§ 2. "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. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
said, he wished to make some further remarks with regard to the boycotting of Mr. Bradley. The House would remember that on Wednesday last the Chief Secretary made the statement—It is quite true that Bradley suffered some annoyance, but this has now practically ceased. His customers are going back to his mill, and no other trouble is anticipated.He had since received a letter from Mr. Bradley stating that his trade as a miller had been utterly destroyed, that he was boycotted at fairs, that a carpenter who had worked for him had been boycotted, that no farmer would give him land for potatoes, and that he had been obliged to erect a forge for the shoeing of his own horses. This did not look as though the annoyance had practically ceased. Now, Mr. Bradley was a man of the highest respectability. He was a member of the class from which the Lord Chancellor was selecting persons for appointment to the office of Magistrate. Mr. Bradley was as incapable of misleading either himself or the Chief Secretary as any Member of that House. The Chief Secretary, however, relied upon the police. He (Mr. Russell) said, upon his own responsibility, that the police in this division had actually and absolutely perverted the facts of this case. It must be understood that he was making no general charge against the police. He knew, in fact, that they were an exceptionally able body of men. But while he wanted to make it clear that he 1718 was making no general charge against the police, he repeated that they had thoroughly perverted the facts in this case, and that the boycott of Mr. Bradley was as real to-day as it was upon the day that the meeting was held. Why did not the Chief Secretary order a prosecution in a case of this kind? The right hon. Gentleman had told the House that if he made an uproar the state of things would be worse. He (Mr. Russell) would tell the House why the right hon. Gentleman did not prosecute. The reason was that he would have to rely on the ordinary law, inasmuch as he had discarded the Crimes Act, and he knew that if he resorted to the ordinary law the jury empannelled at the trial would consist of persons who were concerned in this boycott. The right hon. Gentleman knew that his hands were tied behind his back, and that a prosecution would not be of the slightest use. Here was another matter arising out of the Debate of the previous day, to which reference ought to be made. The following letter, dated the 19th of May, had been written to Mr. Bradley by a Magistrate and an independent man with whom Mr. Bradley had had business dealings for 25 years—Dear Sir,As you may easily guess, I cannot send the goods you want at present. If I did I would lose all my trade.In face of a letter of this kind, what folly it was for the Chief Secretary to say that the trouble, as far as Mr. Bradley was concerned, had practically ceased and that there was no necessity for action I On the previous day, in the absence of the hon. Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon), whom he was glad to see present now, he had read an extract from a speech delivered by that hon. Member at Nenagh in the month of April, and reported in The Freeman's Journal, and he asked the Chief Secretary whether he endorsed the hon. Member's language. In the course of the speech the hon. Member (Mr. Dillon) said—I hear that evicted farms are being taken in some parts of Ireland—I trust not here. If they are being taken it is not the fault of the Government, it is the fault of the people themselves. I am not afraid to tell the people that they are not working hard enough. Organise on the old lines; practise the old principle. You are free to do it now. Do not blame the Government, blame yourselves.1719 The Chief Secretary had, in his speech on the previous day, boycotted the how. Member for East Mayo. He (Mr. Russell) had asked whether the Government had entered into any arrangement with the hon. Member for East Mayo that authorised the hon. Member to use such language in Ireland? What did the hon. Member mean when he said that if evicted farms were being taken it was not the fault of the Government? What did he mean when he advised people to resort to their old practices and to work on the old lines—that was to say, the practices of the lines of the Land League? What did he mean when he told them they were free to do it now? Did not such language convey that if they resorted to the old practices and worked on the old lines the Government would not interfere with them? If it did not mean that it did not mean anything. The Chief Secretary for Ireland might say that he was not responsible for the hon. Member for East Mayo. The hon. Member, however, was a Member of the Party which boasted that it held the Government in the hollow of its hand. Everybody knew that this was true. It was a most serious thing for a Member in the position of the hon. Member for East Mayo to tell the Irish peasantry that they were free to work on the old lines, and to go on in the old practices, and that the Government would not oppose them. There was only one other point to which he wished to refer— namely, the proposal of the Chief Secretary for Ireland to give a sum of £15,000 to aid in the formation of a Veterinary College in Ireland. He did not object to the object, which was a good one, but he objected to the taking of the £15,000 from a fund voted by the House for intermediate education in Ireland.
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. MORLEY,) Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Will the hon. Gentleman pardon me? The proposal I made to a certain body of gentlemen in Dublin has nothing to do with the Veterinary Department. They proposed to found a College, and I said—"If you comply with certain conditions I specify, I will ask Parliament to sanction the taking of £15,000 for this College."
§ MR. J. MORLEY
Clearly it has not. It is a proposal to bring in a Bill asking Parliament to allocate a certain £15,000.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
Then under the circumstances I will not proceed further with the matter. [Home Rule ironical cheers.] I do not understand the jeers of hon. Members opposite. I am quite willing, on the statement of the Chief Secretary that he thinks it does not come under this Vote, to leave the matter there. I will now ask the Chief Secretary to give us some illustration of the state of affairs in Ireland, and especially in Kilkenny, as illustrated by his speech yesterday, and by the speech of the hon. Member for East Mayo, which I have quoted.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
With regard to the question of the Veterinary College, of course the proper occasion on which the hon. Member should make any observations he has to make on my proposal is when I introduce a Bill for allocating the sum of £15,000. With reference to the case of Mr. Bradley, the statements I made yesterday were statements founded on information supplied to me from the only source to which I can look for information as to the condition of Ireland or the condition of Kilkenny or any other county—namely, the high and responsible police authorities in the district. The information I conveyed to the House was information that had been conveyed to me. The hon. Member asks how it was that I was not aware of all the facts, or rather allegations, that have been addressed to him by Mr. Bradley. I have nothing whatever to say against Mr. Bradley. I know very little about him. I have, of course, followed the circumstances attending the meeting, as it was my duty to do, but I have nothing whatever to say about Mr. Bradley. I think that those who listened to the Debate that took place between the how and learned Member and me yesterday, however, will understand me when I say that I cannot offhand accept any allegations made by the hon. Member as to any 1721 given case of boycotting. [Home Rule cheers.] He tells me he does not impugn my good faith.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
I was only saying that, just as he does not impugn my good faith about a variety of points on which our information differs, so I do not impugn his sincerity or good faith; but before I accept either of the letters he has read, I must certainly be allowed to ask for the opportunity of testing the statements they contain. If he will give me the letters I will inquire into his general statements. Meanwhile, I am persuaded that it is impossible that the Police Authorities should have conveyed to him such general information as I have stated to the House unless they had good reason for doing so. The hon. Member says that I do not take proceedings in this case and in other eases because I have discarded the Crimes Act. Supposing the meeting had been summoned for Kilkenny before the late Government went out of Office. I believe the proclamation bringing Kilkenny within the operation of the Crimes Act had been withdrawn. No doubt, it could have been put in force again; but does he believe that the late Government would have issued the proclamation again for one single case? I do not believe it, and I do not believe that either the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Jackson) or the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. A. J. Balfour) will say that they would have done so. The hon. Member has given up the police.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
What right has the right hon. Gentleman to say that? Did I not state that I made no charge generally against the police; that I confined my attack to this case, and to the police responsible for this case? I guarded myself against any general charge against the police.
§ MR. J. MORLEY
I must repeat that the hon. Member has given up the police, at all events in the County of Kilkenny. It is quite true that he said he was not attacking the whole 11,000 or 12,000 men in the Irish Constabulary; but he has given up the only body of police who were competent to give any evidence on 1722 this subject. Well, he gives up the police; he gives up juries; and the only men in Ireland to whom he thinks the Government can look for justice are the Resident Magistrates. I do not take as low a view as he does of the organisation and the administration of the law in Ireland. He asked me a question as to a speech made by my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo (Mr. Dillon). I hope my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo will not think ill of me if I say that I did not at the time, and do not now, know how to put a precise construction as far as the action of the Government is concerned upon his sentences. But if the hon. Member asks me whether there is a compact between my hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo and myself, and whether the Government have, in order to please the hon. Member for East Mayo, consented to connive at and wink at boycotting and at the mischief which has followed and may follow from boycotting, he knows very well what my answer will be. He knows that since I have been responsible for the administration of Ireland there has been no winking at or connivance with boycotting, and that no effort has been left undone to prevent any injustice being perpetrated in Ireland. There is no compact between me and gentlemen opposite that I, as the man responsible for executive action in Ireland, should abstain from doing my duty. The hon. Member yesterday had a fair field for impugning the exercise of my authority, and what a case did he make Whatever compact I 'may or may not have made, he could not produce a single case which was worth a farthing to show that I have in any respect failed to preserve order, to put down outrage, and to maintain a state of things as far as the Administration is responsible for the state of things in Ireland, which neither he nor his friends were able to produce during their period of six years with all the machinery of the Crimes Act.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
said, he had only to remark, in reference to the observations made by the hon. Member for South Tyrone in regard to his speech, that he did not consider it to be his duty nor the duty of any Member of his Party either to seek or to require authority from any Government for any language they used to their 1723 constituents in Ireland. They were responsible for any language so used to the people in Ireland and the Members of their Party. He had only further to say that in his judgment in that speech, and in other speeches he had recently delivered in Ireland, he had not broken the law. He had no doubt that when he did break the law the Chief Secretary for Ireland would bring him to account.
§ Resolutions agreed to.