§ MR. WILLIAM JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) if his attention has been called to proceedings at the Sligo Borough Court, on the 3rd and 4th February, presided over by the Mayor; (2) whether he has seen the report of the questions put to a witness, Rev. Mr. 910 Hoffe, by the Mayor, when he asked him—"Do you believe in purgatory? Do you believe in the Immaculate Conception?" (3) whether, when an application was made by the Crown Counsel for an adjournment of the case, to enable the police authorities to take the witness (Rev. John Hoffe) by train to some place where he could obtain the hotel accommodation refused at Sligo, the Chairman said, "Can't you send him over to the gaol until morning?" (4) whether, when Mr. Williams was under examination, the Mayor is correctly reported to have said that he had a certain number of questions to ask—viz., "Do you believe in Papal infallibility? Do you believe in Transubstantiation?" and (5) whether he will consider the propriety of laying this matter before the Lord Lieutenant with a view to the expediency of taking action thereon?
MR. PATRICK A.M'HUGH (Leitrim, N.)
Mr. Speaker, as I am personally referred to in this question, I ask you to give me permission to say I do not consider that the subject-matter of the question is of sufficient public importance intrinsically, or of sufficient general interest to warrant me in troubling the House with an explanation in regard to the allegations made in it. I have only to say that in reference to the discharge of the functions attaching to the office I hold as Mayor of Sligo, I do not acknowledge any responsibility either to this House or to the Lord Lietenant of Ireland. [Nationalist cheers.] I hold my Commission of the Peace as Chief Magistrate, from my fellow citizens, and I accept their judgment only on my public proceedings, and the judgment of any foreign or alien tribunal I shall always treat with indifference and contempt. [Nationalist cheers and cries of "Order, order!"]
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. GERALD BALFOUR,) Leeds, Central
I understand that the second and third paragraphs accurately describe, so far as they go, what took place on the occasion, but I do not think that there is anything in the language complained of which calls for further notice on the part either of the Lord Lieutenant or the Lord Chancellor.
§ MR. JASPER TULLY
asked whether the right hon. Gentleman would make 911 inquiry with reference to disturbances created by the man Williams through street preaching?
§ MR. W. JOHNSTON
asked, whether, if there was to be an Inquiry, it would have reference also to the action of the Mayor of Sligo? [Laughter, and Nationalist cries of "Order!"]
§ No answer was given.