Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £2,764, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1895, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Household of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.
MR. T. W. EUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
said, it had been arranged with the Secretary to the Treasury that the Votes for the Chief Secretary's Office, the Local Government Board, and the Constabulary should betaken that day, and he did not think the House should be asked to take this Vote now without notice.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MORLEY,) Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Notice was given last night 1548 that we should take this Vote as the first Order of the Day, and there was no notice of any Amendments put down.
*MR. T. W.RUSSELL
said, the reason no notice of Amendment was put down was that the Secretary to the Treasury had made an arrangement that only the three Votes he had mentioned should be taken. Of course, if he had known that the Vote for the Lord Lieutenant's Household would be taken he should have put down an Amendment. He hoped, under these circumstances, the Vote would not be taken.
§ MR. SEXTON (Kerry, N.)
thought that a non-contentious Vote like this would not have been objected to, and he would like to ask what was in connection with the Lord Lieutenant's Household that the hon. Gentleman, as a member of the Unionist Party, objected to? Did the hon. Member object to there being a Lord Lieutenant in Ireland, and, if he did not, did he object to the Lord Lieutenant's Household being paid? Surely the hon. Gentleman would see that the taking of this Vote did not substantially interfere with the arrangement that had been made, and that it might be allowed to pass.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
did not object to the payment of the Lord Lieutenant's Household, but thought that only the Votes with regard to which an arrangement had been made should be discussed.
§ MR. SEXTON
I am not defending this Vote, but I do not think that the taking of it now will interfere with the arrangements that certain Votes should be discussed. Nobody, not even the hon. Member himself, anticipated that this Vote would require discussion, and therefore I submit that the arrangement would be substantially carried out if this Vote were taken.
§ SIR J. T. HIBBERT
said, it was quite true that an arrangement with regard to these Votes had been come to, but the Chief Secretary wished to get this and another Vote through, and as he presumed they were not contentious he agreed. He did not see how that could interfere with the arrangement at all. It was quite true he did agree with the hon. Member for South Tyrone to put down these three Votes.
§ MR. CARSON (Dublin University)
said, hon. Members had prepared their facts with regard to the particular Vote for the Chief Secretary's salary. Surely 1549 it was a breach of faith to insist that another Vote should be taken. He did not know whether the Vote for the Lord Lieutenant's Household was contentious or not, but at any rate hon. Members had a right to criticise or discuss it.
MR. J. MOKLEY
Hon. Gentlemen are making a very bad start with the afternoon's discussion. I assumed that the Vote would meet with no resistance; but if I am told by the hon. and learned Gentleman and the Member for South Tyrone that serious objection is to be taken to the substance of the Vote, I will advise its withdrawal. Are we to understand that serious Amendments are to be moved to the Vote, or is the Vote non-contentious?
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said, strictly speaking, the Vote was non-contentious, but it had always been open to discussion, and he wished for time to consider the Vote. If it had come within the arrangement made with the Secretary to the Treasury he should have been ready to discuss it if he had thought discussion necessary. But he objected to the Government seeking to take a Vote not included in the arrangement, and about which there might be discussion. It seemed to him that it was the Government who were beginning the day badly.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
I do not want to be a party to wasting the time of the Committee. If the hon. Gentleman takes up the position that this Vote ought to be seriously and abundantly discussed, so be it.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
I will, under the circumstances, advise the postponement of the Vote, and, in order to test the sincerity of the speeches made by the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite and the Member for South Tyrone, I will await with curiosity the observations and Amendments which they may think fit to bring before the Committee when the Vote comes on again.
§ MR. CARSON
desired to say a word with reference to the temper the Chief Secretary had shown thus early in the day. He did not care whether the right hon. Gentleman had curiosity as to what took place on the future stages of the Vote. He had not the slightest objection to the right hon. Gentleman having that curiosity if it amused him. His point 1550 was this: The Government had agreed to put down certain Votes for that day. These Votes had been looked into, and no others. For some reason or other it had been proposed to rush through the Vote for the Lord Lieutenant's Household at the commencement of the Sitting. He must refuse to discuss a Vote which did not come within the arrangement made. He said nothing as to the discussion which might take place on the Lord Lieutenant's Vote later on. It might be that there would be none, but the Committee had a right to look into that Vote and scrutinise it if necessary.
§ Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
2. Motion made, and Question proposed,
That a sum, not exceeding £27,715, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1895, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Offices of the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant in Dublin and London, and Subordinate Departments.
§ *MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER (Belfast, W.)
said, he was glad the Government had given them the opportunity of discussing the administration of the Chief Secretary in Ireland at that period, though he could have wished that a better day had been given for the purpose. He was aware that they had from time to time discussions on the administration of the law in Ireland, and it had been said that those discussions had no result. In one sense that was true. The Unionists had not succeeded in altering the policy which was responsible for that administration of the law. That, of course, would not be attained until they had forced the present Administration out of Office. But they had succeeded in doing all that they had anticipated they would be able to do in calling attention from time to time to what was going on in Ireland under the present Administration; and they had made it absolutely certain that it should not be quoted against Unionists that they had, without protest, acquiesced in that administration and the results that had followed from it. In criticising the administration of the Chief Secretary they were brought face to face with two important facts—first, that if there was peace in Ireland, that peace, to the extent to which it existed, was being purchased at too large a sacri- 1551 fice of principle; and, secondly, that the concession made by Her Majesty's Government, in order to secure it that peace, was breaking down. There was a general belief that material facts as to the real condition of Ireland at present had been withheld, though perhaps not intentionally by the Government. Undoubtedly there were things taken place in Ireland now, and had been taking place during the last few months, of which the country was unaware, and which the country would certainly gravely object to if they came to its knowledge; and so far as the Unionists were able they intended to put those facts before the country. They were led to believe that there was at present a serious recrudescence of a certain kind of crime in Ireland which was likely to become more serious in the future. That recrudescence of crime had taken place for two reasons. It arose because, in the first place, the right hon. Gentleman's Irish colleagues had intimated that it was necessary that there should be such a recrudescence. One of these gentlemen stated that "the vile grabber was again holding his head erect and stalking through the land worse than ever." That meant that the Queen's subjects in Ireland were carrying out their own wishes under the law, irrespective of the dictation of certain illegal or quasi- legal Associations. Persons were taking evicted farms in Ireland, as they had a perfect legal right to do, and they all knew that that offence, as it was called, was punishable by all the penalties of the Land League code. He proposed to show later on that these penalties were being enforced. The increase of crime arose also from the fact that there was a reluctance or inability on the part of the Executive Government to interfere with and check that crime. He did not make that statement solely on his own responsibility. They had the definite authority of the Member for East Mayo for that statement. That hon. Member had declared that if it were possible for a man to live on an evicted farm the fault was wholly and entirely on the side of the men who wished to turn him out, and was in no sense attributable to the Government or the Chief Secretary; that, in fact, if pressure—illegal pressure—was not brought to bear to turn the man out of the holding which he had legally got, it was not the Government that prevented 1552 it, but it had not been applied by the people themselves. He thought this was a matter the House had a right to take serious notice of. Here was the Member for East Mayo—a person well acquainted with the counsels of the Government, and well able to influence the counsel of the Government—stating at public meetings that the only thing which stood between the occupants of evicted farm* and the exercise of this terrible social tyranny was the want of will to apply it on the part of the people themselves. They had, the other day, the clear statement of the Chief Secretary that those who-incited to or joined in boycotting were guilty of an illegal act. He wished to show that that illegal act was taking place day after day and week after week in Ireland; that the persons taking part in it were the supporters in the House and outside the House of the right hon. Gentleman, and that it was committed without any protest by any responsible Member of the Government, and that there was a practical immunity from punishment of the persons that took part in those illegal acts. He was sure that the Committee did not realise the character and the amount of those offences. Of course, the information he had at his disposal could not be as complete as the information of the Chief Secretary; though he was bound to say that, in some recent cases of outrage to which the attention of the House had been called, the facts produced by himself and his friends were undoubtedly more correct than the facts of the Chief Secretary, and that his facts gave a totally different impression of those outrages from that which the right hon. Gentleman had conveyed to the House. He had made what inquiries he could, but of course his inquiries must be imperfect, and there must be many cases of crime that escaped his notice. With regard to the cases that had come under his own observation during the last two months, he found there had been in one district no less than 37 cases of assault on persons and damage to property, the persons assaulted and the property damaged being of the class which had been made the subject of denunciation by hon. Members opposite. He found that, concurrently with these cases, there had been no less than 45 cases of denunciation of persons by name, and in the great majority of cases these 1553 denunciations had been accompanied in the same district by outrages.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
I must ask the hon. Member to state particularly the districts he refers to, otherwise it will be impossible for me to answer him.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
said, the majority of the cases in question occurred in the Counties of Cork, Kerry, Limerick, and Clare. As a rule, he had not prosecuted his researches beyond those counties. Ho should like to give some idea of the offences which had been committed. Houses had been attacked and broken into; servants had been ordered to leave a house; a house had been burned; horses maliciously wounded; two bullocks killed; eight head of cattle poisoned. He did not think it was necessary for his argument that he should go through the entire list of outrages, but he should like to notice the denunciations of which those outrages were the outcome. Here was a specimen of the kind of denunciation which was indulged in week after week in Ireland, and of which outrage was the natural outcome—A little active boycotting, a refusal on the part of shopkeepers to supply him with food, would bring him to his senses.That was a deliberate incitement to bring a man to his senses by the method of starvation. The Very Rev. Canon Doyle referred to a man who had taken an evicted farm as "a loathsome creature," and denounced people who walked and drank with him; and the remarks of the rev. gentleman were quoted at a meeting in Limerick as an illustration of the manner in which another individual who had taken an evicted farm in that county should be treated. The Chairman of the Limerick Poor Law Guardians called on the people openly to boycott a named individual, and to have no communication with him. In another case the people were advised by a rev. gentlemanneither to borrow nor lend, talk nor walk with these land-grabbers in a word, to make it hot for them.It had been suggested that the meetings in connection with which such denunciations were published did not actually take 1554 place. It was quite true that there were newspapers in Ireland with so little sense of the honour of journalism as to publish meetings which never took place, but the denunciations, being published in the local newspapers, were just as effectual as if they were pronounced at public meetings. The Chief Secretary said it was impossible to interfere with the action of Boards of Guardians when they discussed boycotting resolutions. Elected Bodies, like the Guardians, in Ireland were using their power to assist in the performance of admittedly illegal acts; they put on the agendas of their meetings illegal resolutions, which were passed, entered on the minutes, and circulated in the local papers. The right hon. Gentleman, if he could do nothing else, might at least raise a protest against the practice, which amounted to a conspiracy against the Queen's subjects in Ireland. But no protest was made against these things by the Chief Secretary, who merely said that crime did not follow, and it was better to leave the matter alone. He denied that it was right to make such a surrender to illegal acts, and he also refused to admit that the denunciations of land-grabbing were not followed by actual crime, for as a matter of fact there had been a largo and serious outbreak of acts of violence in consequence. They had also got to remember that those denunciations were pronounced for one purpose, and one only—to enforce a code of law made up, not by Parliament, but by hon. Members opposite—and it was obvious they were more likely to be effective under this than under any previous Government, for the simple reason that the objects of those denunciations knew their chances of being supported by the Executive Government were nil, and that the sooner they surrendered the more likely they were to escape outrage. The Chief Secretary should not wait until crime was committed before he took action. But crime did follow those denunciations to a much larger extent than the Committee supposed. There was the case of the meeting at Tagoat, to which the attention of the Chief Secretary had been called. That meeting was held for the specific object of denouncing a particular individual by name; and he was denounced by name. A question was asked in the House about the meeting; and the Chief Secretary, in reply, stated that no one 1555 more regretted the bringing of the matter into the House than the man who had been denounced; but it was shown that the matter had been brought before the House at the express request of the man who had been denounced. It was then said that no crime had followed the denunciation. Instantly, the hon. Member for South Tyrone produced a letter which gave chapter and verse for the injuries which had been inflicted on the man in consequence of those denunciations. These were material matters on which the Chief Secretary was misinformed. It should be remembered also that the principal speaker at the meeting was a colleague of the right hon. Gentleman— an hon. Member who sat opposite, and who shared the Chief Secretary's views with regard to the Irish Question. He thought they ought to have a firm and strong protest from the Government against those things, and the hon. Member for East Mayo ought not to be in a position to say in Ireland that no objection was taken to those courses by the Chief Secretary. With regard to Clare, he had to say, that it was rather unfortunate that the pronouncement of the Judges with regard to that county had but little effect, and that the Chief Secretary had thought it his duty to say things of those Judge, which those who knew the Judges deeply regretted. One of them in particular, advanced in years, had carried his life in his hands in some districts in Ireland. [Cries of "Name!"] It was Mr. Justice O'Brien. ["No, no!"] Yes; and he still did so. Hon. Gentlemen said "no," but it was a well-known fact. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary knew what he was about when he sent policemen to protect the life of this Judge. It was unfortunate that these learned Judges should be spoken of in the House in the terms that the Chief Secretary had sometimes thought it his duty to adopt—as if things were not bad enough in Ireland without aggravating them in this way. Leaving out of account the Chief Secretary's remarks the condition of the County Clare was very bad, though the House was to a certain extent misled in the matter through the imperfect information of the Chief Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman had told them over and over again that the Crimes Act did nothing in the County of Clare; but there could not be a greater 1556 delusion. He (Mr. Arnold-Forster) challenged contradiction when he said that if the right hon. Gentleman applied to the Chief Constable of Ennis he would be able to get from him a list of some fourscore men who in consequence of the knowledge of the private inquiry clauses of the Crimes Act had quitted County Clare, and had remained away from that area a long time, if not permanently. It was idle to say that the Crimes Act had been without effect in County Clare. The right hon. Gentleman said that the figures of crime there were very low, and that, no doubt, was a very satisfactory state of things as compared with the state of things which prevailed eight or nine years ago. It should be pointed out, however, that the improvement had not been effected by the right hon. Gentleman. It was effected by the introduction of the Crimes Act. [_Laughter.] Hon. Gentlemen did not seem to accept the fact, but there was no doubt about it. The figures showed that crime in the county fell on the passing of the Act. He was delighted that the right hon. Gentleman had been enabled to maintain a low level of crime; but he should have been disappointed if that had not been the case, for the right hon. Gentleman had already told them he had had the assistance of the goodwill of those who previously committed crime. ["No, no!"] Well, he would withdraw that statement, and would substitute for it those who controlled crime. The reduction was not primarily or to any large extent due to the right hon. Gentleman. However it might be, law, as they understood it, did not exist in the county. It was "go as you please." They were carrying out the law of the National Federation in the county, and the people had to submit, but to suppose that people derived any protection from the law was an error. Within a certain period there had been 117 offences, five trials, and one conviction. Now he came to County Kerry, where they were told there was some sort of law prevailing. He had the other day questioned the Chief Secretary as to Sheriffs' seizures in County Kerry, and he had learnt that there had been seven seizures by the Sheriff, seven rescues, and seven failures to enforce justice. The rescues were accompanied with violence, in which policemen and others were struck with stones and had their heads cut, 1557 but, although cases were sent for trial, no conviction could be obtained. He regretted that the Government had not seen their way to prosecute for the violence as well as for the rescue. The fact remained that the enforcement of the law in the county was at a standstill. There could not be a greater percentage of failures of justice than a total failure of seven cases out of seven oases. In Cork there had been the horrible murder near Newmarket. That matter was sub judice, therefore he would not pursue it; but he would make this one remark. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that the murder was not popular in the neighbourhood and that it had been denounced by the parish priest. If he could hear of a priest lifting up his hand to do one Christian act for the protection of men who were hunted, persecuted, and whose life was made a burden to them, he would attach more value to priestly denunciations; but the denunciation did not come until a man had been murdered or crippled for life. They knew that in the town of Newmarket, three years ago, under a change of venue, two persons were convicted of brutally assaulting an old man, whom they nearly beat to death. The offence of this old man was exactly that for which the murder recently took place. The persons who committed the assault were tried, convicted, and sentenced to three years' penal servitude, and they came out of prison recently and returned to the town of Newmarket. They were received with acclamation, with bauds and torchlight processions, on their entry into the town. And what had happened? He had seen it stated that one of the persons who had been released had now been re-arrested in connection with the charge of murder.
§ MR. ARNOLD-FORSTER
said, that did not in the least touch his argument, which was that the only title to esteem which the men who had this popular reception possessed was that they had been guilty of exactly the same crime as that the Committee were asked to believe they so regretted and united to denounce. In the County of Limerick ho found that there had been a particularly large crop of cases of denunciation of individuals by name, and persons holding official positions had taken part in such 1558 denunciations. He would refrain from giving the names, but he had particulars of no fewer than 45 cases of denunciation of persons by name. In Limerick what hon. Members opposite foretold was coming true, and a deliberate attempt was being made to induce persons to refrain from carrying out their natural desire to take farms. He saw the other day a letter from a man, not in Limerick, but in a neighbouring county, who had taken a farm, paid a large premium, and had intended to hold the farm in perfect agreement with the tenant. An hon. Member, however, had gone down, organised a movement, and brought pressure to bear, and the man in his letter said that he had decided to give up the farm. The Committee knew perfectly well that people in Ireland would not care a snap of the fingers for the persuasion of hon. Members opposite if it were not perfectly well known that the organisations that were in existence had power to inflict penalties, and that they were inflicting penalties in cases of refusal to obey their orders. What did the Government do? As far as he could make out, absolutely nothing. There was no law in Kerry; there was no law in Clare. [Home Rule laughter.] There was certainly no law except such laws as hon. Members opposite chose to enforce. If hon. Members opposite allowed a case to be tried and adjudicated upon, no doubt it was adjudicated upon. He was fortified by the facts, and he repeated that there was no law in Kerry and no law in Clare. Very much the same thing might be said with regard to agrarian cases in Limerick and Cork. When they had the assurance of Members opposite that failure to enforce the law was part of the policy of Her Majesty's Government, what else could be expected? A man named O'Leary was released from gaol the other day. He had been sentenced to a long term of penal servitude because he had been found guilty of being connected with one of the most cruel and brutal murders that had taken place in Ireland for many years. He had now been released a year and one month before the time when his sentence expired. It would be ungracious for any Member to protest against the exercise of the prerogative of mercy under ordinary circumstances, but he thought that a more unsuitable time than the present could not have been found 1559 for the display of the clemency of the Crown. To say that the other persons who were sentenced at the same time had been released was no argument against the release of this man, inasmuch as he had been sentenced to a longer term than the rest because his offence was greater. He (Mr. Arnold-Forster) regretted that he had been released before his time. As to the pretence of the Chief Secretary for Ireland that he was doing something to protect people by enforcing his new Regulations with regard to the conduct of meetings, it was too absurd for argument. Meetings that were summoned for an illegal purpose and to do an illegal act were being held in Ireland. They were called to denounce individuals and to enforce the law of hon. Members opposite. If they were not illegal, of course the Government would have no right to interfere with them. The persons conducting these meetings were told that they were not to be held on the spot on which they were called, and then two policemen at the bead of a column of the persons attended, paced off step by step what was called a statutory mile of 1,760 yards, then, within view of the spot from which the procession started, the meeting was held. The whole thing was an absolutely crying absurdity. If it was wrong to hold the meeting at the place originally fixed, it did not make it a bit more right to go through the farce of transporting it to a spot a mile away. He knew how much the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. Morley) depended upon the support of hon. Gentlemen opposite; but he wished to know whether the result was to be that acts were to be committed which, according to the right hon. Gentleman's own statement, were illegal Acts, by men who were his supporters in the House of Commons, without a single word of protest either in or out of the House? If so, hon. Members were bound to come to the conclusion that the hon. Member for Mayo was right, and that there was an intention on the part of the Government to let matters slide until the end of this Administration; that they wished to have as little trouble as they possibly could, and to keep things as dark as they possibly could, so that they could go to the country and say later on, "We prophesy that you will have a great outburst of crime, but we have kept things so quiet during our time that you have heard 1560 nothing about crime in Ireland." He wanted the right hon. Gentleman to have an opportunity of saying what he thought of hon. Gentlemen opposite taking part, as they were doing all over the South and West of Ireland, in a series of illegal acts, and he therefore moved the reduction of the Vote by £2,000.
Motion made, and Question proposed,
That Item A, Salaries, be reduced by £2,000, in respect of the Salary of the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant."—(Mr. Arnold-Forster.)
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said, he rather regretted that he should have got into conflict with the Chief Secretary for Ireland (Mr. J. Morley) at the opening of the Sitting, as nothing had been further from his intention. He had come down to the House prepared, in the first place, to challenge the political side of the Chief Secretary's Department, and, in the second place, to raise two not unimportant points in connection with the subordinate Department of his Office. He had intended to refer to the Report of Drs. Courtney and O'Farrell respecting the Lunacy Department, and he had also proposed to raise a question respecting the alienation of £15,000 from the purposes of the Intermediate Education Board to the purpose of founding a Veterinary College. He would refer first to the question of breaches of the law. When the question was raised 12 months ago a rather curious circumstance occurred. On the 24th of August, 1893, a question was raised in the House as to the number of public meetings that had been suppressed in Ireland during the right hon. Gentleman's tenure of Office up to that date, and the Chief Secretary's reply was that 16 such meetings had been suppressed.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said that, as a matter of fact, some were suppressed and some were differently treated. If some of them had not been suppressed the right hon. Gentleman's language went the length of proving that they ought to have been suppressed outright. The Chief Secretary stated that 16 meetings had been interfered with since the 22nd of August, 1892, on the ground of anticipated intimidation in connection with evicted farms. Three weeks later, on the 14th of September, when the Vote for his Office was under discussion, the Chief Secretary for Ireland said— 1561It was said he suppressed 18 meetings. Those meetings were for, beyond all doubt, an illegal purpose.Well, a change suddenly came over the mind of the Chief Secretary in this matter. He seemed to have become rather sensitive about the charge of interfering with public meetings. In this he was totally unlike the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. A. J. Balfour), who had suppressed illegal meetings without a qualm of conscience, and had never varied in his conduct in regard to them, notwithstanding all the shafts that had been hurled at him from below the Opposition Gangway. The present Chief Secretary inaugurated a new method of procedure by making Rules for illegal meetings in Ireland. On the 24th of August, 1893, the Freeman's Journal contained a paragraph stating that Mr. John O'Dowd proceeded to a place in Sligo, lying "convenient to an evicted farm in East Mayo," for the purpose of organising a branch of the National Federation there. The police stated that any attempt to hold a meeting within a mile of the place would be prevented. This was the inauguration of what had come to be known in Ireland as "Morley's mile." Some of the things that occurred in Ireland were very comic, but he (Mr. T. W. Russell) thought that the most comical thing ever invented in Ireland was "Morley's mile." Another case was reported in The Freeman's Journal in February. It was stated that at a place near Lismore in Waterford a meeting was held near an evicted farm. The district officer of police refused to permit the meeting to be held within a mile of the farm. At a place three-quarters of a mile from the farm the procession was stopped. Mr. Flynn, M.P., came up and said—I want to know by what authority I am stopped—by whose authority do the police intend to prevent our holding a perfectly legal meeting?On being informed that the orders were from the Chief Secretary of Ireland, and that no meeting could be held there, they at once marched the gathering of people from Glencross to the town of Lismore, distant about a mile, where the meeting passed off undisturbed by any interference on the part of the police—a meeting which would have been absolutely illegal according to the Chief Secretary's own 1562 statement if held at Glencross. What could be more absurd than that a meeting absolutely illegal when held in one place became perfectly legal if held at a short distance. This was the view of the question taken by The Freeman's Journal, which declared that of all the absurd things in the way of effective reform that had been introduced by the Castle authorities, this proclamation was the most absurd that a meeting called for a particular and declared purpose should be considered as having been called for a legal or illegal purpose, solely upon the ground of where it was to be held. In an article that appeared in United Ireland, it was said that—Of course, the permanent officials were said to be the persons really responsible for the interference of the police, but, as a matter of fact, they all knew that they had acted on orders that had been given by the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland. What was his object in ordering the police to attend these meetings I Simply that the force might be ready at hand in order to assist the land-grabbers.He would mention another case where a meeting was convened in a private field adjoining an evicted farm situated near Limerick. There, again, the police interfered, and the people marched in order back again into the town, where they were allowed without further molestation to hold the meeting about a mile away as they wished. On another occasion the police interfered with a meeting held in the County of Cork. A force of police was present, under Mr. St. George and told them to "move on." Someone in the crowd realising the comical aspect of the situation, and struck by a "happy thought," suggested that, as they had to go "Morley's mile," they had better follow the example of the street preachers in Cork, and hold a moving meeting and keep talking all the time. The police then put the crowd into marching order, and they proceeded back to the town, getting the object of their meeting thoroughly discussed on their way there. [Laughter.] All this was, he agreed, exceedingly laughable. Why were these meetings prohibited? The Chief Secretary for Ireland said they could not be allowed, because they were called for the purpose of intimidation and boycotting. If that were the real ground on which they were objected to, how was their intimidating effect lessened by the fact that they 1563 were held in another spot only a mile distant? The whole thing, he submitted, was perfectly monstrous and absolutely absurd, and was an unjustifiable attempt to interfere with the liberty of the Irish people. It was impossible for the right hon. Gentleman to maintain his objection to meetings on that ground alone, for meetings were convened every Sunday, and were treated in this way, and yet the right hon. Gentleman himself was not willing to admit that the number of cases of intimidation and boycotting was on the increase. The Chief Secretary had ordered that no meeting in Ireland should be considered unlawful if held at a distance of more than a mile from the farm in reference to which the meeting had been called; and that no one must in any of the speeches delivered be denounced by name. The right hon. Gentleman stated, however, in answer to a question put to him the other day, that he believed no harm really followed from these meetings. As to the proviso that no one should be denounced by name, speakers were easily able to avoid doing so, as everybody in the crowd knew perfectly well the persons against whom they wished to level any particular remarks. The Wexford People on the 16th of May reported that a meeting had been arranged with a view of intimidating Mr. Burns Thomas, who had taken three evicted farms in the neighbourhood. There the man's name was mentioned, and the whole proceedings with regard to taking the farms was discussed. Subsequently, when the meeting was held on the 23rd of May, the usual plan was carried out, and nobody was mentioned by name. When the hon. Member for Wexford asked the right hon. Gentleman the other day why ho had not interfered with a particular meeting, he replied because he believed that the opinions that had been uttered were those which were approved of and carried out by the Primrose League, and he challenged him to substantiate that statement on that occasion. He did not believe that the kind of advice that the Primrose League would offer would ever be given at any of the class of meetings they were then considering. The hon. Member for Wexford had pointed out plainly that the remedy for the evil was really in the hands of the tenants themselves, if they would unite to carry it through. No man, he said, would grab a 1564 farm unless he saw his way to making a profit by so doing, and no one could work a farm successfully unless he could get men to help him and could find a market for his produce. If the people would not go near the land-grabber, would not buy any produce he sent into the market, and would pass him by, in short, as an unclean thing, then land-grabbing would cease to exist. That was the old leper argument of Mr. Parnell, and such a statement as that was not likely to be made by any member of the Primrose League. The right hon. Gentleman seemed incredulous, but could he produce the report of any speech delivered at a Primrose League meeting that enunciated such principles? The right hon. Gentleman had said that no harm was done by these meetings. That was because he relied upon the information of the police. He could remember the time when hon. Members opposite would not have been willing that the Chief Secretary for Ireland should rely upon police information. The Reports the right hon. Gentleman got from the police did not necessarily cover the whole of the facts of the situation. The police reported to the right hon. Gentleman that all seemed to be going on well, and that no violence was being used; but what the actual facts of the situation, and what the torture these people had to undergo, because they did a legal act, the police could not know. Take a case which had occurred in the North of Ireland. A man who had purchased his holding under the Ashbourne Act failed in his instalments, and the Land Commission evicted him in consequence. Another man purchased the farm. That gentleman had been attacked in consequence, and had written informing him of the fact that his house had been partially wrecked, for which he applied for and obtained compensation on the ground that the injury was malicious. Since then, a meeting of the National Federation had been held to denounce land-grabbing, and he was named as a person to be boycotted, and notices to that effect were posted. The writer concluded—The Constabulary know the men engaged in this business perfectly well.Here, then, an Act was passed to enable tenants to become the owners of their holdings; British credit was freely placed at their disposal for that purpose; a man 1565 availed himself of the liberality of Parliament to purchase, but got behindhand with his instalments, the Land Commission, who never proceeded to extremities until they were compelled, turned him out, and another man purchased the reversion, thereby saving loss to the British taxpayer. He went into possession, and was at once denounced as a land-grabber; placards were posted on the Roman Catholic Chapel gates, and life was made a burden to him because he did a thing which that House ought to protect him for doing. Next, he would take the case of Mr. Bradley, a, miller, in Kilkenny. A man called Mahoney was evicted from a farm, and, after the farm had been derelict for some years, Mr. Bradley took it. A meeting was held, and this gentleman was denounced, and the whole machinery of boycotting was put into operation against him for doing a perfectly legal act. The Chief Secretary said that no harm had come from these meetings because the persons who took evicted farms were not mentioned by name; but what did Mr. Bradley say? Writing on February 19, 1894, immediately after the meeting, he said—The annoyance and loss I have been subjected to are mainly negative. I wanted a millwright, and he would not work for me; the smith refused to shoe my horses, the shoemaker refused to work for my family, my herdsmen were threatened and wanted to leave my employment, two of my men have died of influenza since Christmas.[Loud Nationalist laughter]—of course, that was very funny to hon. Members opposite, but let them listen to what followed—and I have been unable to replace them, because of intimidation.What was there to laugh at in that?The greatest pecuniary loss lam under is from my mill being totally boycotted.The right hon. Gentleman would not accuse him that day of making general statements. He had given facts with which the right hon. Gentleman could deal, and he would be interested to know I what answer could be given. Reverting I again to the question of the meetings themselves, he had called the attention of the Committee to what seemed to be an understanding between the right hon. Gentleman and some hon. Members on the other side of the House. Speaking at Nenagh in April last, the hon. Member 1566 for East Mayo said he was told that evicted farms were being taken in some parts of Ireland, but he trusted not there. "If they are being taken"—that was to say, if people were doing a perfectly lawful thing—"it is not the fault of the Government." This was a supporter of the Government speaking for them, an influential supporter, and one they could not well do without—It is not the fault of the Government, but the fault of the people, and I am not afraid to tell the people they are not working hard enough.He advised them to organise on the old lines and to follow the old practices and principles—" You are free to do it now; do not blame the Government, but examine your own consciences." [Laughter.] The hon. Member for Roscommon laughed. That was about all he was capable of doing in that House.
§ MR. BODKIN (Roscommon, N.)
I rise to a point of Order. I trust it is part of the privileges of the House that if a ludicrous speech is made, if a ludicrous exhibition is made, hon. Members may laugh. The hon. Member's speech is comical from beginning to end; but if, as the hon. Member says, his speech is intended to be blood-curdling, I will take care not to laugh again.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said, that while the hon. Member was perfectly entitled to laugh, he himself was equally entitled to say that that was generally the hon. Member's contribution to the proceedings of the House. What were the "old lines" and the "old practices" which the hon. Member for East Mayo recommended? Beyond doubt, everyone who heard him at the meeting knew perfectly well that the "old lines" and the "old practices" were the old lines and the old practices of the Land League. He was not going to say that, in using those words, the hon. Member intended to advise the people to go back to outrage and to crime, for certainly the hon. Member did nothing except advise the people to go back to intimidation and boycotting, but those practices had in the past resulted in outrage and crime. They had the authority of the late Prime Minister for the statement made at the Table of the House of Commons that the ultimate sanction of boycotting, that which stood behind it, and which alone could make it effective, was murder. Was the hon. Member for 1567 East Mayo correct when he said that it was not the fault of the Government that people took these evicted farms, but the fault of the people themselves in not taking the old course, which was followed by outrage and crime? These meetings were being held all over Ireland every Sunday. The Chief Secretary had asked him whether a meeting held in Palace Yard would be intimidatory to the people in Limerick? Certainly not; but it would be a much better analogy to ask the right hon. Gentleman what would be thought by Scotchmen if the Secretary for Scotland declared a meeting held at one end of Prince's Street, Edinburgh, which was about a mile long, to be legal and illegal at the other. That was exactly what was being done in Ireland every Sunday. He had mentioned four typical cases, but he could bring dozens of cases where the lives of people were made unendurable by the proceedings of these meetings, and yet the right hon. Gentleman said there was no boycotting and no intimidation in Ireland. He was glad of this opportunity of having it threshed out on the floor of the House. Then there was another question—that of agrarian crime. As to agrarian crime, he did not intend to enter into any controversy with the Chief Secretary on the question as to whether agrarian crime was worse in the time of the last Ministry than in that of the present. That comparison and the classification of crime were very difficult questions, and errors might have been made at Dublin Castle. There had been a steady decrease in that class of crime since 1889, covering a period of both Governments, and the commencement of the decrease was due to the effectual working of the Crimes Act. Everybody knew, too, that long before the last Government left Office the stringency of the Act had been much modified. In the year ended December 31, 1890, there were 519 agrarian cases in Ireland, of which 440 were neither made amenable nor convicted; in 1891 there were 472, of which 420 were not made amenable or convicted; in 1892 there were 405 cases, and 362 were not made amenable or convicted; and in 1893 there were 380 cases, of which 315 were not made amenable or convicted. This was a question which should be considered apart from all political controversy, and he held it to be a tremendously serious fact that this great mass of 1568 agrarian crime could not be reached by the machinery of the Government. He would next consider the statistics as they applied to the County of Clare and the Province of Munster. In the County of Clare in the year ending the 31st of December, 1890, there were 60 agrarian cases. There were four convictions, seven persons were made amendable but were not convicted, and in 49 cases no one was either made amenable or convicted. In 1891 there were 94 cases; three convictions, six made amenable but not convicted, and 85 cases in which no one was either made amenable or convicted.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
Yes, solely agrarian. In 1892 there were 78 cases in Clare. There was one conviction, four were made amenable but not convicted, and in 73 cases no persons were either made amenable or convicted. In 1893 there were 83 cases in the county with four convictions, six persons made amenable but not convicted, and no one made amenable or convicted in the remaining 73 cases. The Return given him by the Chief Secretary showed that for five mouths of this year there had been 23 agrarian crimes in Clare and only one conviction. Taking the whole Province of Munster he found that in the four years to which the figures he had quoted referred there were 1,067 agrarian crimes, and in 942 cases no one was either made amenable or convicted. Therefore, he said that apart altogether from Party politics, for people who had to live in Ireland these were most serious and suggestive figures, and he did not wonder at the Judge who presided at the recent Clare Assizes referring to them and commenting on the fact that many cases which were placed under the apparently innocent description of "other forms of intimidation" should more properly be described as "attempted murders." In one of the cases so innocently described 15 revolver shots were fired at a man. Surely that was something more than intimidation. This, of course, was a question of classification, and with that he would deal later on. The learned Judge also remarked on the fact that almost invariably 1569 the observation attached to the Report was that there was no clue to the offender.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
The learned Judge fell into an error when he said that 15 shots were fired at the man. The shots were not fired at him at all.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said, that, at any any rate, the shots were fired, and he would like to have known the Judge's opinion as to whether or not they were directed against the man. There was a still more serious feature. Persons whose property was injured were afraid to put in claims for compensation, because if the facts came before an open Court they promptly received threatening letters. One peculiar feature in County Clare was that these threatening notices were printed, and surely it was impossible to put the case stronger than to state that a system had actually been devised of printing threatening notices. Was not this a most serious state of things for the people who had unfortunately to live there? On the question of the classification of the Returns, he had been a party to the despatch of a gentleman to Clare to make inquiries regarding three separate quarters of last year, and he would be glad to show the Chief Secretary that gentleman's return. For the quarter ending June 30, 1893, the official Return gave two cases of firing at the person, while the information of the gentleman to whom he referred gave three—the cases of Mr. Blood, Mr. Moloney, and Mr. Lynch; as regarded firing into dwellings, the official Return gave one case, while the independent Return supplied the particulars of two cases; there were five cases of firing at bailiffs, while the official Return was nil; and attacking houses, two, against none in the official Return. His informant gave, in all, 15 offences, all clearly agrarian, more than were given in the official Returns. If his information was correct, it was perfectly clear that the official Returns did not accurately show the real number of cases of agrarian crime. He would be glad to give the Chief Secretary the information which had been furnished to himself, in order that the right hon. Gentleman might verify the figures. There was only one other question to which he wished to refer. The Chief Secretary knew that there had been a very serious case in the City of Dublin. He referred to the case of Sheridan. An explosion took place 1570 and was immediately followed by a murder. The right hon. Gentleman had no difficulty in ordering a secret inquiry into the case.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said, the fact remained that this man was charged with a grave offence; he was tried three times in Dublin, and each time the jury disagreed. Would the Law Officers of the Crown have put him on his trial three times unless they had felt they had a good case against him? Was not this a case in which the Chief Secretary might reasonably have asked for a change of venue? Instead of doing so, however, and rather than break through his rule of not giving a change of venue, the right hon. Gentleman put the responsibility upon the jurors of Dublin City. It was not to be wondered at that Dublin shopkeepers disagreed under all the circumstances. The course adopted by the right hon. Gentleman was not fair to the citizens of Dublin, and had resulted in Sheridan walking out of the dock a free man. He had given facts and authorities for everything he had stated, and ho hoped the Committee would hear from the Chief Secretary that he intended to put an end to the intimidation, which was increasing owing to evicted farms being taken. The Evicted Tenants Bill had aroused the cupidity of the people of Ireland, and the good season of last year would also tend to make persons take evicted farms. He maintained that the Government, by adhering to their present policy, were absolutely destroying the tenants' rights under the Free Sale Clauses of the Land Acts, and were rendering it impossible for those men to sell the tenancy which Parliament had conferred upon them, or for them to go peaceably about their business. He did hope they would get an assurance that the mischievous practices now increasing in Ireland would be checked.
§ *MR. W. JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
said, that in continuing this interesting Debate he did not intend to follow on the lines taken by the Mover and the Seconder of the Amendment, but to refer to one special subject—namely, the interference with street preaching in Cork.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
I beg, Sir, to call your attention to the 1571 fact that there are not 40 Members present.
§ Forty Members having come in,
§ MR. CALDWELL (Lanark, Mid)
said: Upon a point of Order, Sir, I would ask you whether it is usual to count the House before 4 o'clock on a Wednesday?
§ *MR. W. JOHNSTON,
continuing, said, that a considerable time had elapsed since a body of men, earnest and anxious for the good of their fellows, undertook to preach in the streets of Cork, according to their light, the Gospel of the grace of God. He did not intend on this occasion to rehearse the story of riot and outrage that occurred in consequence. But he wished to claim for these men the right under the British Constitution—when they were violating no law—to proclaim freely in the open air in any place and manner they liked that story of the emancipation of man which was given in the New Testament. One of the preachers, Mr. George Williams, was formerly in the Government service, and because he was unable to continue through ill health in that service he had retired. He had devoted himself to preaching, but it was attempted to muzzle his mouth and prevent him. As he had said, he would not go through the whole story of riot and outrage on that occasion. It was in the recollection of hon. Members that the disturbances began late in last year. At 3 o'clock on a Sunday afternoon a number of gentleman, including Mr. Williams, proceeded to conduct an open-air service. A crowd collected as usual. On that occasion one of the preachers was attacked. The Bible was snatched from his hand. Shouts were raised which were heard above the turmoil—shouts of "Burn it!" Some young fellows, hearing the shouts, acted on the suggestion, and set fire to the Bible. Surely it was a terrible state of things to occur in any country under the British flag.
Order, order! I do not quite see how the hon. Member brings this up on the Vote of the salary of the Chief Secretary. As I understand, this question should be raised on the 1572 Constabulary Vote, which is also on the Paper.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
On the point of Order, Sir. The Constabulary in this matter have been acting on the special instructions of the Chief Secretary.
§ *MR. W. JOHNSTON
said, that in relation to the action of the police in another matter, which had been discussed in The Freeman's Journal, the Chief Secretary had cheered the statement of the Member for South Tyrone that the right hon. Gentleman was responsible for the conduct of the Constabulary. On the occasion of the disturbances at Cork there was an expression of opinion published in a newspaper, signed by "A Catholic and a Nationalist," of Cork, and written on New Year's Eve. The writer protested against the interference which there had been with the public rights. He wrote—Standing at this place interferes with nobody, and it is never used by the public, especially on Sundays. Then the preachers offend nobody as far as I know. They do not attack the Catholic, nor any other sect. They confine themselves purely and simply to the Gospel, and I understand that the Testament usually used by them is the Catholic, or Douay version. The so-called Catholics who go there to howl down the preachers am merely howling down their own Bible.This independent witness went on to say that certain parties in Cork were very one-sided in their action. He said—We should not forget that the same police who hunted the preachers were engaged not very long ago in protecting political preachers in Great Georges Street and in positively refusing citizens to approach their own homes or go on their business while Mr. Wm. O'Brien was making a speech to his police-protected audience. What explanation the police can offer of their change of tactics it is hard to say. Surely the laws as to street obstruction have not been changed of late.He (Mr. Johnston) did not complain of the action of the police in protecting the hon. Member. But he did complain that the same police should interfere with the freedom of speech in Cork which should be freely exercised on a Sunday in that place. His opinion on this subject was shared by others. This he would show by an authority which he ventured to say would not be disputed by hon. Members on that side of the House. He held in his hand a letter which was written on January 22 in this year. The writer said— 1573I contend that whether these preachers are self-constituted' evangelists or regular ministers of some Church or sect, they have as much right to preach in the streets or squares of an Irish town as we Irish Nationalists have to hold our meetings and to propagate our political views, say in England, Scotland, and Wales. To deny such a right to these preachers is to proclaim the principle of coercion and to justify the policy against which we, as a people, have fought many a stubborn and successful battle. But there is besides the question of right the considerations of courtesy and fair play. The population of Cork is not all of one religious creed. There is a comparatively large Protestant element in your city, and as it is a well-known practice among certain Protestant sects to adopt street preaching as one of their forms of worship, there ought, on this ground alone, to be a claim for the toleration of those of other creeds and practices which should render scenes like those of Sunday impossible in any civilised community like that of Cork.This letter concludes with the words—Whatever may be the local and immediate causes which may possibly modify the character of yesterday's sickening scenes, there will be only one opinion formed in the mind of every Home Ruler who knows anything of popular feeling upon religious questions in Great Britain, and that is the opinion and estimate of the deadly injury which such conduct inflicts upon the Irish cause. It is to me incomprehensive how any section of a people so staunchly Nationalist and so clear-minded generally as those of your city, can overlook this aspect of the street-preaching question and give by conduct like that of yesterday a most dangerous stab to the present prospects of Home Rule. But apart from the argument of expediency it is a serious blot upon the reputation of your city that such things should be done or such intolerance practised towards any class or sect or representatives of any creed in the present day; and I would earnestly appeal to all who have the honour, character, and good name of your patriotic city at heart to refrain from all interference with these street preachers in future.This letter was signed "Michael Davitt." He thought that when he quoted the utterances of this able man, whose eloquent words still lingered in the memory of Members of that House, it would be felt that he was not indulging in Party utterances when he expressed his entire concurrence with Mr. Davitt's views. He claimed the right of these preachers of the Gospel of Christ to preach on a Sunday in the public streets. It might be said that outrages had ceased in the streets of Cork, that there bad been a cessation of the disgraceful scenes which were witnessed when old men were attacked, when mud was stuck into the mouth of a preacher while he was endeavouring to declare the truth as he believed it; when 1574 a lady was disgracefully assaulted and insulted; and when the police interfered not to protect the rights of the preachers as free citizens, but to stop the preaching. Well, it might be true that the outrages had ceased. But why had they ceased? Because the right hon. Gentleman's police, acting, no doubt, under his orders, had done the work which the mob proposed to do, because they had driven the preachers from pillar to post and stopped them from preaching the word of God. It had been rendered impossible for them to do what every citizen should be able to do. Stones had not recently been thrown at preachers by mobs, but the police had done the work of the mobs. Of course, those who took up stones to throw at the preachers had ancient authority and a notable example. The Jews in old days took up stones to throw at our Lord, and the Cork people followed that example. In the Chief Secretary they had one who, like Gallio, "cared for none of these things." ["Oh!"] Or if he did he sent orders to his police that they should give the words "Move on!" He regretted that owing to the way in which the Government had appropriated the time of the House while these outrages were going on he had not the opportunity of calling attention to them. There was great excitement in Ulster, and there was some danger that people would go down to Cork from Belfast to defend the preachers. ["Oh!" and derisive laughter.] He expected certain hon. Members to indulge in merriment on that occasion, because they tried to blacken and misrepresent Belfast on every occasion when Belfast had stood up for civil and religious liberty—[more derisive laughter, chiefly from the Nationalist Benches]—when also it had determined to resist Home Rule, because it believed; that civil and religious liberty would be ended under it. He repeated that there was great excitement in Belfast and the North of Ireland on this subject. He trusted that in his future policy the Chief Secretary would endeavour to pursue the system which he (Mr. W. Johnston) commended to the House in the first speech he made there. It was on a March 17—St. Patrick's Day. He then ventured to urge that the peaceable people who gathered in any procession or meeting, and did not interfere with the rights and liberties of others should be protected, and that persons who committed 1575 outrages on a peaceable body of people should be made amenable and punished according to law. For these reasons, and because he believed that the Chief Secretary had interfered with the rights of free citizens in Cork, he supported the proposal for the reduction of the right hon. Gentleman's salary.
§ *MR. WEBB (Waterford, W.)
said, the Amendment now before the Committee for the reduction of the Chief Secretary's salary raised the most vital issues regarding the government of Ireland. But before applying himself to a consideration of the main argument by which the Mover had sought to maintain his case, he wished to protest against the spirit in j which now and upon other occasions the; hon. Member and his supporters gave themselves to the task of sustaining their principles relating to the government of Ireland. Whether they were Home Rulers or Unionists, so called, nothing was to be gained by looking at the worst side of their people. Other nations were judged by their best, Ireland by her worst side. There was no such spectacle afforded in any other Legislative Assembly in the world as Representatives from a country exercising all their powers and all their ingenuity to blacken the character of the inhabitants of that country. No nation could stand, or could be esteemed fit for liberty, if ghoul-like, as did Swift in one of his well-known poems, they thought but of the foul, and shut their minds to traits estimable and pure. Ireland's case in this respect as in others was peculiarly hard. She was forced into a partnership with Great Britain 94 years ago. Before that, with all her faults, she stood responsible for her qualities and her virtues before the world. Now her greatness and goodness, such as it was, were largely absorbed, and before the world credited to another name, and she was only debited with her shortcomings. This was not the means by which to bring about the union in essentials which was desired. There was a time when the people of Ireland believed the attitude of some hon. Members opposite was the attitude of the whole British people. Then they hated, and conspired, and struggled desperately to the death against government in such a spirit. Now there were happier and wiser times. Let the attitude of gentlemen opposite be regarded by the mass of the British 1576 people as the survival of a policy to be shunned, not as the pointing of a policy to be followed. It was but natural, however, perhaps deplorable, that people should resent differences of opinion by exclusive dealing. It was done by all parties and in all countries, and in no instances more than against Irish Home Rulers and land reformers in Ireland. Popular prejudices had in all countries to be taken into account in the assertion of technical rights. People condemned interference with street preachers in Cork. But what chance would Catholic evangelisers have in the streets of Lurgan? So far as he knew, London was the only place in the United Kingdom where all people could, on all subjects, openly express their views, and even here he doubted whether Catholics could claim in the streets as free an expression of their religious opinions as Protestants. Hon. Gentlemen had expatiated on the outrages connected with the land agitation. That the people were driven to turmoil and outrage in the pursuit of absolutely necessary reform was the very essence of the Home Rule argument that public opinion could not reach the ear of the House of Commons under the present arrangement. There would have been no land reform but for boycotting; but these were not the means the people desired to be driven to. They desired that their affairs should be settled by reason and argument. This Motion, impugning the wisest system of administration ever since the Union applied to Ireland, had been mainly based upon the crime calendars of certain counties. He would, therefore, with the permission of the Committee, make a few observations upon the Crime Returns of the three counties generally regarded as in the most backward state. He had gone to the "Irish Criminal Statistics for 1892," the latest issued. There was to be found a table giving the "Distribution of the more serious offences throughout Ireland." It was not a record of arrests and convictions, but of offences themselves. He had examined the cases of Limerick, Kerry, and Clare, and would compare them with Ulster. When demands were made that peculiar principles of administration should be applied to certain districts because of particular offences it was hut fair that they should look somewhat round the ques- 1577 tion, and should regard serious offences generally. Comparisons between one portion of Ireland and another were hateful to those who sat on the benches round him. Their views and desires were not bounded by counties or by provinces. They did not desire to depreciate Ulster; they were anxious only that other portions of Ireland should not be depreciated. As an Irishman, he rejoiced that the bitter and intolerant attitude they so much condemned, an attitude calculated to maintain an increase of dissension in Ireland and alienation between Great Britain and Ireland, could not mainly be laid at the door of Irishmen in that House. No Irishman there had exhibited such a spirit as they could not partly understand and wholly forgive; there was not an Irishman there with whom they could not work in hearty union for the good of their common Mother Country. He would now apply himself to the statistics. Of more serious offences against the person there were: in Ulster, l.5 per 10,000 of the population; in Limerick, including the city, 2"0; Kerry, 1.3; and Clare, 1.7. It would be remarked that Limerick was one-half an offence per 10,000 persons per annum behind Ulster, that Kerry was better than Ulster, and that Clare was but one-fifth of an offence per 10,000 persons worse than Ulster. "More serious offences against property with violence" per 10,000 of the population were—Ulster, 0.6; Limerick, 0.4; Kerry, 0.5; Clare, 0.9. Limerick and Kerry were better than Ulster. Clare was but one-third an offence per 10,000 of the population worse than Ulster. "More serious offences against property without violence" per 10,000 of the population were —Ulster, 1.3; Limerick, 1.3; Kerry, 1.5; Clare, l.5. The condition of Limerick in this respect was the same as Ulster. Kerry and Clare were both one-fifth of an offence per 10,000 of the population worse than Ulster. "More serious cases of malicious injury against property" per 10,000 of the population—in this respect he regretted to say the three counties came out badly—Ulster, 0.8; Limerick, 2.9; Kerry, 3.7; Clare, 5.8. Or Ulster 0.8 against an average of the three counties of 4.0. Turning to another table of the same statistics, which gave the number of "Known depredators and suspected persons at large" and the number of "Houses of receivers of 1578 stolen goods, resorts of thieves and prostitutes, and other houses of known or suspected bad characters," the following figures were found—Ulster, 5.0 per 10,000 of the population; Limerick, 4.7; Kerry, 2.6; Clare, 0.4. Limerick I was slightly better than Ulster. Kerry 2.4 persons and Clare 4–6 persons per 10,000 better than Ulster. "Suspected houses" per 10,000 of the population—Ulster, 1.3; Limerick, 0.5; Kerry, 0.8; Clare, none. In viewing the general character of the populations and considering whether the Chief Secretary was right or wrong in endeavouring to govern by the ordinary law, morals should not be altogether left out of account. In Ulster 3.9 per cent, of the births are illegitimate; in Limerick, 2.7; in Kerry, 1.6; in Clare, 16. In view of all these figures there was nothing to lead them to the conclusion that either of the three I counties named was in such a condition as to demand the application of the Crimes Act. If they were to marshal side by side in Hyde Park two bodies of 10,000 Englishmen it would be difficult to persuade the House of Commons or the pub-lie that because in one there were in the J course of the year over three cases more I of malicious injury to property than in the other, therefore it would be wise and proper that regarding the one special laws should be put in force. There was nothing to justify this attack upon the administration of the Chief Secretary. Under no conceivable circumstances would such sectional legislation be applied to any body of Englishmen. A year ago he read in the papers that Judge Chambers declared at Birmingham that there was more false swearing and whole sale lying there than he ever met in India, and that 30 per cent, of the signatures to promissory notes there were forgeries; yet the adjournment of this House was never moved, nor was the salary of I the Home Secretary sought to be reduced. They were well aware that, whether in Birmingham or in Clare, they could look alone for the removal of moral cancers to education and enlightenment of the people, and to just laws justly I administered. There never was a time in his experience when in Ireland the law was more generally respected than it was at present. This was due to the policy of the present Government. They had that feeling on the side of the law at present; they would 1579 not have it if they reverted to a coercive policy, which every Irishman of Irish feeling took to himself as a personal slight and humiliation. The present unsatisfactory condition of sentiment regarding law and order in some parts of Ireland was the direct outcome of causes graven deep on the page of history. Combined opposition to law so called was once a necessity of the very existence of the Irish people, and they could not at once shake off and alter old prejudices and feelings. A relative of his own who had lived until he (Mr. Webb) had reached manhood, saw a man who as a boy had been at the Battle of the Boyne. Three lives were enough to span two centuries of darkened Irish history! How, then, could it be expected that a full appreciation of just methods should already exist in the minds of people who had been rescued only within the last 15 years from a quasi serfdom? Those who knew the natural disposition of the people of Clare or the most discouraging districts of Kerry must feel that they were capable of and fitted for better things. Whether sooner or later the great change regarding Ireland was carried out which those who sat with him regarded as essential, it was to the interest of all parties that peace and order should prevail in Ireland, and that a just system of government should be realised. In this belief they condemned the policy of the Amendment before the Committee, and would stand by the Chief Secretary in his determination to govern by the ordinary law, hampered even as it was at present by Castle administration.
§ *MR. H. PLUNKETT (Dublin Co., S.)
said, he was sure they had all listened with attention to the interesting and somewhat pathetic speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down. He (Mr. Plunkett), in the course of the few remarks he was about to make, certainly should not come under the condemnation of the hon. Member as being an Irishman who never lost an opportunity to belittle his fellow-countrymen, nor, on the other hand, should he enter upon a general denunciation of the policy of the Chief Secretary, for he believed that it had been, in many respects, a manly and an independent policy. The right hon. Gentleman had often acted as if he were entirely independent of the whole body of Irish Nationalists, and he was glad to 1580 have an opportunity of frankly acknowledging that the right hon. Gentleman, in one department of work with which he himself was most familiar, had done everything in his power for the good of the country regardless of the adverse criticism which had been directed against him. He referred to the policy inaugurated in the congested districts by the predecessor of the right hon. Gentleman, the present Leader of the Opposition. When the congested districts portion of the Act of 1891 was before the House the present Chief Secretary, though he did not oppose it, prophesied for it, unreservedly, complete and total failure. Nevertheless, now that the right hon. Gentleman had taken the position of his predecessor, and was Chairman of the Board he then condemned, he (Mr. Plunkett) was glad to be able to testify the right hon. Gentleman was doing everything in his power to make the policy of his predecessor a success. He thought that was a noble inconsistency that covered a great multitude of inconsistencies in other matters. The main object of this Debate was to call attention to the administration of the law in Ireland, and he did not think that any speech made hitherto, in any quarter, could be looked upon as being a partisan speech. He thought in every case the earnestness of the speakers was manifest, but there was no doubt there was at the present, he would not say a recrudescence, but there was every indication there was about to be a recrudescence of crime. The Chief Secretary had been warned of it from other than Unionist quarters. He would not refer to the notorious speech of the Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), who told them that when the Tories returned to power the flood gates of national ire would be unloosed. [An hon. MEMBER: No, the agitation.] He would take the correction from the hon. Member; he was unable to quote the exact words, but that was substantially what was said. In that day's Times they had a report from Ireland which certainly was significant. The hon. Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond), addressing the central body of the Land League in Ireland, said—The National League in County Clare was never in a better state of organisation than at present. The example set by Clare should be followed by every other county in Ireland. A slight attempt had been made by the Government to interfere with their work of organisa- 1581 tion in that county. A meeting which was called at Kilfenora to establish a branch of the League was dispersed by the Government. Mr. Patrick O'Brien attended, and, without any notice or warning, 50 policemen, a Resident Magistrate, and a County Inspector appeared, and Mr. O'Brien was assaulted when he endeavoured to exercise his right of speaking in public. In the worst days of Mr. Balfour's rule nothing more outrageous or unconstitutional was ever attempted by the police. Later on, however, they gave the Government a lesson.He need not read any further, but a description was given here of an attempt to nullify the Chief Secretary's repressive measures which was entirely successful. In the same paper they had a lamentable instance of denunciation, not by name, but by what came practically to the same thing—denunciation of a woman who had taken a shop in New Tipperary, and the language used by the Rev. Father Humphreys on the occasion was of the well-known kind, and, he thought, of a kind from which every Member of that House must be perfectly aware that outrage would follow. He would give a few quotations from the rev. gentleman's speech. He stated that the taking of this shopcalled for the execration of every honest man and woman.And the rev. gentleman went on to say—Her house had been most shamefully grabbed by a covetous woman. He appealed to all who loved honesty, loyalty, and fair play to wipe out this last stain from Tipperary, and to teach the grabber that she could not unjustly seize upon her neighbour's property with impunity.Then came the conclusion to the effect that—It was the first duty of every civilised Government to protect the lives and properties of its subjects, and since the Government of England would not take steps to protect them they would take whatever measures they deemed fit to do so.A resolution was passed by those present at the meeting —condemning the grabbing' of Mrs. M'Grath's house, and pledging themselves to use all the legitimate means in their power to prevent so great an injustice.He did not care to waste the time of the Committee in discussing any further details of outrages or any cases of intimidation or boycotting, as quite sufficient had been given to occupy the attention of the Chief Secretary when he came to reply to all the speeches that had been made; 1582 but there was one point that he did wish to bring before the right hon. Gentleman. They did not really wish to know the details of the procedure or the intended procedure in these cases; that was simply a matter of police, and not a matter of government. He had always understood from the right hon. Gentleman's speeches that he had certain theories about crime in Ireland; that he believed that all previous methods of dealing with that crime had been based on entirely erroneous conceptions, and that he had some entirely new policy which he intended to apply to these cases. Speaking in 1886 to the Eighty Club the right hon. Gentleman; said—Nobody knows better than I do that Ireland needs, and urgently needs, to be governed by a strong hand; nobody more freely admits it than I do, but it will have to be done by Irish Leaders; we cannot. It is impossible that we should, in the light of all our past experience, expect to do what our forefathers and contemporaries have failed to do.That left the right hon. Gentleman in a most awkward position; he was, no; doubt, becoming Hibernicised; but, at the same time, he had not yet fulfilled his own conditions. The right hon. Gentleman told them he had nailed his flag to the mast, but they naturally wanted to know whether he admitted he was wrong in 1886, or whether he believed that he really was, and that every Englishman must from the necessity of the case be absolutely incapable of dealing with Irish crime? In the recent Debate on the repeal of the Crimes Act a point was made by the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Wyudharn) which was extremely simple and intelligible to every man in the House, and which as yet neither the Chief Secretary nor any of his supporters had made any attempt to answer. As he understood the point it was simply this: The hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Wyudharn) said—The present Government frankly admit that there are only two ways of governing Ireland— one is by Home Rule, the other is by Coercion. You cannot give them Home Rule, and yet you confess yourselves unwilling to apply coercion.In the right hon. Gentleman's reply he stated, in answer to that particular point—If you are going to supersede particular provisions to which you object or do not object, then I could understand there is some force in the argument of the hon. Member, but it seems 1583 to me that we have plenty of time this afternoon to affirm the principle.What did the right hon. Gentleman state the principle to be? These were his words—Ireland is not to be placed under exceptional criminal repressive law in perpetuity.Now, surely the right hon. Gentleman must be perfectly aware that the Opposition was entirely in accord with him upon that principle; they all admitted that coercion was necessarily merely a temporary expedient. They believed it had been successful in the past, and they knew—it was an historical fact—the necessity for it had gradually decreased, and they looked to the time in the near future when it would absolutely disappear. If they had given another day on the repeal of the Crimes Act it would have been extremely interesting to their side of the House to have seen how the right hon. Gentleman would have dealt with the Amendment of the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) to the effect that the operation of the Crimes Act should have been coufined absolutely to the four Counties of Cork, Kerry, Limerick, and Clare. Personally, he should have supported that Resolution and should have been delighted to have seen the Crimes Act removed from every other county in Ireland. He entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman's principle, but he did not believe it was possible to govern Ireland without exceptional provisions to deal with exceptional cases. Unquestionably, quite apart from what statistics might show, anyone acquainted with the worst parts of Ireland must know the feeling in Ireland was far more healthy than it had been heretofore. ["Hear, hear!"] He quite frankly admitted that, and he all the more deplored that any attempt should be made to disturb that very satisfactory progress. At the same time, that such an attempt was being made was proved beyond the possibility of a doubt, and they called on the Chief Secretary to deal very sternly and effectively with this special emergency that had arisen. On one occasion, in speaking on the Criminal Law Procedure Act in 1887, the Chief Secretary gave it as his opinion that Ireland would never be at peace until, to use his own words—There has been a great increase in the number of peasant proprietors.1584 He (Mr. Plunkett) was anxious to see a great increase in the number of peasant proprietors, but he claimed there were even more effective and more important movements going on to-day in Ireland in the direction of developing the resources of the country, and especially in organising its agricultural industry. Of course, he was not going to deal with any of those questions now, but he did say he was in a position—from a wide connection with the whole of the three southern provinces of Ireland—to know the intimate relations that existed between industry and commerce and the peace of the country. Ireland was progressing very satisfactorily now, but the slightest weakness on the part of the right hon. Gentleman, the slightest departure from the Chief Secretary's own dictum that it was absolutely necessary to have a strong man at the head of affairs, would immediately be followed by a stoppage of the progress they were now making. He did not wish longer to occupy the time of the Committee, but he should like to support some of the remarks of the hon. Member who spoke immediately before him as to the very favourable comparison which could be instituted between general crime in Ireland and general crime in almost any other country in the world. It really came to this: the only difficulty they had in Ireland was in respect of agrarian crime, which unfortunately led to wholesale demoralisation which gave rise to an entirely different category of crime. But of course the hon. Member who spoke last must be perfectly aware that it was not quite candid to compare statistics of a portion of the country where there were several large towns with statistics of purely rural counties. At the same time, even taking the rural counties, it was a strange thing in the matter of general crime the County of Kildare which was almost spotless; in agrarian crime it almost headed the list, and he believed that was due to what he might call the importation of offences from England. In conclusion, he would ask the Chief Secretary, in his reply to the speeches that had been made that day, to deal with this question of agrarian crime. What had been proved was a threatened recrudescence of crime, and he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would tell them what steps he proposed to take to check it?
§ MR. J. REDMOND (Waterford)
said, he would like to observe, in the first place, he thought the hon. Member who brought forward this Motion must feel that he had missed his mark, for the object with which the Motion was made had failed. This attack was made on the Chief Secretary with the object of impressing upon the House and the public the fact that there was an alarming and increasing state of crime in Ireland. Now one thing had been established so far in this Debate without the intervention of the Chief Secretary at all, and that was that there was not an alarming or increasing state of crime in Ireland; on the contrary, it had been established conclusively by every speech, even that of the hon. Member who moved the Motion, that Ireland at present was not only in an exceptionally quiet and peaceable condition as compared with her own past, but that Ireland, as compared with this country and any country in Europe, was at this moment in a state of perfect tranquillity and peace. That was an extraordinary and significant fact, because the Committee must remember the circumstances under which the Irish people had been living for the last few years. The whole of this question of crime in Ireland turned, of course, upon the agrarian question, and the agrarian situation in Ireland for the last two or three years had been of such an aggravated and acute character that it was absolutely marvellous that the country had remained so free from crime and disturbance. There had been thousands of families who had been evicted from their homes living on the roadside with their wives and children, in sight of the old home, obtaining a precarious living, looking in on the men who had come and taken their farms, and regarding them as nothing short of robbers of the results of their industry, and yet there had been no increase of crime as a consequence. What was the meaning of that? If he might respectfully say so to the Chief Secretary, that fact threw an enormous responsibility upon him of dealing and insisting upon dealing boldly and generously with this question of the evicted tenants. These men had remained quiet, Ireland had remained peaceable, because they had been taught to believe and had believed the present Government would come to their aid and enable them to get back 1586 on equitable terms to their homes, and if through any stress of business in this House, if through the conflicting claims of Wales, or of Scotland, or any other portion of the Empire the Government were for a moment to falter in their course on this evicted tenants' question, the responsibility resting upon the head of the Chief Secretary would be enormous, and he told him frankly that his chance of governing Ireland would be impossible. Was he indulging in a threat? He did not intend to indulge in any threats; but there was no question that if once they removed from these people the hope of a speedy end to the present situation that very moment they opened the door to all those disturbances in the social state of Ireland which they had so much deplored in the past. One word more on this question. A great great deal had been said to-day about boycotting. Now there was boycotting and boycotting. There was boycotting in London the other day in the cab-strike. What did boycotting mean? Boycotting meant—as he desired to describe it, and as he defined it when he spoke of it—boycotting meant a combination of people together to assert what they believed to be their rights, either by abstaining from dealing with people they object to or abstaining from holding social relations with people they object to. Boycotting, of course, had been carried to excess; it had often been guided by mean and personal motives, often perhaps had led to illegality, sometimes had led to illegality and crime; but he asserted that to-day, just as it was true for years and years past, the tenant-farmer in Ireland had absolutely no protection for himself and his interests unless it was the protection afforded at any rate by the fear of boycotting. He was afraid the Chief Secretary had incurred a terrible responsibility in excluding from his Evicted Tenants Bill all attempts to deal with these grabbed farms. As long as these farms remained in the possession of the new tenants they must be the centres of disturbance in the future. These new tenants must be got rid of if this evicted tenants' question was to be settled and peace to prevail in Ireland. How could they be got rid of? Everyone believed it was possible, as was suggested by the right hon. Gentleman sitting there, by legislation. The Chief Secretary had incurred now the responsibility of saying 1587 to these people and their families, "You cannot get back into your homes by legislation." Then how were they to get back? The only other way in which they could get back was the way indicated by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon) in that speech that had been more than once referred to to-day; the only way was by the people themselves creating such a state of public opinion in Ireland as would make the position of the occupier in the farm untenable. He regarded such a course as lamentable; he believed it would be possible to get rid of the difficulty by legislation, but if it was not then he had no hesitation in saying here, and he should have no hesitation in saying in Ireland that, in his opinion, if the Government refused to deal with the case of these grabbed farms, then it was the duty of the people to act upon the advice given to them by the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), an I so organise and combine as to make it impossible for these grabbers to continue in possession of the farms. He did not desire to dwell further on this point, and he need not say that he could not vote in favour of the Motion made by the hon. Member opposite, and at the same time he would not vote against it, and he would tell the Committee why. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant had, in his opinion, been guilty of many grave mistakes in his government of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman went to Ireland as a Constitutional Minister, and boasted he had discarded coercion. Well, technically he had, but without the use of the Coercion Act he had dispersed public meetings and interfered with the liberty of speech; he had packed juries; he had led the forces of the Crown to cruel and unjustifiable evictions, and in all these particulars he had conducted his government upon lines which, in his (Mr. Redmond's) opinion, did not entitle him to confidence or approval. Only quite recently they had the question of jury-packing and prosecutions and convictions before the House: therefore, he that it did not think he would be justified in Ireland dealing with them to-day; but let him emphasise the fact that the right hon. Gentleman interfered with 16 public meetings prior to last August, and since last August he ventured to say the right hon. Gentleman had interfered with a very much larger number. He 1588 sympathised thoroughly with the hon. Member in his ridicule upon what he called "Morley's mile." A more childish device was never heard. He looked upon it from the opposite standpoint to that of the hon. Member for South Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell), as he thought the meetings should not have been interfered with at all, but to say that it was a reasonable compromise between the two views to say the meeting was wrong and would not be allowed to be held at the place for which it was called, but that it might be held within a mile of that spot, seemed to him nothing short of ridiculous and absurd. On the question of jury-packing what he would say was this: In certain criminal cases, by virtue of the special Assize Act, the prisoners were taken from their own homes and tried under a change of name just as they would have been under a clause in the Coercion Act. In this case it was admitted that some 41 jurors were ordered to stand by, and what was the right hon. Gentleman's defence? It was that in the Maryborough cases there was only one Catholic or no Catholic allowed on the jury, but that in the Cork cases there were four or five. If every one of the 12 jurors in the Cork cases was a Catholic, and if the jury was obtained by ordering 40 jurymen to stand aside, then it was a packed jury; and this was a method of the selection of jurors which was unknown in this country, which had been denounced on scores of platforms and in this House by the Chief Secretary when he was in opposition and the late Government was in power, but which was a practice he now resorted to himself and unblushingly defended. He only desired to emphasise the fact that the position he took on the matter was diametrically opposed to that of the Movers of the Amendment. They complained that the Chief Secretary had not been enough of a coercionist, and he complained that the Chief Secretary had been too much of one. They said that Ireland was in a condition of unrest and crime; he said was peaceful. They said that would become disturbed if the Chief Secretary did not put more actively into force certain provisions of the law; he said it would become so if the Chief Secretary did not enable the evicted tenants to get back to their homes. He would end, as he commenced, by impressing upon the Chief Secretary 1589 the terrible responsibility that would rest upon him if he failed to deal with this evicted tenants' question. He had always believed that the right hon. Gentleman had been anxious to deal with it, and he could understand the right hon. Gentleman's position. After all, he was but a Member of a Cabinet, and there were Cabinet Ministers and Cabinet Ministers. They knew the Chief Secretary was friendly to Ireland; they did not know as much about his colleagues; and, for his own part, he did not know so much about the new Prime Minister. He, therefore, know the difficulties of the right hon. Gentleman's position; but that made all the greater the responsibility that rested upon him, and it was to him they looked for the fulfilment of the pledges that had been given. The future tranquillity of Ireland did not rest upon resort to coercive methods, but upon the Government resolutely insisting upon going on with their Evicted Tenants Bill, and then, in Committee, agreeing so to amend it as to make it a valuable measure.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
The hon. and learned Member for Waterford has assured the Committee that he and his friends look to me for the carrying out of the policy that he regards as indispensable to the peace of Ireland; but the hon. and learned Member's method of giving effect to his views is a little peculiar. Though he looks to me to do nil these great things, he declines to give a vote which would put me in the position in which I should be capable of doing them.
§ MR. J. REDMOND
The right hon. Gentleman is in the position. I decline to give him my vote to keep him doing nothing; but when he tackles the evicted tenants' question, he will have my vote.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
Mr. Mellor, I shall be in Order if I decline to go into the question of the Evicted Tenants Bill now. But the hon. and learned Member can hardly say that I have quailed before the tackling of this extremely difficult question. On the contrary, I, with others, have framed and brought in a Bill and explained it to this House as a measure of administrative urgency. Recognising fully as he does the importance of this measure, he might have done me the justice to suppose that I should not shrink from pursuing whatever steps may be necessary in order to press this 1590 measure forward. Coming to the substantial point raised by the Amendment, I might be content almost to set the speech of the hon. and learned Member against the other speeches in support of the Amendment. There are contradictions between the Members for Water-ford and Tyrone. One says I have used too much coercion, and the other that I have used too little; and perhaps the Committee will be of opinion, and perhaps even hon. Gentlemen opposite will be of opinion, that I have used the precise degree of firmness in the administration of the law which was required by the justice of the case and by the social circumstances of Ireland. I am really amazed that this attack should be made upon my salary this afternoon, because it was only a couple of mouths ago that the Leader of the Opposition, speaking outside this House, was good enough to express his admiration for the way in which I had applied the principles upon which, and upon which ouly, a civilised country should be governed. That was only two months ago. What has happened in the intervening time to deprive me of the confidence of gentlemen who sit in that (the Liberal Unionist) quarter of the House? The hon. and learned Member for Waterford told the old story. He implied that I had been guilty of the same practices as the Leader of the Opposition; but I put this question to the hon. and learned Member and his friends: Because I express the belief that if you have public feeling on your side you can govern without coercion, is it to be said that I am to govern the country without law at all?
§ MR. J. MORLEY
All this has been argued before, and I am not arguing it now; but when the hon. and learned Member, for example, taunts me with having lent the forces of the Crown to attend at evictions, he knows that I have no alternative. He must know that when I came into Office I endeavoured to put a stop to the practice of using the forces of the Crown in the execution of legal processes by night, and I was for that moderate attempt pulled up by the Court of Queen's Bench, and told by, I think, the Chief Justice, that I might think myself lucky that I had not been attacked instead of the County Inspector. The hon. Member for West Belfast said a few 1591 words in a spirit with which I have no fault to find, on the riots that took place in Cork in connection with the street preaching, and he said, doing me less justice, that I was a Gallio, and cared for none of these things; but I would tell my hon. Friend that I am in a minority on too many questions ever to lend myself to any proceeding which may interfere with the just rights or unduly limit the power of expression of any minority. This is not the occasion to go in detail into the measures taken in dealing with the riots, but the hon. Member was right in charging personal and individual responsibility upon me for the measures adopted. Looking back upon the events, I believe that no wiser or more prudent policy could have been pursued, and I believe, further, there are no impartial citizens in Cork, Catholic or Protestant, who do not agree and say that the affrays which arose—and which, after all, were not of the sanguinary character of those which have occurred in some other parts of Ireland—were dealt with by the exercise of as much executive skill by the admirable police officers who were on the spot as ever attended that very difficult branch of police administration. My hon. Friend the Member for Dublin County, in a very moderate speech, the courtesy of which I wish to acknowledge, said that I had been honourably inconsistent in doing my best to aid the Congested Districts Board, which, when it was first announced by the Leader of the Opposition, I ventured to predict no very sanguine things of. It is very easy, I must say, to act fairly and earnestly with gentlemen so zealous in the public interest as the hon. Member "for Dublin County. But, again, coming to the substantial point of this afternoon's discussion, the hon. Member was guilty of curious and fatal inconsistency. He said that the feeling in Ireland had not for a long time past been more healthy than it is now. If so, how does he justify the vote he is going to give? The hon. Member said, in rather remarkable language, a recrudescence of intimidation and boycotting is about to take place. How does he know it? I do not know it. Even if it is the fact that there is a sign that a recrudescence of boycotting and intimidation is about to take place, if the state of Ireland is healthier than it has been in the past, what are the reasons for the vote he is going to give in censure of my past administration?
§ *MR. H. PLUNKETT
I said that the state of the whole of Ireland was much more healthy than it had been before, but in certain districts we have evidence—and I thought I gave some—of a recrudescence being about to appear; I may have been wrong. I think I might have said there actually had been a recrudescence in a few districts.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
It is very hard upon me, I think, to vote for depriving me of one-half my salary because the hon. Member thinks that there are possible signs that there is about to be a recrudescence of crime. It will be time enough to give the vote he is going to give when I have shown I am less likely to deal with any crime that may arise than I have shown myself, as he admits, in dealing with crime in the past. And now, Sir, I come to the protagonists of this Amendment—the hon. Members for West Belfast and South Tyrone. I think that those who were present and listened to those two speeches, and understood that that was the whole of the strength and force of the case for the impeachment of our administration in Ireland, must have felt that, though there have been a good many weak presentations made since the beginning of the Session of 1893, so weak a case as this has never before been presented. Again, I am glad to be able to recognise the moderation of tone with which both of these hon. Members—who are not habitually moderate in tone—stated their case. I think I have never in all my life, in any capacity, met with such a number of enormous statements founded on such an absolute poverty of evidence as those made by the hon. Member for Belfast. The hon. Member for Belfast, like a good many other people, even Members of this House, mistakes a very positive and absolute statement for what he calls a categorical fact, and he thinks or speaks as if, because he stated the case very positively and with almost excessive but not very significant emphasis, that therefore every one of these statements represented a categorical fact corresponding to it. Like a good many other people, the hon. Member mistakes positive and absolute statement for what he calls categorical fact. The hon. Member speaks as if all the statements which he made represented categorical facts. He said that there was an absolute immunity for crime in certain parts of Ireland, and he committed 1593 himself to the preposterous statement that there is no law in Clare or Kerry; and he actually appealed to the Judges of the land to bear out his extravagant statement.
I did not say that. I said there was no law on matters in which the Nationalist Members interfered.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
If the hon. Member wishes to remodel and recast his proposition in any way, I cannot object to his doing so, but that is not the proposition he laid before the Committee. I will give the Committee one little test of the accuracy of the hon. Gentleman. He lays down all these broad and sweeping accusations, and supports them by one or two categorical facts which, even if they were facts, are not very important, but which, as a matter of truth, are not facts. He said that some man who had been guilty of some crime some three years ago, had come back to his town— I think Newmarket—and was received with bands and rejoicing, and he said this man was one of the men who had been arrested the other day in connection with the horrible murder at Newmarket. There is no truth in that story whatever. The two men convicted at the Nenagh Assizes some few years ago had nothing whatever to do with the two men now under lock and key for the Donovan murder. I mention this to let the Committee see what sort of accuracy there is in the presentation of the case on which this Motion is founded. The Member for Belfast takes a view of the law which is certainly almost infantile in its simplicity. He says if a thing is wrong it is wrong, and upon that broad proposition in the abstract, and in its place, I can see very little to find fault with. If a thing is wrong it is wrong. But a thing might be very wrong in one sense and not wrong in a legal sense. That is a very elementary fact in the practice of the law, and for one who makes laws is one which I should have thought he might have known. He gave us a great number of rough-and-ready legal judgments on what the hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Mr. Carson) will admit were nice and difficult points in law, such as criminal conspiracy, public meetings, incitement to conspiracy, and so forth, and the hon. Member dispatched all these.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
No, I think not. He deals with all -these difficult matters in a rough-and-ready way which, I think, ought not to impress the House very favourably with his capacity for criticising the Irish or any other administration. As to the question of crime in Clare, I will deal with that too, in a manner, I hope, not unsatisfactory to the hon. Member—who, I am sure, desires with us to put down crime in Clare as well as in the rest of Ireland — in connection with the speech of the hon. Member for Tyrone. That speech I now come to. Of course, I looked forward to it with interest, not free from apprehension, because his is the still small voice of the Unionist conscience. I will give the hon. Member a double piece of advice in dealing with Irish crime. First of all, to be very circumspect; and, secondly, to be rather incredulous. I think that to be circumspect and incredulous are two great saving virtues in dealing with Irish affairs, no matter what view we may take. He seems to think that I made some new departure in August of last year in the principle of allowing meetings to be held at a certain point and not at another. I can assure him that that is not so. When the case came before me, when I had been two or three mouths in Office, this matter was forced upon me.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
We came into Office in August, 1892, but I think the case I refer to occurred probably in October, 1892.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
Does the right hon. Gentleman say that he invented this proximity theory before October, 1893?
§ MR. J. MORLEY
Certainly, Sir. The principle was acted upon as to the holding of meetings in proximity to a farm in the autumn of 1892. The hon. Member may take my word for it, it has nothing to do with the cases referred to in August, 1893. He quoted one case— that of the man Thomas—to which reference was made in the House the other day. Now, what are the facts? He said that the man Thomas had been subjected to a boycotting resolution, that in consequence of the language used at the 1595 meeting he suffered several evils. His workmen left him, his miller refused to grind his corn, and, strange as it may seem, a solicitor refused to take his case. I will deal with the solicitor first. That is the simplest part of the case. The solicitor says he refused to lend his service for the vulgar and prosaic reason that he had great doubt whether he would secure his costs. The hon. Member said that two of Thomas's workmen had left him in consequence of the meeting. As a matter of fact, one left before the meeting was held, and the other was obliged to return home in consequence of his father's dangerous illness, and Thomas has no difficulty in securing as many labourers as he wants. Then, we are told by the hon. Member, that the miller refused to grind his corn. What does the miller say? He says that the meeting had no effect whatever upon him, but he declined to grind the corn because the quantity brought to him for grinding purposes—I think two stones—was too small to be worth doing. The hon. Member read a letter the other day, or portion of a letter, and I promised him I would have the matter inquired into. I have inquired into it. The Inspector went down and made inquiries, and I am assured that Thomas has not been inconvenienced in any way. The local shopkeepers supply him with anything he wants, the local smith works for him, and he can get plenty of labourers to work for him. This is the kind of case on which our administration in Ireland is challenged. Then we are told of the case of Bradley, in County Kilkenny; where he had been subjected to boycotting for continuing in occupation of an evicted farm, and the letter which the hon. Member read, as he told me, was dated as far back as February last, or nearly four months ago. It is quite true that for a time Bradley received some annoyance, and that some of his customers who were in the habit of getting work done at the mills he owned left him, but this annoyance has practically ceased, his customers are coming back to his mills, and the police authorities assure me that no further trouble need be anticipated in that case. Now suppose I had done what the hon. Member said he wished me to do and had made a great uproar and stir about the meeting. If we had had a prosecution, I doubt whether we could have sustained it but; suppose we had, will 1596 anybody tell me that Bradley's position would not have been far worse than now, and that our course was not wise and prudent? And now, Sir, to come to the general—
§ MR. J. MORLEY
Oh, yes; there is the case of Hogg, of Moneymore. The information in the Moneymore case is that the police found, on the 22nd of April, threatening notices posted against Hogg. On the 23rd similar notices were posted, and on the same date some panes of glass were found broken. I am told that Mr. Hogg is not boycotted. At the time the threatening notices were posted Mr. Hogg, who is a large farmer, stated he was not in the least afraid, but he said he was of opinion that he might not get the grazing of a particular farm let.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
I made no charge of boycotting in this particular case. What I desired to know was whether in the case of the purchase of a reversion this intimidation was to be allowed to go on.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
I really do not see what the incident that the farm was a farm under the Ashbourne Act has to do with this case at all.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
Then I must explain the nature of the case. A charge of land-grabbing was advanced against this man. I want to make it clear that the landlord in the case is the British public; that this is not an ordinary case of landlord and tenant, but that it is the case of a farm being evicted because the tenant failed to make the payments of his purchase agreement under the Ashbourne Act.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
My argument is that I am being criticised for the defective administration of the law, and that the particular circumstances under which the farm was annexed are immaterial. The point here is that the man himself declared to the police that he was not being boycotted. I now come to the general question, which I shall deal with briefly. Now, what is our position with regard to evicted farms? I think that it will meet with the approval of the Committee. A meeting in the vicinity of a vacated farm is prevented, not necessarily because the Executive have come to the conclusion that such a meeting might lead to an illegal act—such as intimidation, or 1597 otherwise endangering the peace—but it is prevented as a precautionary measure. The question of proximity as regards these meetings is undoubtedly an element which any Executive must take into consideration, and the hot). Gentleman has admitted it to be so. Very well, then, That allowed, then it becomes a question of the degree of removal of the meeting to a point some distance off which is necessary in order to lessen the danger to the public peace and the security of individuals. As regards fixing a mile, if you fix any limit beyond which a meeting can take place—unless you name a limit of 100 miles, which is absurd—you are open to the hon. Member for Tyrone making merry over you. That is inseparable from anything we may do in that direction. The mile was suggested as a matter of guidance to the constabulary; and they find that it is an adequate distance to fix. If you say that the distance is not adequate then it lies on you to show that a meeting held within that distance has led to danger, outrage, and loss and impairment of the just civil rights of the man occupying the evicted farm. I do not profess to lay down a general rule of policy for all countries, and of all countries for Ireland. Bur I say that it is enough to affirm that in the present state of Ireland at all events, admitted to be healthy by more than one hon. Member, it would be perfect madness to excite and inflame public feeling by any needless interference with meetings. Every case of a meeting must be governed by its own conditions, and judged and measured by its own circumstances, and I desire to repeat that in all this action I personally and individually am responsible. Hon. Gentlemen from Ireland are good enough to try to absolve me from responsibility with regard to suppressing meetings, on the ground that I am in the hands of the permanent officials and others whom they suppose to be ruled by bad traditions. Let me assure them that I alone am responsible, and that they do an injustice to those officials. Everyone of these cases has been submitted to me personally, and each has been considered and decided on by myself. That will convince the hon. Member for South Tyrone that if my eyes are shut to what is going on in Ireland, it is not for want of trouble on my part to try and ascertain all that is going on in Ireland; and I think my eyes are open wider and 1598 truer than the hon. Member for South Tyrone has shown his own to be in this Debate. But I do not stand on good intentions. I stand on the result of my two years' administration. The monthly Reports from each one of the Divisions of Ireland at this moment attest the satisfactory condition of the country, and they lead me to feel confident that those who anticipate a recrudescence of outrage, and those who assert that a recrudescence of outrage has taken place, have taken up a position which they cannot substantiate by facts or figures. In the South-Eastern Division there is no boycotting; or intimidation. Denunciations of land-grabbing in general or particular have no intimidating effect as a rule. In the Western Division there is practically no case of boycotting, nor is there airy reason to apprehend that cases will arise. In the West there is one rather serious case of attempting to intimidate, which we shall watch closely and try to prevent any mischief happening. In the North there is no boycotting, and even in the disturbed area of the South it is stated that there is a decided and marked improvement. Clare at the present time is more peaceable than it has been for many years past, and the improvement is noticeable in districts which were formerly very disturbed areas. Do the Committee suppose that if our administration has been so slack and careless as has been represented, such Reports as these would have been received from those most responsible for the condition of the country? It is assumed that we are doing something that no Government has ever done before, in refusing to take advantage of every opportunity for suppressing a meeting or instituting a prosecution. Every Government is guided by considerations of executive discretion. When gentlemen opposite were at the Irish Office, does anybody suppose that there were no cases of an intimidatory nature in which they did not prosecute? The special records show that when gentlemen opposite were in power cases occurred in which speeches were made and resolutions passed of an intimidatory nature, and on which prosecutions were advised by the Attorney General and the police, and yet the Government, taking all the circumstances into consideration, did not deem it wise to prosecute. I have a long list of such cases here; and no one, I am sure, will 1599 deny that the Executive Government is bound to consider whether more harm than good was likely to result from a prosecution. I could show numbers of cases in which energetic action—coercive action—has done more harm than good, and I could show cases also in which refusals to prosecute have done more good than harm by a great deal. Now, as to the statistics of crime. The hon. Member for South Tyrone stated, I believe correctly, that 1,067 was the total number of agrarian outrages that were reported to have taken place in Munster in the four years 1890–93, and that the number of cases in which persons were made amenable—that is, cases in which persons were charged—amounted to 942 in those four years. Agrarian crime was lower in Munster in the year 1893 than in any of the three previous years. The percentage of cases in which persons were not made amenable or escaped detection was lower also in 1893 than in 1891 or 1892. The hon. Member for South Tyrone therefore gains no support for his case from these figures, at any rate so far as Munster is concerned. In County Clare, on which the hon. Member laid so much stress, the total number of agrarian outrages, omitting threatening letters and notices, for the six months from January to June 13 was in 1891, 23, in 1892, 17, in 1893, 22, and in 1894, 10—that is to say, in the last five months the agrarian outrages in County Clare have been reduced to 10, a reduction of upwards of 50 per cent, on 1891 and 1893. Now, then, the number of convictions, and let the hon. Member and those who are impressed by what he says listen to this. From January to June in 1891 the number of cases in which persons were made amenable was two out of 23, in 1892 three out of 17, in 1893 nine out of 22, and in 1894 two out of ten reported cases, which is a better percentage of convictions than has marked the previous years. Only one more set of figures. Taking the five completed mouths of this year and comparing them with the same five months in 1892, under the late Government, we find the following facts. From January to May this year 46 agrarian outrages were reported, excluding threatening letters and notices. During the same period in 1892 there were 97—that is to say, there has been a reduction in the number of reported agrarian outrages all over Ireland, comparing those two periods, of 52 per cent. 1600 Well, Sir, I am content to base my case on those figures. It may be said that statistics are deceptive, and I am quite aware that statistics of agrarian crime are not in all circumstances absolutely decisive. Intimidatory acts may be practised with such success that crime may be reduced, and an illusory condition of peace may exist, but in the present state of Ireland, and in view of what is reported by responsible and competent men, it is absurd to raise any such objection as that. It may be contended that the greater the facilities given to intimidation and the less the resistance and the less the appearance of disorder the more dangerous and deceptive that superficial appearance of order and peace may be. But, after all, this is a question of fact. You can get no light from those general propositions. As a matter of fact, boycotting in Ireland is now less under, and less injurious in every way than it certainly has been for the last 14 or 15 years. That is a broad fact, which I lay before the Committee as a reason why the Amendment should be rejected. I do not put it simply on figures and Reports. I challenge the hon. Member for Tyrone or any gentleman opposite to ask any five decently competent men in Ireland—I would almost say any five Judges in Ireland—whether they have ever known the country quieter than it is at present. There is not one of them who will not tell you what I have told you. Whatever the explanation may be, whether it is due to the administration of the present Leader of the Opposition, whether it is due to good weather, whether it is due to the action of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, or to the action of the clergy, whatever the explanation may be, hon. Members ought not to waste the time of the House and mislead the country by trying to make the country believe that the state of Ireland is worse than it is. My own view of the proper administration of Ireland was expressed in 1886 by the noble Lord the Member for Paddington, when he said that Ireland was like a horse. It requires you to sit firm. "Do not job it in the mouth with the bit. Sit firm and do not fidget." That is our policy, and I submit that that policy of what I may call firm, vigilant, and energetic common sense is a great deal more calculated to preserve peace and order in Ireland than the spurious vigour 1601 and blundering violence recommended by the hon. Gentleman the Member for South Tyrone.
§ MR. CARSON
said, he congratulated the Chief Secretary on being able this year, at all events, to draw his salary for an office which, on the right hon. Gentleman's own showing, was almost a sinecure. He was ready to admit with the right hon. Gentleman that what hitherto he had considered to be serious agrarian crime in Ireland had undoubtedly diminished, but he could not but think that the statistics the right hon. Gentleman had quoted were entirely misleading and absolutely useless. The whole bone of contention between the right hon. Gentleman and the Unionist Members was that the latter thought that a certain class of persons whom hon. Members below the Gangway went to Ireland to denounce as land-grabbers — though they were only exercising a perfectly legal right—ought to be allowed to exercise their rights as citizens without being so interfered with. The right hon. Gentleman did not look upon the attempt to injure these people in the same serious light as the Members of the Opposition did. The right hon. Gentleman said, "You must wait until some physical outrage or injury has occurred," and, no matter what social discomfort was caused to these persons, the right hon. Gentleman thought it was better to be by and do nothing. On the other hand, the Members of the Opposition declared that these people ought to be protected in the exercise of their legal rights; and they got absolutely no satisfaction in the speech of the Chief Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman said that the hon. Member for Belfast based his case on a poverty of evidence. The hon. Member brought forward 45 cases of persons being denounced by name because they had exercised the legal right of taking land from which others were evicted. It was all very well for the Chief Secretary, or anyone else living in London, to profess that a man might be very comfortable while a meeting to denounce him is held within a mile of his door. But he wished the Chief Secretary might be turned into an Irish landgrabber for a short time. How would the right hon. Gentleman like it to be said afterwards in the House of Commons —"Oh, there has been no physical injury. He has received no hurt to his body, and I shall institute no prosecution." The 1602 45 cases referred to were all infringements of the most elementary rights of a British citizen. The right hon. Gentleman analysed two only of those cases. He would take first the case of Bradley. What was the admitted condition of Bradley according to the Chief Secretary himself. The right hon. Gentleman admitted that this man lost the customers who used to come to his mill. He admitted that his workmen left him, that the smith in the district would not work for him. In fact, the right hon. Gentleman admitted all the elements that went to make up the boycotting of this unfortunate man Bradley. How was this boycotting commenced? It was initiated by one of the hon. Members below the Gangway going down to Kells and at a meeting denouncing Bradley, and calling upon the people to bring about the results which afterwards happened. And what did the right hon. Gentleman do? Did he put an end to the boycotting? Did he try to put the law in force against his supporters below the Gangway? No; but when the right hon. Gentleman was questioned in the House about the case he said that no harm had been done to Bradley. He did not know what the right hon. Gentleman meant by saying that no harm had been done. Had not the man's customers left him? Had not his workmen deserted him? Had not the smith refused to work for him? Did he mean that if these ordinary everyday incidents took place there was no harm done. The Chief Secretary, who was accountable for seeing the law administered in favour of this man, was not carrying out the most elementary principle of Government if he failed to render him the support of the law so much needed. It was useless to try and debate the question as long as the right hon. Gentleman asserted that this boycotting, or what he called attempts at boycotting, were the right of one citizen towards another in Ireland, and that people might go on as long as they liked compelling others not to deal with a man so long as they did not do him any physical injury. Bradley's case was a typical instance of the failure of the right hon. Gentleman's methods to bring about social peace in this particular class of cases. The right hon. Gentleman said that a great deal of ridicule had been thrown on that interesting phenomenon recently brought into existence in Ireland, known as "Morley's 1603 Mile." The right hon. Gentleman said that this plan, by which a meeting held to deal with the conduct of a man on a certain farm was illegal if held near that farm, but perfectly legal if held a mile away, had worked well. The right hon. Gentleman said that proximity must be taken into consideration. But had "Morley's Mile" worked in the case to which he had referred? Why, it had led to all the circumstances he had enumerated, and by the adoption of this system they were reducing the principle of law as to legal assemblies to the most grotesque performance which any responsible Minister had ever attempted to carry out. He would ask the Committee to consider for a moment the right hon. Gentleman's method of dealing with these people. Of course, the right hon. Gentleman had no right to disperse these meetings unless they were illegal assemblies. That was the very foundation of his action; therefore, they started with this, that an illegal assembly was proposed to be held in a particular district. But the meeting must be illegal. The right hon. Gentleman had thrown out something about "apprehending illegality." That was not a point which would have been conceded to the late Government when they were in power—that they could disperse meetings when they "apprehended" illegality. They would have had to show that the meeting itself was illegal; therefore they must start with this, that the meeting the right hon. Gentleman proposed to disperse was an illegal assembly. Well, did the right hon. Gentleman really say that when the same meeting, for the same object, composed of the same people going to make exactly the same speeches, which would be illegal if held in close proximity to the farm, became legal if held a mile away? The matter was not arguable, and the truth was that this extraordinary phenomenon that sprang into existence—according to the statement of the hon. Member for Tyrone— somewhere about the 24th of August, 1892, was invented by the right hon. Gentleman, because he wanted to give the minimum of government with the maximum of satisfaction to hon. Members below the Gangway, because he felt he could not carry on the government of Ireland if he allowed these illegal meetings to continue without protest, while if he forbade them altogether he would 1604 not have the support of those hon. Members. Therefore "Morley's mile," which, he was reminded, had not even the virtue of being an Irish mile, but was an English one, came about as the effect of the extraordinary union witnessed in this Parliament between lawlessness and law. He now came to the case of Thomas. The right hon. Gentleman had made a statement he concurred with—and he was always so pleased when he could confirm anything the right hon. Gentleman stated that he would venture to recall the statement to the mind of the Committee. The right hon. Gentleman had said that when men were dealing with Irish affairs they ought to be circumspect and incredulous. He asked the right hon. Gentleman to remember his own maxim, and, in relation to the case of Thomas, to be circumspect and incredulous. What did he tell them? He said it was true that the solicitor would not act for the man, that the miller would not grind his corn, that the workmen left him, and that a meeting had happened to be held in the neighbourhood immediately before. But, said the right hon. Gentleman, these incidents had no reference to the meeting. Did the right hon. Gentleman really believe that? Did the right hon. Gentleman really believe that the very day after the meeting, for the first moment, the solicitor began to wonder where he was to get his costs from, that the very day after the meeting for the first moment the miller thought that too small an order had been sent to him, and that the very day after the meeting for the first moment the workman discovered that his poor father was not so well as he used to be? All he (Mr. Carson) could say was that when the right hon. Gentleman seriously got up and asked the Committee to believe that these were true, bonâ fide excuses, he asked him in the government of Ireland to be a little more circumspect and incredulous. In this case they found exactly what happened in Bradley's case. An hon. Member below the Gangway initiated the meeting, and went down to the district and commanded everything to be done that was done, and did the right hon. Gentleman think it was fair towards the man Thomas that he should not proceed against the hon. Member simply because he wished to retain his vote—that he should protect the Member who had the vote rather than the man who not 1605 only could not come here, but probably could not go anywhere else, and vote either for or against the right hon. Gentleman. The case of Hogg was one which deserved the attention of those who had been looking so closely after the interests of the Revenue and the Chancellor of the Exchequer of late. He was sorry the Chancellor of the Exchequer was not present, because if he were he might be convinced that it would be as well to endeavour to protect the Revenue in respect of these Irish tenants as to overburden agricultural interests in England by imposing excessive Death Duties. In the case of Hogg, what crime had he committed? He had simply assisted the right hon. Gentleman to get back a portion of the money advanced by the State, and if ever there was a case in which the State ought to have protected a tenant, that was the one. The right hon. Gentleman said the man was living in his home as comfortably as anyone could wish to live in Ireland, or any other part of the world. Pie said nothing happened to Hogg, except that boycotting notices were put upon the chapel, that as a consequence all the windows of his house were broken, that he found that he could not let his grass land, but that he might stock it himself. That was a nice system of liberty in a civilised country, and it was a nice system of government for a Chief Secretary to boast of in the House of Commons. He (Mr. Carson) came back to what he said before—namely, that really the bone of contention between them was were these people or were they not to be allowed to live as ordinary citizens exercising their ordinary rights in a free country. The object in raising this Debate had been to show that although outrage might be less in Ireland—in the way in which the Government understood the meaning of the word outrage— and though agrarian crime might be diminished, the right hon. Gentleman was trying to legalise boycotting, and to prevent it being looked upon as a crime, and agrarian crime had to a large extent become unnecessary, because boycotting was supreme. The Opposition would certainly have been grossly wanting in their duty towards those they thought ought to be protected in Ireland if they had not brought this matter before the Court. [Laughter.] Well, he wished these matters had been brought before 1606 the Court. They were now brought before the House with a view to directing attention to doctrines which had been expressed with impunity in Ireland. There was one matter on which he wished the right hon. Gentleman had said a word before he sat down, and that was as to the statement about which he (Mr. Carson) had challenged him expressly in the House. He wished to know whether the statement of the hon. Member for Mayo was or was not made with the authority of the right hon. Gentleman? The hon. Member for Mayo told the people in Tipperary that, so far as the Government were concerned, they might go on with impunity preaching and teaching these doctrines of boycotting and intimidation towards certain classes in Ireland. They had gone on, and the Government had not interfered, and to that extent there was foundation for the belief in Ireland that the statement of the hon. Member, who was a near adviser of the Chief Secretary, was an inspired statement. He did not know whether that statement was put forward with a view to the Evicted Tenants Bill. That was a matter that they would probably have to discuss on a future occasion, but all he could say was that so long as he saw this system of boycotting in Ireland existing in its present state, and the law paralysed, he would withhold any concurrence in the administration of the Chief Secretary, when he proposed to hand over those persons who had taken evicted farms to the tender mercies of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. He should certainly support the Motion for the reduction if it went to a Division, not in the slightest degree desiring to see the Chief Secretary lose £2,000, but in the desire to emphasize in every way he could his belief that however successful the right hon. Gentleman might be in other respects he had not fully realised the importance to the social condition of Ireland of maintaining the liberties of the people of that country.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
I have two Notices on the Paper in regard to the Chief Secretary's Office. I wish to ask whether, if this Amendment is disposed of now, the Government proposes to take the Vote in the absence of discussion on other items?
§ MR. J. MORLEY
Yes, Sir. The Government intend to take the Vote. 1607 The other points are of a very subordinate character, and can well be raised on Report if it is thought advisable to do so.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided: —Ayes 172; Noes 211.—(Division List, No. 113.)
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ Mr. T. W. RUSSELL rose.
§ Question put, "That the Original Question be now put."
§ The Committee divided: —Ayes 210; Noes 160.—(Division List, No. 114.)
§ Original Question put accordingly, and agreed to.
§ It being after half-past Five of the clock, the Chairman left the Chair to make his report to the House.
§ Resolutions to be reported To-morrow; Committee to sit again upon Friday.