people not to be assassins and cut-throats, but a righteous people looking to their rights and liberties. He is not a man to favour the methods of dynamitards. He was convicted of treason-felony. We have at least one hon. Gentleman among us who was convicted of high treason, and he told the House on a memorable 1170 occasion that he had been sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered for high treason. And yet he experienced the clemency of the Crown, and there are, of course, the cases of Mr. Davitt and of others. Why should the House not agree to invoke the clemency of the Crown for the unfortunate John Daly? I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby has now any fear of the attacks of dynamitards, and I respectfully urge the Home Secretary to listen to the pleas for mercy which have been urged. The overdose of belladonna occurred at a time when it would have been convenient, in view of the disclosures through Alderman Manton, that the convict should have been made away with. I do not seek to establish any connection myself, but I know the thought is in the minds of many people, and I urge now that no good course will be served by sending this man a prisoner to his grave. Let him have liberty, on condition of emigration if you will. Give him a chance of becoming a useful citizen in other lands.
§ (7.9.) MR. PARNELL (Cork)
I had the opportunity on a previous occasion of saying nearly as much as I wish to say-on this subject, and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for North Wexford (Mr. Redmond) has since gone so fully into the case that I do not propose to go so fully into detail as I should have had to have done if I had moved the Motion my hon. and learned Friend has so ably, so efficiently, moved. But I cannot remain silent, as there are certain points in connection with this matter which impress me very strongly indeed, and which I cannot help thinking must have impressed the House, and, to some-extent, the Home Secretary himself. I regret exceedingly to hear that the right hon. Gentleman does not intend to reopen the case. I hope that that is not the definite conclusion he has arrived at. I hope that his mind will still remain open to any fresh facts that may be brought before him, supplemented by the information which my hon. Friend the Member for North Wexford has been able to obtain during his brief interview with Daly, and possibly supplemented by information which the Home Secretary may himself be able to obtain from the police in Ireland and in 1171 this country. When we were discussing this matter the other day the right hon. Gentleman said that if it were proved to his satisfaction, or even if a reasonable suspicion were created in his mind, that any agent provocateur had been employed in Daly's case, he would be willing to release the prisoner at once. After the investigation which my hon. Friends have been able to make, if one thing seems more absolutely certain than another it is that such a person was employed by the Irish police to hand to Daly the nitro-glycerine and the parcel containing bombs. Does the Home Secretary know the name of the person who handed those articles to Daly? Have the right hon. Gentleman's inquiries brought him as far as that? We know the name of the man, but, of course, we do not intend to mention it at present. Has the right hon. Gentleman, in his re-consideration of the case, inquired what has become of this person, where he is now living, under whose charge he is living, and how he is being supported? There are sources of information open to the right hon. Gentleman which are not open to us, and the right hon. Gentleman can obtain, if he pleases, the whole secret history of this case from beginning to end, and I am convinced that if the right hon. Gentleman wore to do so he would be obliged to fulfil the pledge given to us the other day by releasing Daly. The right hon. Gentleman has means of ascertaining whether the person who handed Daly these explosive materials was in the employment of the Irish police or not. We know perfectly well that at the time of Daly's arrest agents provocateurs were going about enlisting foolish young men in these dynamite conspiracies and seeking to entrap persons whom they suspected, in order to make a short cut to what they considered justice. If this man was a police agent the Home Secretary can find out the fact. If the right hon. Gentleman is not satisfied in his own mind, it seems to me the additional evidence brought forward by my hon. and learned Friend ought at once to stimulate him to further inquiry as to the character of the person who handed the nitro-glycerine to Daly and told him to bury it in Egan's garden, where it was found by the police six months afterwards, and the same person who subsequently handed to Daly the 1172 parcel containing the bombs, giving him the address at Birkenhead where he was arrested. Turning to the case of Egan, I ask the House to remember that that prisoner has been exonerated by Daly from all complicity in the dynamite conspiracy and from knowing anything about the nitro-glycerine, while there is no evidence against Egan about the bombs. Some ancient documents relating to the Fenian movement were found in his possession, dating from somewhere about the time when the present Home Secretary was elected for Dungarvan, with the assistance of his then Fenian supporters. I do not say he did wrong then; we know that men of that Party did at this time take a prominent part in Irish politics, and that Fenianism did in some parts of the country exercise considerable influence. I do not impute to the right hon. Gentleman that he was in sympathy with the objects of the Physical Force Party of Dungarvan at that day, but those men supported him in his election. These ancient documents were the only evidence against Egan. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby did not prosecute upon such ancient and stale charges—in fact, it has not been the policy for many years of any Government, whether Liberal or Conservative, to prosecute what remains of the old Irish Republican Brotherhood in this country and in Ireland. They simply leave that Brotherhood alone, because they do not suppose that the Organisation means to translate their ideas into action, and it has therefore been the policy of successive Governments not to trouble themselves about the proceedings of this old conspiracy so long as its members keep clear of dynamite and murder. It is, moreover, well known to the police of this country and of Ireland—and it was proved before the Special Commission—that the Physical Force Organisation of Great Britain and Ireland was absolutely hostile to the dynamite conspiracies which proceeded from various sections in America—absolutely hostile. Therefore, if it is not the policy, if it has not been the policy, of any Government to prosecute members of the old Irish Fenian Brotherhood, why, then, was Daly sent into penal servitude for life, and why was 1173 Egan sent into penal servitude for 20 years? Daly was so punished because he was supposed to have had some connection with the dynamite conspiracy, but the only crime Egan appears, according to the evidence, to have committed, apart from being in possession of these old documents, is the crime of having a back garden. If the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby shares the view of the Home Secretary as to Egan's guilt, we shall have to take good care when the Liberals come into office that none of us indulge in the luxury of a back garden. It is very miserable to think that this man, who must have been absolutely innocent of any connection with dynamite, should in this year, 1891, after having endured eight years' penal servitude, be still held in penal servitude because he was found in possession of these old Fenian documents. Surely the ends of justice and policy do not require that this should be the conclusion. I trust the right hon. Gentleman will reconsider the whole matter; that he will make inquiry into the position and character of this person who handed the explosives to Daly; that he will inquire into the position of the person in regard to the Irish police, his present position and means of living, and whether he has been an agent provocateur. Inspector Farndale has stated he was, and Inspector Farndale must know. The right hon. Gentleman says his investigations have showed that the man was not a police agent. I should like to know how far the investigation of the Home Secretary proceeded as to whether the man who handed the explosives to Daly was in the employment of the police. Did the right hon. Gentleman go to the origin of the matter? [Mr. MATTHEWS nodded assent.] Did the right hon. Gentleman go to the persons who could give him the secret history of the Daly case? Did he go to the Irish police? Did he find out from them the history of this man who handed the explosives to Daly? Because that is the point upon which the whole case turns. If the right hon. Gentleman did not proceed so far as that, then he has only proceeded as far as my hon. and learned Friend, and he has not the materials to enable him to form a decisive conclusion. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to make further investigation, with the view of ascertaining whether this man was employed by the Irish police to entrap 1174 Daly into the conspiracy. I further ask him specially to consider the case of Egan, in order that he may see whether there is a particle of evidence to show that he was in any way privy to the presence of the explosives on his premises, and had any knowledge whatever of the dynamite conspiracy. I also ask the House to remember that these men were convicted of a political offence—treason-felony; that the Act passed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby in 1883—the Explosives Substances Act—was put on one side in the case of every one of these persons, 14 in number, who are still living; and that all, with the exception of Egan, have been sentenced to penal servitude for life. These men could not have received such terrible sentences under the Explosives Substances Act, and the mode of procedure in each case must have been the settled policy of the Home Office, resolved upon for the purpose of striking additional terror among the members of the dynamite conspiracy by giving those who were caught these life-long sentences. Had Daly been convicted under the 4th section of the Explosives Substances Act on reasonable suspicion of having explosive substances in his possession with intent to cause an explosion, he could have received only 14 years' penal servitude. Daly gave to the jury the explanation which he has now tendered to the hon. Member for Wexford; but, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, while a statement made by a prisoner in a speech for his own defence may be used against him, nothing he may say in his own, favour can be used to his advantage. I will conclude by asking the House to consider, on the ground of policy, whether these men should remain in penal servitude for life. Whatever was right at the time they were convicted, and whatever panic existed, the same circumstances no longer obtain. These conspiracies, even in America, have been abandoned for many years, and nobody now wishes to blow up the British Empire with dynamite—an idea which has passed out of the view of the most extreme Irishman. These events, terrible, no doubt, as they were, have passed away, and could not a powerful Government and a powerful nation consider the case with clemency and with mercy?
§ (7.30.) SIR W. HARCOURT (Derby)
I shall only occupy the attention of the House for a very few moments after the very able and exhaustive speech of the Secretary for the Home Department, which I regret the hon. Member for Cork was not in his place to hear. The hon. Member for North Wexford has brought forward this subject in a most moderate and temperate manner, and doubtless he has merely endeavoured to lay before the House his own convictions on this subject. Neither of the Resolutions that stand upon the Paper in relation to this question alleges that these men have been wrongfully convicted; all that is suggested is that the time has come when, in view of the peaceful state of Ireland and the lengthened term of imprisonment already served by the prisoners in question, a re-consideration of their sentences should take place, with the view of recommending the extension towards them of the clemency of the Crown. The proposition of the hon. Member for Cork and of the hon. Member for Wexford, therefore, is that men who have been rightly convicted shall now be released because of the peaceful state of Ireland and of the lengthened term of imprisonment they have suffered.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
The hon. Member for Cork has said that he put forward that proposition as applicable not only to the cases of Daly and Egan, but to the other dynamite prisoners, such as Whitehead and Gallagher. Whitehead was a person who had carried on at Birmingham the manufacture of dynamite on a large scale for the purpose of its being used for explosions, and Gallagher had been engaged in similar work in London. These were men of the most dangerous kind, and I fail to see that their offences became less heinous because they had added to them the crime of treason-felony. It must be remembered that it was due to such men as those that the explosions took place in Westminster Hall, and in other places in London, and in my opinion the fact that they had also been guilty of treason-felony aggravated rather than diminished their guilt. It is not necessary that I should go in any detail into the cases of these prisoners. 1176 It is many years since they were convicted, and, having no means of obtaining official information, it is scarcely to be expected that I should rely on my memory with regard to their respective cases. I desire, however, on behalf of myself and on behalf of the police, to protest against the suggestion that I sanctioned the latter in employing any agents provocateurs. The dynamite conspiracy had its roots in America and in Ireland, and it was absolutely necessary, in order to destroy that conspiracy, that the co-operation of the police throughout the United Kingdom should be secured. Of course, the greater number of those who took part in this conspiracy came from Ireland. [Mr. P. O'BRIEN: No; from America.] Did not the Phœnix Park murders occur in Ireland?
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
I do not, of course, know what information the hon. Member has on the subject; but, as far as I am concerned, I maintain that I was right in saying that these secret societies were organised in Ireland.
§ *MR. P. O'BRIEN
I think that the right hon. Gentleman is unfair in dragging the Phœnix Park murders into this discussion.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
I was speaking of secret societies—of dynamite associations and of assassination associations—and I maintain that in order to put down such secret societies it is necessary to secure the co-operation of the police of the United Kingdom. My clear recollection is that no agent provocateur was employed, and that such a system was condemned by all responsible persons. That information should have been obtained with reference to these secret societies is an entirely different thing. It is one of the benevolent provisions of nature that a man who is scoundrel enough to take part in these secret societies is also treacherous enough to betray his fellow criminals, and it is only right that when the poison exists the counter poison should be used for the protection of the community. It was in consequence of the fear I had entertained that agents provocateurs might be employed that I abolished the system of offering rewards for the discovery of these crimes, which tempted to the employment of agents provocateurs. No doubt in connection 1177 with the Phœnix Park murders large rewards were offered by the City of London and by others; but I thought it more prudent that the rewarding of those who discovered the authors of such crimes should be left to the liberality of Public Bodies, who would not fail to recognise the intelligence, the courage, and the energy of the police in bringing offenders to justice. With regard to the case of Daly, I entirely concur with the Secretary for the Home Department that it is impossible that that man should have been ignorant that he was dealing with a dynamiter. The House is asked by the hon. Member for Wexford to believe that this man, avowedly an ancient Fenian, had accepted innocently from another man first of all a bottle of nitro-glycerine, which he buried, and had afterwards accepted innocently from the same man a number of bombs—and that at a time when a great deal of dynamite was about. That is a representation I am quite unable to accept. If that had been the true story, is it possible that he should not so have said to the jury? But that is not all. Ever since that time, although he has had every opportunity of making that statement, Daly has never done so.
§ MR. p. O'BRIEN
I must remind the right hon. Gentleman that Daly did say that he knew where the information came from, but that he would not say who the person was.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
That is just what I have been saying. That statement of Daly's referred not to an agent provocateur, but to an informer. It showed that Daly suspected there was some informer who had told the Government what sort of transactions he was engaged in. I think most people will see that if Daly had a suspicion or a belief that those things had been given to him, not to be used by himself, but for a friend, at some time or other he would have said so. But until that suggestion was carried to him through the letter of Alderman Manton, Daly during five or six years never made that suggestion himself. All I can say is that, whether it was a political or an ordinary crime, I should never stand in the way of a prisoner having the justice of his conviction or his punishment inquired into. On the contrary, I would do everything to promote inquiry. I have been engaged in many such inquiries myself, and I 1178 understand that the Secretary of State has made such an inquiry. He has every means of doing so, and his connection with Birmingham would give him special facilities. That was a Birmingham case. Birmingham was the very focus of the dynamite conspiracy. It was in Birmingham that Whitehead manufactured enormous quantities of dynamite—enough to have blown a great part of the town to pieces. Daly was living there, in the metropolis of dynamite; and, really, when the hon. Member for Wexford asks us to believe that it is possible that a man in Daly's position, living where he did, and being what he was, could have accepted bombs and not have known what they were and what they were intended for, I confess I cannot arrive at the same conclusion. I do not know that I can usefully add anything more to what the Secretary of State has said. The Resolution which stands upon the Paper in the names of the hon. Member for Cork and the hon. Member for Wexford, namely, that persons who were properly tried and convicted of such offences as this would be sufficiently punished by six years' imprisonment, is one in which I cannot concur.
§ (7.48.) MR. CUNNINGHAME GRAHAM (Lanark, N.W.)
I wish to say a word or two on this question, because I consider I have a duty to discharge in regard to it. I was returned to Parliament by Irish votes, simply because I was "Mr. Parnell's candidate." There are some Members on the Benches near me who seem to have drunk mandragora, and to have forgotten that they were returned to this House simply as voting machines for the Member for Cork. For my part, I have not cultivated a Cork or even a Limerick brogue in order to endear myself to an English constituency; but I have never for a moment forgotten that I was given a seat in this House in order that I might take part in the discussion of Irish affairs. I notice that the Party which has made so much political capital out of their alliance with Irishmen has not been rising like trout at May-flies to take part in this discussion. I am not astonished at the remarkable silence of hon. Gentlemen on this side of the House, nor even at the high old crusted speech of the right hon. Gentleman the ex-Home Secretary. I have always noticed that on occasions 1179 such as this the row of political mandrakes who usually occupy the Front Opposition Bench are conspicuous by their absence. If there really is a union of hearts and hands at all, it is between the Front Opposition Bench and the Government in refusing to do anything effective for Ireland. It seems to me that a very sufficient case has been made out in regard to the motives which actuated Daly. Several hon. Members referred to statements made by Daly before the jury, and it has been admitted that he was neither bloodthirsty nor mean, because he was ready to take the faults of his associate upon himself. Let me remind hon. Members that on his trial Daly said that as he was a man beyond hope of mercy—and at that moment certainly he was face to face with what might well have seemed to him eternal doom—he was not an assassin, and would not indiscriminately destroy life. Surely, words spoken under such circumstances might be believed to be true. Hon. Members may not be influenced by such language, but as one sent to this House by the votes of Irishmen, I consider it my duty to vote on this occasion, not in favour of releasing these convicts and throwing them upon the country without restraint, but merely in favour of ordering additional inquiry into the conduct of men which was rash and criminal perhaps, but which, if crime can be expiated, has been expiated by the misery of the seven years they have passed through, and which has entitled them to our sympathy.
§ *(8.2.) MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)
I feel very strongly the responsibility of the vote I have made up my mind to give, and I ask the House, therefore, to allow me to state my reasons for it. I think it is to be regretted that much of the Debate has been wide of the Amendment, which simply recommends a policy of clemency. Reasons have been urged which have gone, for the most part, to the Tightness of the conviction. On that part of the case I do not entertain much doubt. I listened carefully to the arguments advanced with a view of impugning the finding of the jury in the cases of Daly and Egan, and it seemed to me that the answer of the Home Secretary was conclusive. There is no doubt that Daly, at all events, had the control of explosive materials which were to be used unjustifiably. 1180 As to Egan, I am in more doubt. It seems to me he was rightly convicted of treason-felony, although it is not certain he was cognisant of the particular and nefarious way in which the treason-felony was to be accomplished. In these circumstances, it was the duty of any Home Secretary to prosecute with an unsparing hand, and I do not blame the conduct of either the present Home Secretary or his predecessor. The conduct of the police is free from anything like grave suspicion. No doubt it is a serious matter that Chief Inspector Farndale should have entertained the suspicions he did, and probably many people in Liverpool were desirous of assisting the police to get a conviction, but, on the whole, it seems to ma the conduct of the police is free from anything like grave suspicion. But these points do not dispose of the Motion. As the right hon. Member for Derby said, attempts at murder are not made less heinous because they are dictated by political considerations. But I belong to the Party which affirms that at that time crime and outrage seemed to be the only means of attracting attention to the grievances of Ireland, and that these acts were committed under circumstances of immense provocation. I am satisfied that it did seem so to a large number of people; but, still, it was the duty of the responsible Government none the less to prosecute the offenders. Now, however, these men have been in prison seven years; one, at least, has suffered much; and he has shown generosity towards his associate in crime. I should be sorry to lay down that, as a general rule, prisoners in this position should meet with exceptional clemency; but, taking into account the political provocation, that Daly was a man who was known and respected among his comrades in Fenian circles, some of them, like Mr. Davitt, high-minded men—a circumstance which may not be altogether irrelevant to the question whether his case ought not to be considered just now—and that we have entered on a policy of pacification towards Ireland—for the Chief Secretary is engaged in carrying out what he believes to be such a policy—I feel that it is desirable to show the people of Ireland that we are seeking to draw them closer to us by granting the inquiry asked for in this case. I 1181 therefore feel myself bound to support this Motion.
§ (8.11.) MR. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
I shall, as on a former occasion, vote in favour of further inquiry, because I believe it is desired with practical unanimity by the Irish people. What is asked is not private inquiry by the Secretary of State, but such inquiry as will carry conviction one way or the other that justice has at length been done. It seems to me to be bad policy, and contrary to the view that Ireland should be governed according to Irish ideas, to refuse this persevering and strong demand for inquiry made by the Irish Members on behalf of the Irish nation.
§ (8.13.) MR. W. McARTHUR (Cornwall, St. Austell)
I have never voted on a similar Resolution before, and it is quite impossible for me now to give a silent vote. I agree very largely with the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Haddingtonshire. I confess, apart altogether from the question of general clemency being extended to quasi-political prisoners, and without any intention of going into the merits of the trial of Daly and Egan, a suspicion has been aroused in my mind by the remarks of the hon. Member for Wexford. I am not a lawyer, and perhaps that suspicion is wrong. I should be the last man to argue that these men were not properly convicted, or that if they were properly convicted they did not deserve their sentences. But knowing nothing of the case until I came into the House, and having had a suspicion aroused in my mind by the hon. Member's speech that in the case of Daly evidence might have been got up against him, I should like to point out that it is quite possible a similar suspicion prevails outside the House, and when that is the case it is in the interests of justice and of the stability of the law that an inquiry should be granted. Great injury would be done to the cause of justice, both here and in Ireland, if a suspicion were allowed to prevail that these men did not get a fair trial, and I therefore hope that the Government will see their way to granting this inquiry. If they do not, I shall have to vote for the Motion.
§ (8.18.) MR. O'KELLY (Roscommon, N.)
I think that after this Debate persons outside this House will regard with suspicion the conviction of Mr. 1182 Daly. The point which I conceive the country will require an answer upon is whether it is true that the man who supplied Daly with these explosives was in the employ of the police. There are several points upon which the Home Secretary has given the House no information. There is no explanation as to why M'Dermott, who was really the agent provocateur, and who was undoubtedly in the pay of the Government, has not been prosecuted. It was the right hon. Member for Derby who made use of that man, and the attitude that the right hon. Gentleman has taken up is certainly peculiar from a Liberal point of view. Will he tell us what he knows about M'Dermott? He is very much startled and horrified that men use these explosives and weapons of violence in the dissemination of political ideas, but I am old enough to remember when Orsini threw the bombs in Paris, and when he was protected by this country, on the ground that it was a political act. Yet hundreds of men were killed and maimed by that act. Again, there are Members of this House who did not hesitate to support Stepniak, a confessed murderer. It is only when these acts are directed against yourselves that they become crimes. It is time you put aside this hypocrisy. The men whose case we are discussing are the political opponents of both Governments. If Her Majesty's Government desire to carry out a policy of conciliation they will do well not to follow the advice of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby. It would be better to follow the course that has been indicated from the Irish Benches. The crimes, if crimes they were, were committed under political impulses, in times of great excitement and exasperation; and if the Government want to put an end to the struggle which has been going on, they had better follow out a policy of conciliation. They will act much more wisely by showing mercy than a desire for vengeance, when the reason for that vengeance has entirely passed away. (8.2.5.)
§ (9.1.) The House divided:—Ayes 96; Noes 39.—(Div. List, No. 413.)
§ Main Question again proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ (9.7.) COLONEL NOLAN (Galway, N.)
I desire to say a few words on an important subject, which I have found a 1183 difficulty in bringing forward during the Session—the question of the appropriation of £1,500,000 for free education in England without any corresponding sum being allotted to Ireland. In England for the next six months the children of the labourers, and of those who desire it, will receive a free education, while the same classes in Ireland for the same, and, under certain contingencies, for a much longer, period will continue the payment of school pence. I am glad that the poor in England get that advantage, but I protest against the unequal treatment which denies a similar advantage to Ireland. The Government are much to blame. When they brought in the Bill for free education in England they should have made some provision for the exceptional state of affairs in Ireland, and for applying a certain portion of the money to the needs of primary education there in the interim. The schoolmasters of Ireland are very much worse paid than schoolmasters in England, and yet the Government propose to leave the Irish schoolmasters unaided for the next six months. True, the Chief Secretary has promised a Bill for Ireland next Session, but the affairs of next Session are yet in the clouds, and many things may happen to divert public attention from this subject, and the schoolmasters of Ireland may remain underpaid, and the poorest parents in Ireland be still required to pay school pence. Closely connected with this subject is the general question of the proportion of distribution of Imperial funds in the two countries. This has been notably forced on our attention in the past year by the application, for the second time, of a principle adopted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. The right hon. Gentleman has laid down a principle of distribution in the grants in aid to Poor Law Unions in the three countries. When he did this for the first time, two or three years ago, I vainly protested against it, and the principle was not well understood; and now, for the second time, we have had the same principle of distribution applied—a principle evolved from the brain of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and resting, so far as I can see, upon no substantial basis. The right hon. Gentleman has never stated the basis upon which he makes the distribution. He only says the Treasury accounts have been 1184 gone into, and this is the conclusion he arrives at; but he has never given us any facts or arguments to show the justice of the proportion. It is a question both of principle and detail. I deny that England, Scotland, and Ireland are so divided that there ought to be made any difference between the countries in allotting any sum of money, but, if there is any difference to be made, it should be in favour of the poorest country. I leave Scotland out of consideration, as the amount allotted there does not materially affect Ireland, and I have not much knowledge of the circumstances as they affect Scotland. But I deny that the three countries are so constituted that you should set up separate Exchequers. If you restore to us our Parliament, taken from us by fraud, and almost by violence, then it would be just to have a separate Exchequer, and we might fairly enter into an arrangement by which the proceeds of the Imperial Exchequer might be divided; but the principle of the Chancellor of the Exchequer is different, and it has been somehow smuggled into the House and rests on no historical basis; it is absolutely new and unfair. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has not considered all the facts of the case; he sees the thing through his own peculiar spectacles. He says that a large amount of taxation is paid in England and a small amount in Ireland, but he does not make clear the principle of his distribution. What is the basis on which the right hon. Gentleman has made this distribution? The population of each country, or the amount of taxation collected in each, would be a rough-and-ready method on which to proceed. But the Chancellor of the Exchequer has allotted the money, and left it to the Irish Members to prove their case. That is a very difficult position to place us in. Take it upon population or upon taxation, the share Ireland receives should be larger than is proposed; of the two methods taxation would be best for Ireland, but I am quite willing to base it upon population. The taxation of Ireland is, roughly speaking, something over£8,000,000, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer gives Ireland credit only for £6,300,000, and, of course, that makes an enormous difference in the amount of the contribution we receive. But the argument of the right hon. 1185 Gentleman, and I am sorry to say he is supported by the Secretary to the Treasury, is that a large amount of taxation is collected in Ireland on Guinness's stout and Irish whisky, and that these being drunk in England the taxation ought to be credited to England and not to Ireland. I allow that, while von cheat us in the division on the one hand, you provide us with funds for light railways on the other hand—such is your inconsistency. A good deal of money is raised in England on Irish porter and whisky which is looked upon as English revenue, instead of giving the benefit to the poorer country. I object to that principle, because it is creating a distinction between the two countries, and creating two Exchequers. Thus you are giving Ireland the disadvantages of Home Rule without its advantages. It is totally impossible to keep accounts fairly between the two countries, even with the best intentions on the part of the Treasury. True, you may find out how much of the whisky taxation is paid in Ireland, and how much of that goes to England, but it becomes more complicated when whisky is sent from Scotland in bond. I deny that you can follow all the taxation which ought to be credited to Ireland and which is collected in England. Small parcels of tea, and many other articles of commerce, are sent from England to Ireland in the ordinary way of trade, and even by parcel post, making up a considerable amount in the aggregate. Wines are often sent duty paid to Ireland, the duty being paid in England, but refunded by consumers in Ireland. Mortgagees draw their resources from Ireland, spend their money, and pay taxation in England; I do not mean Income Tax, but the taxation collected on Exciseable goods. It is totally impossible, with the various ramifications between the countries, to keep accounts square. Even supposing the Treasury accounts could be kept in the best possible manner, I should distrust the Treasury officials. There is a specific instance of what I mean. Some years ago—1883 or 1884—I moved for and obtained a Return showing how much money was collected and spent in Ireland by the Imperial Government, and this Return showed, I think, that £8,300,000 was the amount collected in Ireland. Then in 1886 the Home Rule Bill was brought in, and the Government at that time in power 1186 were anxious to show the contributions in the largest possible figures, and brought in a duplication of my Return. If you give an order to the Treasury they can manipulate the Return. In any large business—and, of course, the business of the Imperial Exchequer is a large one—a difference of 2 or 3 per cent. on one side or the other can be made in any Department—balancing it in some other Department—without making the account incorrect. It is manifest that a very careful account indeed would have to be made out, in order to show how much a certain article costs. As a rule, a manufacturer does not exactly know the precise cost of each article he makes, but balances one branch of business with another, so as to show a profit. What I have stated is only a small and very trifling part of the Irish financial grievance; but I only bring it forward because we are now between two acts of injustice, namely, the method in which the money granted in connection with the Poor Law has been debated, and the manner in which the education grant has been dealt with this year without debate. We have had no opportunity of pointing out how the sum has been unfairly allocated this year, and how the arrangement has been summarily enforced without debate. I have been obliged to bring this question forward at this late period of the Session on the Appropriation Bill. I consulted the Chairman of Committees, and found that it would be difficult to bring it on on the Irish Estimates; and I believe that if I had consulted you, Sir, you would have said that there was no Vote on Report of Supply on which I could have dealt with the matter. That is my excuse, and I maintain it is not a magnanimous thing of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to use his great majority in order to take a sum of money away from the poorer country, and not thoroughly to state in the House not only the principles, but the details of his plan, so that they may be properly discussed. I do not think that either the Chancellor of the Exchequer or the Secretary to the Treasury can find a precedent for what has been done. Can either of them point to such a state of things existing in any other European country? Does any other European country give money for education to any portion of its people according to 1187 their contribution towards the Revenue? Is there any other country in which there are not separate Legislatures where the richer and more powerful part of the country keeps up a financial distinction between itself and the poorer parts? Of course, there are countries who may treat their colonies in this way—as we used to do when we tried to get as much money out of them as possible. I maintain that if any system of accounts is adopted it should have for a basis the allocation of money according to the system of taxation adopted; and if a correct system of that kind is to be adopted in the case of Ireland, she should be allowed independent representation in the Treasury.
§ (9.42.) THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR, Manchester, E.)
The hon. and gallant Gentleman says he has brought forward this subject on the Appropriation Bill because he found it impossible to bring it forward on any Vote, but I think that in that he is mistaken. It seems to me that he might have brought it forward at some stage of the Estimates.
§ COLONEL NOLAN
No; the subject comprises many different Votes. Certainly I might have brought it forward piecemeal on about 10 different Votes.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Well, I do not desire to pursue that point any further. The hon. and gallant Gentleman appears to think that the Chancellor of the Exchequer has done great injustice to Ireland in not treating it in the same way as England. He seems to think that what the Chancellor of the Exchequer ought to do is to give Ireland the amount of money which she would be entitled to if her share of the public revenue were estimated according to population alone. But that would not be treating Ireland on a system financially identical with that of England. The real reason why Ireland cannot be treated identically with England is the same as the reason why Scotland cannot be treated identically with England, namely, that different Acts are required for the two countries, and that in certain important respects the financial arrangements of the two countries are not identical. If, for example, you have to deal with Irish education, it cannot be treated in the same Bill with English education, because Irish education is managed in a manner widely different 1188 from the former. All that can be done is to find some rough-and-ready means by which you can arrive at the share which the two countries have in common. To take, for instance, the question of free education. The sum of 10s. is approximately equivalent to the fees paid by the English parent; but if you are to carry out as near as may be the principles which the hon. and gallant Gentleman thinks proper to the condition of Ireland, there would require to be allocated to Irish purposes a sum which would approximately cover the sum paid by the Irish parent in the name of fees.
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
Not a bit of it. If you were to find a fee grant corresponding in the case of Ireland to the fee grant for England, Ireland would not only not gain in the transaction, but would lose enormously. The principle adopted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer is one far more beneficial to Ireland than the one which would logically follow from the hon. and gallant Gentleman's argument. The hon. and gallant Gentleman appears to think that population is a fair basis. I do not think it is. Surely the contributions to public funds and the money received from public funds are a fairer basis than mere population. But with regard to this subject the Chancellor of the Exchequer has prepared a very elaborate Report, which will in due course be laid before the House, dealing in detail with the numerous questions which the hon. and gallant Gentleman has raised. More than that, a Committee was asked for by the hon. Member for West Belfast and granted by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, but for some reason or other—not for any reason connected at all with the wishes and intentions and views of the Government—the Committee has never been set to work, and we have not been able to thresh out the question. Under these circumstances, it occurs to me that to attempt to discuss in detail upon the Appropriation Bill the accuracy or inaccuracy of the apportionment which the Chancellor of the Exchequer has arrived at is to ask the House to discuss what it has not the material to discuss. If the House is disposed to criticise the figures, the only way to do so is by a Select Committee. 1189 That Committee will, I hope, sit next Session, and I would strongly recommend the hon. and gallant Gentleman to reserve criticism upon the subject until the Select Committee shall have been able to report. With regard to an Education Bill, he appears to think that we ought to have brought in and passed a measure dealing with the complicated and difficult subject of Irish education this Session. He says we might have passed a temporary measure, but I have, in reply to questions addressed to me in the House, explained my objection to that. If we once allotted money to any interest the difficulty of re-distributing that money would be almost overwhelming. If the teachers in Ireland had been given a portion of this money, that distribution could not have been altered, and the Government would not have had the money behind as an inducement to the House to pass a Bill dealing with the important question of Irish education next Session. Desirous as I am of seeing this question settled, I should have been perfectly insane had I parted with the bribe by which I hope to induce many hon. Gentlemen to agree with that Bill.
§ (9.52.) MR. SEXTON (Belfast, W.)
I would point out to the right hon. Gentleman that it is not our fault if we have not seen the Returns so long since promised by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I am inclined to agree with the right hon. Gentleman that in the absence of the Return to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred, an exhaustive or even a useful Debate upon so difficult, detailed, and complicated a question as the Imperial taxation of Ireland can scarcely be had upon this occasion. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Galway has been so long awaiting this opportunity of expressing his views that I have no doubt he has carefully considered the subject. Yet I would invite him to re-consider the view that the population of Ireland as compared with that of England can be made an equitable basis of taxation.
§ MR. SEXTON
But the hon. and gallant Member must see that he will have to take it both ways; and that if population is to be the basis for abatement, you must make it also the basis for taxation.
§ MR. SEXTON
It would be impossible to establish one rule for the basis of taxation and another rule for the reduction of grants. It is a perfectly conceivable thing that a country may be sparsely populated, and yet able to boar taxation; and, on the other hand, it is clear that—as was the case in Ireland during the famine period—a country may be very thickly populated, and yet be unable to bear any taxation at all. In fact, such is the condition of Ireland that the fact that there is an extensive population in some districts, known as the congested districts, so far from being a reason for taxation, is rather a reason for relief from taxation. If the theory were correct that population should be taken as the basis of taxation, at the time of the Union of Ireland and Great Britain, Ireland, which then had 5,000,000 of population, whilst England had only 10,000,000, would have been responsible for something like one-third or one-fourth of the taxation of the united Kingdom. That fact alone is sufficient to dispose of the theory of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. Bat I agree with the hon. and gallant Gentleman that it is not just to proceed, as the Treasury do year by year, in estimating the revenue of Ireland. I found from the close and careful study I gave last year to the Return of the 7th May regarding the incidence of taxation that wherever I could light upon any ground of presumption that presumption was upon the side of the more powerful partner, the benefit being always to England, and the prejudice going to Scotland or Ireland. It may appear by-and-bye, when we get our Committee, that my conclusion is not well founded. I hold that the judgment of Mr. Giffen is sound. That gentleman looked into the matter, and formed the opinion that, having regard to the relative capacities of the two countries, Ireland should pay 4½ per cent. of the Imperial taxation instead of 9 per cent. The hon. and gallant Gentleman (Colonel Nolan) appears to think that Ireland has lost something by the postponement of the education grant, but I can assure him that the contrary is the case. If the Chief Secretary had dealt with this grant in a temporary way, as he himself declared it would have been, by way of applying it to the Reserve Fund under the Land Purchase Act, how would the 1191 hon. and gallant Member have liked that?
§ MR. SEXTON
The money would have been lost to Ireland for ever. I am, therefore, glad that the right hon. Gentleman postponed dealing with the matter until next Session. The right hon. Gentleman has now pledged himself to give the money to free education. He has promised to bring in a Bill for the purpose. If the matter had been dealt with this year, we should only have had the limited opportunity afforded by the Vote in Supply of discussing the question. In that way it would only have been possible to raise one Debate. Now, however, the right hon. Gentleman has bound himself to proceed with the matter by means of a Bill. We shall next year, therefore, have the opportunity of discussing the principle of the right hon. Gentleman's proposal on the Second Reading of the measure, and in Committee we shall have the opportunity of making alternative suggestions. During the progress of the Bill through the House the Irish teachers, and those interested in education in Ireland, will have an opportunity of examining the question in all its bearings. They will have gained by the postponement. Before I sit down I would repeat again the disappointment I have experienced, owing to the failure of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to carry out his promise to appoint a Select Committee to consider the financial relations of the three portions of the United Kingdom. He made that promise last year in the Budget Debate, but the rest of that Session and the whole of the present Session have passed, and nothing has been done. It is no excuse to say that one Welsh Member, or a section of the Welsh Members, desire Wales to be included in the inquiry. When the right hon. Gentleman assented to the inquiry he knew very well that it would be in the power of any group of Members, or any one Member, to stop the Committee being appointed if the Motion were brought on after 12 o'clock at night. He should have provided for that contingency, and, by not doing so, I maintain that he has not kept his promise. Pending the appointment of the Committee, the right hon. Gentleman has been preparing material for its consideration when appointed, and some time ago he promised us that this material 1192 should be submitted to the House. We have not yet received it, although we have nearly arrived at the last day of the Session. This is probably the last day on which I shall address the House this year, and the last word I shall say will be to express regret that, in addition to the great and inexcusable delay in the appointment of the Committee promised two years ago by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, there has been further delay in circulating the information which the right hon. Gentleman has obtained on the question.
§ MR. W. A. MACDONALD
I regret that an Irish Education Bill has not been introduced this Session, so that we might have had time to consider it in the recess. The subject is one of very great complexity, many interests are involved, and therefore the Bill ought to have been introduced in order that the country might have had plenty of time to consider it before next Session. I understood that the right hon. Gentleman had pledged himself to give us that opportunity.
§ *(10.1.) THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER (Mr. GOSCHEN, St. George's, Hanover Square)
I have only one or two words to say in reply to the hon. Member for West Belfast. He must be aware that during a great portion of the Session the Irish Members, and others who are specially interested in Irish affairs, have been so occupied with the Land Purchase Bill that it would have been almost impossible for them to consider in Committee the question of the financial relations between the two countries. Since then, although there has been a desire expressed to proceed with the inquiry, the appointment of the Committee has, as is well known, been frustrated by the action of the Members from Wales. The hon. Member asks why the Government have not produced the materials which have been collected in anticipation of the discussion of the subject. The reason is that we have thought it wise to wait until the Returns can be absolutely complete. The materials now collected relate to the years 1889–1890 and 1890–1891. We thought it well to wait for the information for the year 1891–1892, which will comprise the results of the new census and the Estimates for the current year. The information will, therefore, be quite up to 1193 date. The Government have desired that the Return should be prepared with all the impartiality of statisticians, and without bias in any direction. The He-turns will, therefore, be presented by the Department concerned without the slightest desire to establish any particular case.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Bill read a second time, and committed for to-morrow.