§ MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Kilkenny)
proposed at the end of the Question, to add the words:—And we humbly represent to Your Majesty that the time has come when the cases of all prisoners convicted under the Treason Felon Act who are, and have been for many years, undergoing punishment for offences arising out of insurrectionary movements connected with Ireland, may be advantageously reconsidered.The hon. Member said that the Amendment was in the form of the one which had been drawn up by the late Mr. Parnell, 124 and which had been unanimously supported by his colleagues at the time he moved it. These prisoners were convicted of political offences only and ought to have been amnestied long ago. The fact that this subject had been brought so frequently before the House increased the difficulty he had in moving the Amendment, because he could not hope to exhibit the eloquence and force which the hon. Member for Waterford had done in introducing a similar Motion last year. The result of the efforts that had been made to obtain the release of these unfortunate men had not been satisfactory to the Irish people. It was true that the number of these prisoners had been reduced from 25 to five, but those who had already been released were dealt with solely on the ground that their health had suffered from their long imprisonment, and that in the event of their longer confinement they would either die, or become insane. He should doubtless be informed that the Home Secretary had recent official reports with regard to the cases of the men who were still in confinement, and that those reports showed that they were in good health; but the right hon. Gentleman's experience ought to have taught him the danger of relying too far upon such official reports. He therefore begged the right hon. Gentleman to make special inquiry into the cases of the five prisoners. Our whole prison system ought to be thoroughly investigated, unless we were prepared to admit that our prisons were established not for the purpose of correcting our prisoners and of reforming them, but of killing them or driving them mad. ["Hear, hear!"] No doubt the right hon. Gentleman had shown last Session that he desired to act in a humane way, but he thought that the right hon. Gentleman should proceed further upon the lines he then laid down. There were no two opinions on this question in Ireland, and the release of these men had been demanded by meetings of the Irish people, by corporations and boards of guardians, all over the country. The Lord Mayor of Dublin had twice presented petitions at the Bar of that House, and unless these men were released it would appear that no regard was paid to the unanimous desire 125 of the Irish people. ["Hear, hear!"] He would not try to prove that those prisoners were political offenders, be cause that was now practically admitted, but he could not refrain from reminding the House of the fact that while these men were arrested and charged with offences under the Explosives Act they were tried for treason felony, and that for offences under the Explosives Act the maximum penalty was ten years' imprisonment. The admission was squeezed out of the late Home Secretary that it would be reasonable to treat life sentences as sentences of 20 years' imprisonment. Taking that to be generally admitted, the men for whom he pleaded would be entitled to release within a year; but even another year's incarceration might be too much for them. They might be driven to death or to a lunatic asylum before the expiration of another 12 months. He did not think the security of the Empire would be in the least endangered—[cheers]—if the Government made up their minds at once that these four helpless wretches should now be restored to their families. Irish Members were amongst the foremost to claim that Dr. Jameson and his colleagues should be treated as political offenders; and he hoped the same spirit would be shown by Members of all sections of the House when the question was not one of being caught in arms against a friendly corps, but one dealing with Irishmen who had already spent 13 years in gaol, and who were certainly not actuated in what they did, or were alleged to have done, by any personal or selfish motives. The Walsall prisoners were properly tried under the Explosives Act, and were sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from ten to three years. Every one of them had now been released. He reminded the House that England was the only country which for years had never thought of granting amnesty to political offenders, and suggested that the release of the few remaining political prisoners would be one fitting commemoration of the attainment by Her Majesty of her 60th year of reign. He appealed to the Home Secretary not to let anything deter him from pursuing the humane course he seemed to adopt when he came into office.
§ MR. J. C. FLYNN (Cork, N.)
seconded the Motion, and said that those who associated themselves with the amnesty movement did not do so because they had any sympathy with what was called the dynamite policy. They did not, like the hon. Member for Salford, in whose name an Amendment to the Address appeared upon the Paper, treat these prisoners as dynamitards but as political prisoners and as men, who, whatever their offences might have been, had long since expiated their misdeeds, and who, therefore, ought to be released. The prisoners were stamped as political offenders from the very first, because the then Attorney-General, Sir Henry James, speaking at the Warwick Assizes, said:the jury had a serious duty to discharge because the prisoners were charged with the crime of treason … they were indicted under a Statute passed in 1848, and the charge was known in legal language as treasonfelony.The Judge recognised the prisoners as political offenders, and the sentences stamped them as such. Mercy had long since cried out for amnesty for these men, and Justice now demanded it. No lives were lost through the action of the men; indeed it was only fair to suppose that in what they did they were not actuated by any desire that human life should be sacrificed, Further, they demanded the favourable consideration of the cases of those men, because they held that the trials of the men were not fair. They did not mean to imply that there was any palpable or intentional unfairness committed, but unquestionably the men were tried at a time when panic existed, and when it was not unnatural that both the judge and jury might be biassed against them. Then they urged that the sentences were brutally severe—penal servitude for life for offences through which no life was lost. He questioned whether an instance of similar severity could be found in the criminal records of any other civilised country. He had no wish to institute any unfair comparison, but he felt bound to lay stress on the different way in which Dr. Jameson and his men were treated by President Kruger, and the manner in which the Irishmen in question were treated in England. In the former case the men actually rose in arms against a neighbouring friendly State, violently 127 attacked that State without authority, and life was sacrificed in that attack. Being taken in arms it was fully within the power of the Boer Government, according to the principles of international law, to have shot those men on the spot. But that course was not taken; the men were surrendered to their own Government, and they were tried and convicted, but they were now all free. Among the very first who signed the appeal that Dr. Jameson and his officers should be treated as first-class misdemeanants were Irishmen. ["Hear, hear! "] In the case of the Irish prisoners, however, no lives were lost, yet they were sentenced to penal servitude for life, and had already served nearly 14 years in prison. On the ground of contrast alone between those two instances he would ask hon. Members opposite to regard the Amendment with kindly consideration. There was a strong and unanimous feeling in Ireland in favour of the proposed amnesty. In this regard it was worthy of observation that the Irish people, notwithstanding the intense interest they took in the land question as one affecting their means of existence, showed that they felt a deeper and warmer interest in this amnesty question than in any other that affected them, and this fact he was very anxious to press on the attention of the Home Secretary. Was it conceivable that if an equally strong feeling existed in England with respect to certain prisoners, that the Home Secretary would not be influenced by it? Irishmen of all classes, without distinction of party or creed, had associated together in public meetings, and in public bodies, in support of the amnesty movement, and he maintained that no Government were justified in ignoring the unanimous appeal of a nation in such a matter. Not a little interest, either, was felt in this matter abroad. In proof of it he might mention this significant fact—that last year the Legislative Council of Cape Colony passed a resolution calling on the Government of the Colony to approach the Imperial Government with a request that they would extend to the Irish political prisoners similar clemency to that extended by President Kruger to the Transvaal raiders. That resolution was sent home, but no information had been given as to the answer sent, although the Colonial Secretary was 128 questioned about the matter at the time. Finally, they asked for the favourable consideration of the cases of the prisoners on the grounds of mercy and justice, on the grounds that the men were political prisoners, and on the ground that they had already suffered terribly and sufficiently for the offences they committed. [Cheers.]
§ MR. GEORGE MURNAGHAN (Tyrone, Mid),
in supporting the Amendment, said there was no matter in which the whole Irish people felt so deep and sympathetic an interest as in this amnesty proposal. While he disclaimed any desire to make light of the crimes for which the men were convicted, yet, under the circumstances, seeing that no life was lost by the offences of the men, and that they had already endured between 13 and 14 years of awful punishment, he thought no good or useful purpose could be served by keeping the prisoners longer in prison; for the Government might be assured that this matter was really felt as a cankering sore among the people of Ireland, and would remain so, preventing all efforts at reconciliation as long as the men were kept in prison. Moreover, the Irish people were deeply affected by the conviction—he feared it was not altogether unfounded—that the treatment of prisoners in the English convict prisons was seriously wanting in humane consideration, and circumstances had led to that impression being entertained abroad. But however that might be—though it was a matter to which severe attention ought to be given by the Government—the whole Irish nation, at home and abroad, were in favour of the amnesty, and surely their request was entitled to respectful consideration at least. The Irish Members and people thought that, even though the crimes committed by the men were heinous and were to be deprecated, yet that the time had come for a favourable consideration of their case. And, indeed, as had been said, no time for doing so could be more opportune than now, when Her Majesty had entered on the 60th year of her reign; the act of clemency at present would be especially a gracious act on the part of the Government, and would be a more forcible means than any other of convincing the Irish people that, after all, there was not always a disposition on the part of the Government to turn a 129 deaf ear to their demands through the voice of their representatives. He maintained that on all grounds the demand made was a reasonable one, to which no man of humane feeling could object. He felt confident that if the Government opened the prison doors to the men they would run no risk by doing so of opposition or of rebellion among their own supporters, for, on grounds of humanity, he was sure there were many hon. Members opposite, and a large number of people in Great Britain, who thought the time had come when clemency might reasonably be exercised. There were already too many disturbing elements between the two countries. If this one, the greatest, was removed, it would do much to soften the others, and show that the English people and Government had a real sympathy with the Irish people. It was the general desire of the people throughout all parts of the country that this matter should be settled, and that the release of the men should remove a serious cause of grievance. He hoped the Home Secretary would continue his investigations, and would come to the conclusion that the ends of justice had been amply met by the sentences which the men had already served.
§ MR. J. J. CLANCY (Dublin Co., N.)
said he desired to avoid going into the merits of the case which had been debated in that House for several years in succession. He desired to call attention to an incident which had occurred that day, and which threw some light, according to their mind, upon the circumstances under which these men were convicted 13 or 14 years ago. The House was aware that within the last three or four months the country had been excited with a story of a fresh dynamite conspiracy. Three arrests were made in connection with the alleged revival of the dynamite conspiracy—two in a foreign country, from which the men could not be extradited, and one in Great Britain. The man arrested in Great Britain was put on his trial in London the day before yesterday. That morning the case against Bell or Ivory had been abandoned, and he was now an absolutely free man. He had not read the report of the proceedings, but he had not much hesitation in guessing why the case was abandoned after it had proceeded so far. At the preliminary invest- 130 tigation the most important witness for the Crown vas an informer, a, certain spy, who was brought over from America, and whose career presented a very strong resemblance to that still more famous spy Major Le Caron. He had not the least doubt the advisers of the Crown shrank from putting that man into the box, for if that course had been followed he believed evidence would probably have been given which would have proved not the guilt of Bell, but the complicity of certain Government officials in crimes which they had pretended to trace to these accused persons. He could not help saying that to his mind, at all events, this proved, what they had always felt and believed, that the trials of these men 13 or 14 years ago were not only unfair in respect of the circumstances of panic in which they were held, but that they were fatally prejudiced by the means taken by certain Government officials to concoct the case against men whom it was thought desirable to convict. In view of what had taken place that morning he was justified in asking the House to refrain from passing judgment on the question whether, after all, these trials of 13 or 14 years ago were fair. He would ask whether these men had not really been punished enough already. That was the question before the House. Other persons, not Irishmen, had been tried for exactly the same offence, but while one, an Irishman, was sentenced to a life sentence, the other, a foreigner, received only ten years. The only conclusion they could come to was that the difference in race made all the difference in the case. It would require a very great deal of explanation to remove that belief and conviction from the minds of the Irish people. A Member of the House, a supporter of the Government, had put upon the Notice Paper an Amendment practically censuring the Home Secretary for having liberated four of these prisoners within the last few months. He confessed he was astonished at any such Amendment appearing on the Paper. The Home Secretary needed no defence from him in that respect. It was perfectly well known that he had refused to liberate those men on grounds of policy. He had released them on medical grounds, and he thought it savoured rather of inhumanity, of gross cruelty, and of utter disregard for human 131 life to question the exercise of the clemency of the Crown in cases, in two of which within one week or ten days that the men were released one man had to be confined to the asylum and the other man was undoubtedly found to be out of his mind. He pressed the Home Secretary not to be deterred by any such Amendment as that of the hon. Member for Salford. He was not surprised that a Member of the Tory Party, who had taken a strong view on this question—
§ MR. CLANCY
said he was not going to discuss the question of the Amendment any further. He was only going to point out that he was not surprised that such an Amendment should have been put on the paper after a certain speech of the late Home Secretary, in Scotland. He had invited Gentlemen to put such Amendments on the Paper. If he recollected rightly, the right hon. Gentleman did not in direct and express terms find fault with the Home Secretary for having released these men, but he said: "When I was in office this man Gallagher was perfectly sane." There was another way, to his mind, of censuring the Home Secretary—
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! I must remind the hon. Member that the question before the House is not the propriety of the conduct of the Home Secretary in releasing those who have been released, but as to whether those who are still prisoners should be released.
§ MR. CLANCY
said he would only press on the Home Secretary the consideration advanced by his hon. Friend the Member for Kilkenny, that the right hon. Gentleman should not trust too much to those medical reports sent to the Home Office from time to time. He recalled to the right hon. Gentleman's attention one or two questions and answers which passed in the House a few years ago. On February 3, 1893, his hon. Friend the Member for East Clare (Mr. W. Redmond) put this question to the late Home Secretary:—Whether he had read the statement attributed to Callan, a prisoner lately released, that Dr. Gallagher, a convict in Portland Prison, was insane, and whether the Home Secretary would sanction an independent medical inquiry into Dr. Gallagher's condition?132 The late Home Secretary replied:—I have read the statement attributed to Callan. It is totally without foundation in fact. In view of this and similar allegations I have made careful inquiries respecting the mental condition of Gallagher, with the result that I have come to the conclusion that he is perfectly sane. There is no ground in my opinion for an independent medical inquiry.That was not the only question. He himself asked on August 29, 1893—whether any medical experts had, at the instance of the right hon. Gentleman, examined into the state of mind of Dr. Gallagher, and if so, whether he would state their names and the result.The Home Secretary replied:—Yes. Gallagher was on the 5th of this month, at my direction, examined by one of our most eminent authorities in mental disease, Dr. Hack Tuke. The result of Dr. Tuke's examination was entirely in accordance with the Reports previously made to me by the medical officers of the prison. All agree that the convict exhibits no symptoms of mental unsoundness.Yet in the face of these answers was the fact that in August last the present Home Secretary felt obliged, on the basis of a medical report that Dr. Gallagher was either mad or verging towards madness, to order the release of the prisoner, and after his release it was necessary to confine him to an asylum. ["Hear, hear! "] Then he asked the Home Secretary whether he ought to place so much reliance on medical reports for keeping men in prison until the last moment. Another consideration he urged on the right hon. Gentleman was that the release of the four men had not been followed by any consequences the Government need regret. On the contrary, if that action had been followed by any material consequences, they were such as should gratify the Government. The Irish people applauded the action of the Home Secretary, and he urged the right hon. Gentleman to continue his policy, and to consider the cases of the other men from a humane point of view, and not to be deterred from the exercise of that clemency humanity demanded by any considerations of policy. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. JASPER TULLY (Leitrim, S.)
added his voice in support of this plea, and testified to the strong feeling in Ireland upon this amnesty question. Much was heard from hon. Gentlemen 133 opposite as to the time wasted in the discussion of Irish grievances, but if they would press their friends in office to follow the dictates of humanity in this instance they might remove this grievance, which else must from time to time be raised in the House. Further, such an act of clemency would go a long way to assuage Irish feeling. When last year the Land Act was passed, and this was followed by the release of John Daly and his friends, the bitterness of Irish feeling was assuaged, and the conduct of the Executive contrasted favourably with that of their predecessors in office. It was hoped that this act of clemency would be followed by the release of the remaining prisoners, and the House would be spared these repeated debates. Of course it was felt that the discovery of the alleged plot intervened to tie the hands of the Home Secretary, but now, when the prosecution had broken down, the opportunity offered for the release of the remaining victims. ["Hear, hear! "] A strong refusal now would force on the minds of the Irish people that, in their work of remedying the grievances of Ireland, the Government were not sincere, and that the release of John Daly and his companions was not due to any feeling of clemency, but was simply because medical reports forced the Government to take that course. Having gone so far in this direction, he hoped the right hon. Gentleman would take this further step and remove this Irish grievance.
§ MR. H. J. WILSON (York. W.R., Holmfirth)
joined his appeal to that of his hon. Friends below the gangway to the Home Secretary to set these men at liberty. Grave doubts had arisen, in minds well qualified to judge, as to whether these persons were guilty, but waiving that, and assuming for the sake of argument that at the time and under the circumstances the sentences were just, he appealed to the Home Secretary to consider how different were circumstances now. Could he say there was anything in the state of Ireland that made it necessary to continue the punishment? Under the changed circumstances, would he not reconsider the matter? It would do much to satisfy the feelings of millions of people here and in Ireland if he would make a respectful reply. He did not wish to speak at length, he only 134 desired that the voices of English Members should not be wanting in this appeal, and they were not wanting when the Liberal Party were in power.
MR. T. M. HEALY
considered that Irish Members would fail in their duty if they did not express to the Home Secretary gratitude and satisfaction for the courage and humanity the right hon. Gentleman had shown in releasing the men last year. ["Hear, hear!"] That there was delay was not the fault of the right hon. Gentleman, but the result was appalling. The unfortunate prisoner Whitehead was no sooner released than he took to roaming over the country a raving lunatic. He disappeared for days, hiding in bogs and ditches, and being now sent to America was an inmate of a lunatic asylum. And yet for years appeals were met with the denial that there was anything the matter with this man. He cared not whose fault it was, it was an appalling scandal and discredit to think that these denials came from the Minister who was kept in office by the votes of the Irish Members. ["Hear, hear! "] This was not all. When the present Home Secretary released John Daly and the others he was met with the suggestion that this was done as part of a. compact with Irish Members in reference to the Land Act. The First Lord of the Treasury had taken the trouble to deny that, but it was to be regretted that he had done so.
§ MR. SPEAKER
reminded the hon. Member that he should not discuss matters that might arise upon the Amendment given notice of by the hon. Member for Salford.
MR. T. M. HEALY
only wished to deny the imputation that it was due to any political compact, it was simply due to the courage, moderation, and humanity of the Home Secretary. ["Hear, hear!"] The question which they must ask themselves was whether the men still in prison were guilty. No one could know better than the late Home Secretary, who was counsel for the Irish members before the Parnell Commission, that a taint of police fraud affected the conviction of every one of these men. In February, 1889, a promise was made that Mr. Robert Anderson would be produced before the Commission to be cross-examined on the question of how these plots were got up. It would be remembered that Le Caron, 135 the police spy, produced before the Commission a whole series of documents which he obtained from Mr. Robert Anderson. It would, he thought, be the duty of the Irish Members this Session to press for a Select Committee to inquire into Mr. Anderson's operations. He had read a few passages from Le Caron's cross-examination by Sir C. Russell:—You have suggested rather than stated in your evidence that you had to do with Gallagher and Lomasney. Did yon take part in any deliberation at which either of these wicked plots was devised?—Yes.And you advised in them?—I did not deem myself of sufficient importance to make suggestions and put myself too forward in these matters.But you appeared to advise and coincide in it?—I offered no objection.Then you consented in convention and gave information at once?—Immediately on the first opportunity that presented itself.The evidence showed that the agents of the Government in America were the agents provocateurs in all these cases. Having regard to the proceedings of the police that autumn in Belgium, France and Holland, and to what had occurred that very day at the Old Bailey, and recollecting the promise to produce Mr. Anderson, who was given £10,000 a year for promoting these plots, he thought it was time that an inquiry should be made into the practices of that gentleman.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said that the observations of the hon. Member were not pertinent to the Amendment before the House. The hon. Member was not entitled to discuss the general question of the mode of prosecuting criminals in Ireland or elsewhere.
MR. T. M. HEALY
pointed out that the guilt or innocence of the men in prison depended upon the circumstances of their conviction. The system of getting up conspiracies was tainted ab initio. A British agent had his nose in every one of these plots in America, They should bear in mind that the agent's importance grew in proportion to the number of the plots which he disclosed.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said that the hon. Member was disregarding his ruling, and he must ask him to keep to the question before the House.
MR. T. M. HEALY
reminded the House that the remnant of these prisoners in gaol was small. A letter had 136 been written recently by one of them, which went to show that his constitution had completely broken down. Seeing that every one of these convictions occurred as long ago as 1883, in circumstances entirely different from the present, and that all the principal offenders had been released, surely the time had arrived when the Home Secretary might very fairly take these men's cases into favourable consideration, relying on the general sense of justice of that House and disregarding the attacks of cranks. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. JAMES O'BRIEN (Cork)
contended that political prisoners ought to be treated with less severity than ordinary prisoners. In this country, however, they were treated with greater severity, especially if they were Irish. This he knew from his own experience. Special warders were always told off to watch Irish political prisoners—warders who could be depended upon to annoy them and leave them no peace day or night. The men now in gaol had been subjected to such treatment for 13 or 14 years. To have executed them at once would have been more lenient. The raiders into the Transvaal, who had no excuse for their conduct, had only been imprisoned for a few months as first-class misdemeanants. Very different was the vengeful punishment suffered by these unfortunate Irishmen, against whom the only charge that could be made was that they were in possession of explosives. They could not be charged with having taken life or even injured a single person. The real reason why they were still in prison was that they were Irishmen—that was their unpardonable crime.
§ MR. W. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
reminded the House that when these prisoners were convicted a reign of terror existed in the land. All means of constitutional agitation were forbidden. That was how these men were driven into unconstitutional methods, and the Government of the day were responsible. It ought also to be borne in mind that the agitation of those days was the result of the refusal of the Government to grant reforms of which many had since been effected. If it was not possible to indulge in constitutional agitation in Ireland then these men were driven to use uncon- 137 stitutional methods. There had been no amnesty with reference to Irish political offenders; there had only been the release of certain prisoners. On what ground? Not on the score of amnesty, but for medical reasons, and because these men were unable to remain longer in prison unless to the danger of their lives and minds. The majority of the men who had been released had been ruined either in health or in mind. He did not believe the denials made from the Treasury Bench, not because Ministers desired to conceal the truth, but because they were merely made the machines whereby the opinions of officials were conveyed to the House and the country. He thanked the Home Secretary for his courtesy and consideration in receiving various bodies that waited on him in connection with this subject, for the way in which he had dealt with the prisoners, and for the courage he had shown throughout notwithstanding the sneers and the scoffs of some of his supporters. He pointed out that Huff was at present in Broadmoor Asylum, and indicated his want of faith in the replies forwarded to the right hon. Gentleman from official sources. The Irish Nationalist Amnesty Association, to which he belonged, had asked the Home Secretary to allow an independent inquiry by medical men to be made into the condition of the prisoners, and he trusted that the result of the Debate would be to allow such an independent inquiry. Amnesty was a law all over the world in constitutional government assemblies, except in this country. No political offenders had ever been confined for such a length of time as the Irish political prisoners, nor had prisoners of the same class elsewhere suffered the same harsh treatment. The percentage of Irish political prisoners who were being done to death in prison, or who had been driven mad, exceeded the percentage of any political prisoners who had been confined in other countries under a constitutional government during the century. This was not a state of things which redounded to the credit of this country or to its ministers. They had been told when this Government came into power that Home Rule was to be killed with kindness. Irishmen had not received much material benefit from the Tory Government 138 up to the present. But there was one thing which would cost the Government nothing—that was to release the political prisoners. The Government would save money on the transaction, and economy had always been the ruling spirit of the British Treasury. It would do more than that. It would satisfy the vast body of Irish Nationalist opinion. There was one platform on which alt Irishmen were agreed, and it was that the time had come when the political prisoners ought to be released. He trusted that the appeal which had been made would have an effect on the Home Secretary.
§ MR. W. ABRAHAM (Cork, N. E.)
said that he and his hon. Friends were expressing what was undoubtedly the almost unanimous opinion of the people of Ireland, of all political parties of all shades, and of all creeds. That opinion had been expressed from platform after platform, and he thought that as a matter of public policy the time had come when the Government might take into consideration this expression of opinion from united Ireland. He also bore testimony to the courageous action of the Home Secretary. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman had acted not alone with humanity—as he was bound to do on the medical reports—but also with courage in facing what might have been an expression of public opinion on the part of some persons in this country as to the advisability of releasing these men. With this experience before them the Irish members were confident now in making a further appeal to the humanity of the right hon. Gentleman as well as to the question of policy which must affect his Government. It could not be assumed that the Irish people sympathised with the use of dynamite, or with a dynamite policy. Not a man who had been engaged in this agitation had any sympathy with the use of dynamite: and, therefore, when the people of Ireland asked for the release of these men it was because they felt that such an act of clemency would tend to take away the feeling in Ireland that there was in the treatment of political offenders a differential scale. There was not a civilised country in the world which treated its political prisoners as we did. Was this country to learn lessons of elemency 139 from Russia, or from any other country? The whole history of this country showed that Irishmen, who sometimes in the past had adopted methods he did not attempt to justify, had always had meted out to them punishment which they would not have received at the hands of any other country for political offences. He, therefore, appealed to the Government and to the Home Secretary to say whether the time had not come when the wishes of the people of Ireland should he met without in any way interfering with the course of justice.
On the return of MR. SPEAKER after the usual interval,
MR. FRANCIS O'KEEFFE (Limerick)
said that no reply had been given from the Government Benches to the arguments which the Irish Members had brought forward; and any impartial listener to the Debate must believe that their case was irresistible. One of the reasons that impelled him to take part in the Debate was that he was a representative of the City of Limerick. Hon. Gentlemen would probably remember that one of the most significant episodes of the last General Election was the unanimous return of John Daly of that city. Mr. Daly and he were alone nominated for that constituency. He knew that in the eyes of the law Daly was disqualified to sit in the House; but he withdrew in his favour, and Daly was elected. He had never met him before, but since then, from many conversations he had had with him, and from his speeches at public meetings, he was convinced that he, Daly, was innocent of the charges for which he was convicted. What was the use that Daly made of his recovered liberty? Was it to parade his own sufferings to the public, and to appeal for sympathy for himself? No! His first words, when he received a public reception in Dublin that would not be accorded to Royalty, were an appeal on behalf of the prisoners whom he had left behind him in Portland Gaol. He would remind the Home Secretary that it was an elementary proposition of criminal jurisprudence that the object of a punitive sentence was not 140 to punish the individual, but to deter others. Surely it was impossible to contend that after an imprisonment of 15 years the punishment accorded to those men had not the desired deterrent effect. No man in Ireland or England, or in any part of the British Empire, thought that the principles of dynamite would ever be brought into force again. He could assure the House that the very word was abhorred in Ireland. It was believed in Ireland that the dynamite conspiracy had been; promoted by Government agents for sinister ends. In any case, these men had expiated the offences of which they had been adjudged guilty, and they were now simply retained in prison as hostages; but the English Government required no hostages, because there was no one going to make reprisals upon them. In fact, the men were retained in prison because they were Irishmen. He could assure the Home Secretary that when the news reached Limerick of the release of Mr. Daly men of the most advanced political views held a meeting, and they unanimously passed a vote of thanks to the right hon. Gentleman for his action in the matter. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would release the remaining prisoners, and thus close for ever a dark chapter in the relations between Ireland and England, so that this year, when the country would be celebrating an event that would be for ever memorable in the history of England, it might be the proud boast of Her Majesty that in the 60th year of her reign not a single Irishman was in prison for a political offence.
§ SIR JOHN LENG (Dundee)
said that, having consistently voted for every amnesty Resolution proposed since he entered the House, he regretted that the appeals made to the Home Secretary had been left so much in the hands of the Irish Members, because he believed that there was on his side of the House, particularly among Scottish Members, a growing opinion that the time had arrived when the Home Secretary would do well to advise the exercise of the clemency of the Crown to those unfortunate criminals. There were one or two considerations he should like to put before the House in behalf of the prisoners. It was very doubtful whether 141 those men had been aware of the mischief which they were about to commit. At that time the use of explosives had been comparatively rare, and their destructive powers were not so well known as they were now. Again, those unfortunate men were influenced very much by the feeling that there was not sufficient opportunity otherwise for giving that expression to the strong sentiments of their countrymen they thought desirable, and they wished therefore to forcibly attract the attention of the Government to their sense of their wrongs. It had always seemed to him that the United States had at the end of the great Civil War, when hundreds of thousands of lives had been sacrificed, set an example worthy of imitation by all the nations of the world. It should be remembered that in English and in Scotch constituencies there were a number of Irishmen, and of the descendants of Irishmen, who took very strong views in regard to this question of amnesty. They believed that those prisoners had been more heavily punished than Englishmen or Scotchmen would have been had they been found guilty of similar offences. He strongly sympathised with that view. He had in his own constituency upwards of 30,000 Irish people, or the descendants of Irish people, than whom, taken as a whole, there was no more sensible, peaceable, industrious, hard-working, and commendable section of the community. He knew that this huge section of his constituency entertained the views in regard to the prisoners to which he had referred, and knowing also that in large cities in England, like Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, there were also a large number of Irish people having these feelings, he thought it was right that utterance should be given to them in the House, and that the Government would do well to yield to them. He had never attached the least importance to the charge made against the Home Secretary that he had released the other prisoners for political purposes. He believed the right hon. Gentleman had been solely actuated by feelings of humanity, and it was on the grounds of common humanity that he now appealed to him to release the remaining prisoners. The mental and physical condition of the men who had been recently released fully justified the action of the Home Secretary in 142 setting them free, and he would say to the right hon. Gentleman—do not keep the men at present in prison until you have reduced them to the same unhappy condition; act on the humane principle that they have suffered sufficiently already, that the deterrent effect of their punishment has already been obtained, and now advise the clemency of the Crown to be exercised, and liberate those unfortunate men.
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY,) Lancashire, Blackpool
I find it somewhat difficult to reply, owing to the wide ground covered by the Debate and the many subjects involved. I certainly agree with one or two of the hon. Members from Ireland, and I am sure they feel if would have been a satisfaction to this House if on the advice of the Government they had been able to remedy any other Irish grievance, if, indeed, they could remedy any Irish grievance. It has been a great source of regret to myself that I have not been able to see my way to recommend the exercise of Her Majesty's prerogative of mercy towards these treason-felony prisoners now in Portland. I am afraid I am not able to give any assurance at the present moment that will be entirely satisfactory to hon. Gentlemen opposite. I am pretty confident from what I have heard from them that they perhaps hardly expect it. But what I wish to say at the outset, if I am permitted to say so much under the orders of the House, is that I do wish to protest against any competition between the humane feeling of myself and my predecessor or any other of my predecessors at the Home Office. In every-thing in connection with the treatment of the prisoners, whether with regard to the prisoners generally or with what are called the Irish political prisoners—treason-felony prisoners—I have absolutely not deviated in any way whatever, so far as I am aware, from the action of my predecessor, and I entirely endorse the action which he has taken from time to time upon the reports of the best opinion which he could get from the medical authorities with reference to the state of those prisoners. The question of policy, of course, is a different matter, on which I have no right to speak. I am prepared to admit, as I 143 have admitted on former occasions, that those hon. Members from Ireland who have introduced this subject have presented it in a spirit and manner to which no exception can be taken. I admit that they represent the strong; opinion which a very great majority of the people of Ireland hold—[Irish cheers]—that what they call an amnesty ought to be extended to what are called the political prisoners, and I admit to the fullest extent that there is no desire on the part of anybody I know to impute to them the slightest sympathy with the particular crimes of which these men were convicted. That is granted; but when I am asked to deal with this question as a question of amnesty for political prisoners I must repeat again what has been said by more than one of my predecessors, and what has been said by my colleague the present Leader of the House in the Debate of last year—that, whatever may be the motives which induced crimes of this sort, you must go beyond those motives, and, although you are willing to say that political motives and the notion that they might reform the Constitution of their country may have been to some extent the instigation of these crimes, yet these men were found guilty before a fair tribunal, and properly found guilty, of crimes which are abhorred by the civilised world. ["Hear, hear!"] My predecessors have examined into this question, and I have done my best to examine into it, having seen the Judge, and having taken all those opportunities which are open to me, and I have satisfied myself, as did those before me, that these men were properly convicted. They were sentenced to the punishment they are now undergoing by the same Judge who subsequently tried other persons, to whom allusion has been made, for similar offences. I am bound to say that it is rather late in the day to expect me—indeed I do not think I am expected—to go back upon the correctness or non-correctness of the verdict of those days. I think we must proceed on the assumption that these particular prisoners were found guilty, from whatever motives, political or otherwise, of crimes which are abhorrent to the civilised world—namely, of having in their possession, or being determined to use, explosives which 144 in their effect must under ordinary circumstances have proved to be destructive to human life, though, happily, that was not the result in this case. When I face a problem of that kind I have to go into questions which are beyond the mere question of the humane treatment of our prisoners, or the question as to how far anybody in my position is justified in advising the exercise of the Royal prerogative of mercy. It is not for me to say more except that I appreciate what has been said of my action recently, and I only want to show that the idea is erroneous that there has been the slightest divergence from the uniform practice of the Home Office in this matter. ["Hear, hear!"] I do not know how far you will allow me, Sir, to say anything upon what passed last August, and what is passing at the present moment, but I should like to say this much upon the immediate question before the House, that I have not felt that the time has come when Her Majesty ought to be advised to exercise the prerogative of mercy towards these prisoners on the ground of policy. I am not denying that recent sentences and contemporaneous events ought not to be considered, nor am I denying the doctrine which has been urged that the deterrent influence on crime ought to be considered, and that you ought to drop the vengeance side of the matter. I do not believe there is anybody in this House or in this country who desires that the punishment of these men should be charged with the attribute of vengeance. But, at the same time, I do feel that these prisoners, who have been found guilty of crime, whether their motives were political or otherwise, ought to be punished in the severest manner. ["Hear, hear!"] I do not know whether I ought to allude to what has been said with reference to a trial which has been taking place, and which is finished this morning. The hon. Member who referred to it drew the inference from it, which I venture to think rather extraordinary, that there was some doubt as to the correctness of the verdict upon those prisoners whose case we are now considering, because, in the course of the trial which was concluded to-day, there has been either an acquittal or a withdrawal of the case. I have not ex-act information on the subject, but I should have thought that this was an 145 instance of how a trial could be con ducted fairly in this country, and if, upon this occasion, with the evidence which was before the Public Prosecutor, and with the guidance of the same Judge and with an English jury, the prisoner was acquitted, surely it is a fair instance of the continuity of English law and justice; and the inference is that 13 or 14years ago, when these unfortunate men were convicted, the had at least as fair a trial and treatment as the man who has been acquitted to-day.["Hear, hear!"] I desire to repudiate in the strongest way any allegation that this case, which I am told is concluded to-day, is a got-up case by the police. I assert my most emphatic belief, from information which has reached me, and on my authority as a Minister of the Crown, that the action of the police, whether they have succeeded or not in obtaining a conviction, has been fair throughout towards those concerned. I assert, moreover, that it is my belief that by their speedy action, and by information which they possessed, they prevented—and pretion is better than punishment—a very great disaster in this country. ["Hear, hear!"] I do not think any argument can be drawn from the result of this trial that the evidence was not sufficient to justify a conviction. When I have been appealed to on former occasions with reference to the release of these prisoners upon grounds of policy, I have assented to the carrying out of the policy of the Home Office with reference to long sentences—namely, that when these long sentences have been inflicted for a particular class of crime, and when at a later period that crime has been less rampant or has disappeared in view of the object of those sentences as a deterrent, it was reasonable to take into consideration the earlier sentences. As regards the treason-felony prisoners, I am not indisposed to give weight to those considerations; but, as I have said, I am not prepared at the present moment to advise any further relaxation of the imprisonment of these men other than would occur in the ordinary case of prisoners under ordinary sentences. We are told that they are political offenders, but, without arguing the question, I must repeat that the offences which they committed are such as ought not to be lightly regarded by any civilised community. 146 With reference to the whole of this business I am anxious it should be understood that my action has been absolutely uniform with that of my predecessor. I know the grounds upon which he acted with regard to Gallagher, and I have satisfied myself that he was absolutely right, if I may say so, and had no justification for advising his release on medical grounds, and I think it is only fair to him that I should say so. More, perhaps, I need not state. Hon. Members opposite have dwelt a great deal on the health of the prisoners. I would remind them that what I have really to go upon is, in the first instance, the reports, periodical and specially called for, as to the health of convicts. If I am not satisfied with them I must ask for the further opinion of my chief medical inspector, and if not satisfied with that I can go to a higher authority. But to ask me, or any Home Secretary, to receive the opinion of other medical men than those whom he specially employs, is to ask me to go outside my responsibility as Secretary of Slate. I repeat that I have simply adopted the uniform practice of the Home Office, that where imprisonment is likely to prove dangerous to health, sanity, or life, a certificate is given to me to that effect, and I think the facts show I have not erred on the side of severity. ["Hear, hear!"] I am asked to consider the health of the remaining six prisoners. I do not think I can do more than I have done. All I can say is I am as anxious as those before me have been, that prisoners under sentence should be so watched that where the imprisonment is likely to endanger health, sanity, or life it should at once become a subject for consideration whether the clemency of the Crown should be exercised. Several hon. Members have spoken of the cases of individual prisoners. Take the case of Wilson. I have taken every means to inform myself of the condition of that man, and I am satisfied from the reports I get—not without cross-examination—that he is not in a dangerous state of health. As regards the future of the few remaining prisoners, certainly it is no wish of mine, and it is not the intention of the law of this country, that there should be such a deterioration in the health of prisoners as should lead to such results as have unfortunately recently occurred. 147 Though I may not be allowed to go into the case of the four prisoners released, yet perhaps it is only fair to say that if I hare been too late in acting in the case of certain prisoners I might have been a little too early in the case of another. That may appear an unkind thing to say, because on being informed, on the best authority I could obtain, that the man was likely to suffer in mind or health by further imprisonment, I felt myself bound to advise the clemency of the Crown.
§ SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY
I do not know whether it would be in order to answer that question after your ruling, Sir, in the course of the Debate. But if I had been permitted to go into the whole case I should have stated that, according to the best information I could obtain, I found when I came into office that there was no cause for the release of Gallagher. I satisfied myself of that in December, 1895, before the commencement of last Session. Then when I was satisfied of Gallagher's condition by the report I received in July, I did not hesitate a single moment in acting. Up to the commencement of last year I was satisfied that my predecessor was absolutely right in what he stated to the House, that there was no justification for believing that Gallagher was in a state which required him to go into a lunatic asylum or that he should be released.
§ MR. SPEAKER
I have not hitherto interrupted the right hon. Gentleman in dealing with the case of the four prisoners released, because a good many observations had been incidentally made about them. I hope, however, the right hon. Gentleman will not further argue their case upon an Amendment which does not really raise it.
§ SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY
I bow at once to your ruling, Sir. But I will merely say that if I could have answered the hon. Member's question my reply would have been very satisfactory. I am thankful to the hon. Member and those who sit beside him for having given me credit for acting from good motives. I do not know that I can 148 properly add anything more. In conclusion I regret extremely that I am unable to give any promise with reference to advising Her Majesty to exercise clemency towards these prisoners. When the proper time comes I shall not be unwilling to consider their case in accordance with the practice of the Home Office, which draws no distinction between Irish and other prisoners. ["Hear, hear!"] I repudiate most strongly the notion that Irish prisoners are treated differently from others. I may appeal almost to certain hon. Members opposite themselves, who have been in English prisons, whether from their heart of hearts, whatever they might think of the prison rules, they can say that Irish prisoners are treated differently. [An IRISH MEMBER: "You are mistaken there."] At any rate, I say they are not, and I do not think it can be contradicted. I regret, Sir, I am unable to concede anything in the nature of an amnesty for these Irish prisoners. [Cheers.]
§ MR. TIMOTHY HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)
said the Irish Nationalists had not endeavoured to minimise the gravity of the crimes of these prisoners. But if they were political crimes they were entitled to the leniency with which political offences were regarded. If their crimes were using or possessing dynamite, the heaviest sentence which the specially-made English law awarded was ten years' penal servitude, and under the rules of the Home Office the sentence would come up for revision after seven years. But because the political element was introduced into the trial, they were sentenced to penal servitude for life, and that being the case, he asked the right hon. Gentleman, how did the practice of the Home Office, which refused to review that long sentence—imposed owing to the special circumstances of the time and for the particular purpose of being a deterrent—agree with the theory he had laid down, that if long sentences were imposed as deterrents they ought to be reconsidered at a time when the danger passed away? If the rule laid down in the Home Office that when a man was sentenced to a term of penal servitude for life it was to be treated as a term of 20 years and not come up for reconsideration for 15years was a hard and fast rule, how had they got a remedy to 149 meet the case of a judge who, in time of public panic, inflicted a severe sentence as a deterrent? How could they go back upon it again? The right hon. Gentleman refused to recognise this as a political offence. He would only ask him to treat it as one offence or another. If it was a political offence, then the purpose of punishment had been long served, and the Government would be in the position of retaining men for a political offence after they had suffered 13years' imprisonment, and when every shadow of an excuse for their detention had passed away. On the other hand, if it were to be treated as a dynamite offence against the public peace, the punishment awarded by the statute specially passed for the purpose had long been suffered by these men. However the Government might justify their own action, they could not get it out of the mind of the people of Ireland that these prisoners were still kept in gaol because they belonged to a different nationality, and if there was an Irishman who wished to inflict injury upon or excite racial hatred against England, the Government were keeping up for him a standing argument for his conduct. Was that a wise policy on the part of the Government? Ought not the object of this and of every Government to be to remove every opportunity that could be given to Irishmen of pointing to the different treatment extended by the English Government to Irishmen as compared with people belonging to other countries? There had never been any cessation in their amnesty motions since the Union owing to the refusal of the Government to consider the national demand, and treat the opinion of Irishmen as of some importance. The right hon. Gentleman had entirely misinterpreted the argument of the hon. and learned Member for North Dublin as to the event that had taken place that day. The Irish Members had not questioned, from the commencement of these amnesty motions to the present time, the fair play which had been given either to these men who had been convicted or other Irishmen who had been tried, so far as the trials themselves were concerned. What his hon. Friend the hon. Member for North Dublin was referring to was the fact, which was also connected with this motion here, that what had taken place that day was evidence, and 150 what would have been disclosed in Court would have been evidence, that other crimes of this kind had been incited by agents whose interest it was to keep these unfortunate outrages going for their own purposes. There were men occupying high official positions in Ireland who had stated that any danger to life and limb which they had incurred was owing to the machinations of officials of the Home Office, who had been getting up these conspiracies. That was referred to on former occasions as being connected with the trials at the time, and that was deep in the minds of the Irish people in connection with the demand they made, because they said, if these men were guilty they believed that which the right hon. Gentleman claimed to have done now—namely, prevented outrage taking place, and stopped the commission of crime when it was about to take place—had not been done in the past. In regard to that, there was a change of policy in the attitude of the Government from that which existed at the time these trials took place. There was also a change of policy as to the manner of the trials. Let them suppose those trials had taken place to-day, and that a man was tried for his connection with a dynamite conspiracy. He would not now be tried for treason-felony because the public panic was not sufficient, and the danger to the public peace was not so great as in 1883, when the former trials took place. If, therefore, such a man were to be sentenced now, he would be sentenced to a term at the most of ten years' penal servitude, and the sentence would come up for revision at the end of seven years. In the case of men who were tried in 1883, when severe sentences were inflicted with a deterrent object, now that the danger had passed away, why could not the Government make up their mind to east aside this hard and fast line of the Home Office binding them to the revision of sentences only after a certain period of time had elapsed? The right hon. Gentleman spoke of the demand from those Benches being supported by the vast majority of opinion in Ireland. There was not a doubt in the mind of any Irish Member that if these prisoners were the prisoners of an Irish Unionist Government in which a single Nationalist had not a seat, they would long ago have been released in 151 obedience to the demands of the Irish people. On no platform in Ireland, whether Unionist or Nationalist, was there a voice raised against the policy of releasing these men. The Dublin Corporation had passed motions in favour of amnesty which had been supported by the Unionist Members of that body, some of whom had appeared at the Bar of that House to support the petition of the Lord Mayor asking for clemency to men who were regarded as political prisoners. Disregarding all the questions of health or mental sanity of the prisoners, was there to be no consideration for the national demand of the Irish people that the few men still remaining in gaol should be released? He asked the right hon. Gentleman seriously to consider whether any public purpose could be served by the further detention of these men, and whether it would not be wiser to draw the two nations closer together by an act of clemency and justice towards prisoners who had already suffered more than they would have done if they had been merely accused of dynamite offences?
§ MR. MICHAEL DAVITT (Mayo, S.)
said he would have been reluctant to interfere in the Debate had it not been for the virtual challenge which the Home Secretary threw out in his direction. The right hon. Gentleman repudiated in his own behalf, and in behalf of the Government he represented, the idea that Irish political prisoners were subjected to more severe treatment in penal servitude than ordinary criminals. Unfortunately he had a more intimate knowledge than the right hon. Gentleman of the kind of punishment that was undergone in penal servitude. During his seven years and seven months' imprisonment in Dartmoor, he was considered a fairly well-conducted prisoner. He was scarcely ever brought before the Governor for a breach of prison discipline, but, notwithstanding repeated applications, he was never allowed the privilege, more valued than any other, of receiving a visit from any of his friends. He could add to this many other instances of exceptional severity meted out to him because he was there, not as an ordinary criminal, but as an Irishman convicted of a political crime against the Government. Passing from the personal phase of the question, he 152 had to acknowledge at once that in the tone of the speech of the Home Secretary they had to note that it did not shut the gate of mercy with a clang. The right hon. Gentleman spoke sympathetically, and he believed in his heart that if the right hon. Gentleman could translate his own wish into political action, he would release these four or five men to-morrow. The right hon. Gentleman had been fair enough to acknowledge that there was practical unanimity of sentiment in Ireland on this question, and yet, in the face of arguments which would be overwhelming with any other Government in Europe, he, representing the strongest Ministry for the last 20 years, preferred to follow the hard-hearted example of his predecessors in office rather than the example of the Governments on the Continent of Europe, who had shown that they could extend mercy to their political opponents. The right hon. Gentleman had said that he was satisfied that the conviction of these prisoners was brought about by fair means. That would have been said a few years hence by some other Home Secretary if the man Bell or Ivory had not been fortunate enough to have at his disposal legal advisers, who insisted on the production in Court of the conspirators of the Secret Service. The Government rather than produce these agents provocateurs, withdrew the charge and released Bell. The Home Secretary had confidence in his police, and declared that had it not been for the vigilance of the officers, some great disaster would have occurred in September last; but the chief plotters were arrested by a friendly Government, between whom and England an Extradition Treaty existed. That Government expressed its willingness to surrender those chief plotters, but the English Government said they did not want their extradition.
§ SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY
I really must contradict the hon. Member. There was no means of getting these men extradited under the law.
§ SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY
Certainly they made a demand; but, finding on closer examination that the offence was not within the Treaty, they 153 admitted that they had no right to press the demand.
§ MR. DAVITT
Why, then, did not the Government accede to the request of Bell and consent to produce these witnesses at the Old Bailey this morning?
§ SIR MATTHEW WHITE RIDLEY
I know nothing about what happened this morning at the Old Bailey. I am not responsible for the conduct of the trial, but I am certain that there was no refusal to produce the evidence of any witness that was forthcoming on behalf of the Government.
§ MR. DAVITT
Then it is a pity that the Solicitor General, who was in charge of the case, did not remain in the House to explain what has been done.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The whole of this discussion on the case of Bell is foreign to the question before the House. An hon. Member referred to the case of Bell, not for the purpose of arguing the merits of the case, but merely as an illustration. To that there was no objection, and, the matter having been referred to, the Home Secretary thought it right to give an explanation of what was stated by that hon. Member. The question of the prosecution of this man has really nothing to do with the question before the House.
§ MR. DAVITT
said he would not pursue the subject further. This demand was based on two grounds, rather on the ground of humanity than any other. These men had been in penal servitude for thirteen years. That meant that if they had been sentenced to 7 years they would now be entitled to their liberty. Was there a single Government in Europe to-day, either the Government of Russia or even the Government of Turkey, that had in the custody of its prison officials a single political foe who had been in prison during the last 13 or 14 years? Even the Sultan of Turkey compared favourably with the Government of England in the matter of his treatment of political prisoners. He hoped that after the discussion that had taken place the Government would see fit to reconsider their decision before long. This was going to be a memorable year in the history of the country 154 and was the Government going to permit this auspicious year to go by without showing the world that it was strong enough and generous enough and just enough to liberate the last Irish prisoners?
§ MR. T. D. SULLIVAN (Donegal, W.)
said he wished to submit one point only to the consideration of the Home Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman had based his action, as had his predecessor, entirely on medical reports. Had it not occurred to the right hon. Gentleman that in view of ascertained and notorious facts, he ought not to place entire reliance upon those reports. In the cases of Gallagher and Whitehead, flourishing reports came to the Home Secretary as to their condition up to within a short time of their release, but no sooner were they released than it was found that they were stark, staring lunatics, and both, he believed, were now inmates of lunatic asylums. What sent them mad? Was it their restoration to their friends? Was it not plain that it must have been the long and cruel ill-treatment and the indignities and hardships to which they were subjected in prison? His point was that the prison medical reports were I not reliable. These two cases proved it, and that being so, he appealed to the Home Secretary not to base his action on the official reports of the prison doctors. Their views in those matters were apt to be hardened and severe by their long connection with convicts, and with men who more or less affected from time to time to be in a worse mental and physical condition than they were.
§ DR. TANNER (Cork Co., Mid.)
said that he would only delay the House for a few moments with reference to the eases of these unfortunate men. It occurred to him as being a very important fact which the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary should take into his serious consideration that insanity came on by degrees, and was not at once perceptible by those in whose custody the prisoners were. There was evidently no malingering in the case of the unfortunate man Whitehead, who when restored to his friends had escaped from them, and was found wandering about in the city of Cork, and who was now in a 155 lunatic asylum. He had only intervened in the Debate for the purpose of emphasising the medical point to which he had referred, and in the hope that justice would be done and that the men would be released.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 132; Noes, 204.—(Division List, No. 2—appended)—157
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Gibncy, James||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)|
|Acland, Rt. Hon. A. H. Dyke||Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary)|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Ambrose, Robert (Mayo, W.)||Hammond, John (Carlow)||O'Keeffe, Francis Arthur|
|Austin, M. (Limerick, W.)||Harrington, Timothy||O'Kelly, James|
|Barlow, John Emmott||Harrison, Charles||Oldroyd, Mark|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||O'Malley, William|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Parnell, John Howard|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Healy, Thomas J. (Wexford)||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Birrell, Augustine||Healy, Timothy M. (N. Louth)||Pease, Joseph A. (Northumb.)|
|Blake, Edward||Hedderwick, Thomas Chas. H.||Pease, Sir Joseph W. (Durham)|
|Brigg, John||Hemphill, Et. Hon. C||Pirie, Captain Duncan Vernon|
|Broadhurst, Henry||Hogan, James Francis||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Burns, John||Hutton, Alfred, E. (Morley)||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Burt, Thomas||Jacoby, James Alfred||Reid, Sir Robert T.|
|Caldwell, James||Jones, D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Cameron, Robert||Jones, William (Carnarvonsh.)||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Carew, James Laurence||Kearley, Hudson E.||Roche, Hon. James (East Kerry)|
|Cawley, Frederick||Kilbride, Denis||Roche, John (East Galway)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kitson, Sir James||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Clark, Dr. G. B. (Caithness-sh.)||Lambert, George||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Collery, Bernard||Langley, Batty||Sheehy, David|
|Colville, John||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cumb'land.)||Smith, Samuel (Flint)|
|Commins, Andrew||Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington)||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Leng, Sir John||Sullivan, Donal (Westmeath)|
|Crean, Eugene||Lewis, John Herbert||Sullivan, T. D. (Donegal, W.)|
|Crilly, Daniel||Lloyd-George, David||Thomas, Alfred (Glamorgan, E.|
|Curran, Thomas B. (Donegal)||Logan, John William||Tuite, James|
|Daly, James||Lough, Thomas||Tully, Jasper|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Wallace, Robert (Perth)|
|Davies, W. Rees-(Pembrokesh.)||Macaleese, Daniel||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Davitt, Michael||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Wayman, Thomas|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||M'Cartan, Michael||Wedderburn, Sir William|
|Dillon, John||M'Carthy, Justin||Weir, James Galloway|
|Donelan, Captain A.||M'Donnell, Dr. M. A. (Queen'sC.)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Ghee, Richard||Williams, John Carvell (Notts.)|
|Doughty, George||M'Hugh, Patrick A. (Leitrim)||Wilson, Frederick W.(Norfolk)|
|Dunn, Sir William||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. K.)|
|Ellis, John Edward (Notts.)||M'Leod, John||Wilson, John (Govan)|
|Ellis, Thos. Edw. (Merionethsh)||Maden, John Henry||Wilson, Jos. H. (Middlesbrough|
|Engledow, Charles John||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Young, Samuel|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.|
|Farrell, James P. (Cavan, W.)||Montagu, Sir S. (Whitechapel)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES, Mr.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Mundella, Rt. Hn. Anthony John||Patrick O'Brien and Dr.|
|Field, William (Dublin)||Murnnghan, George||Tanner.|
|Flynn, James Christopher|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. F.||Barnes, Frederic Gorell||Brookfield, A. Montagu|
|Aird, John||Barry, A. H. Smith (Hunts.)||Bryce, Eight Hon. James|
|Arrol, Sir William||Barry, Francis Tress (Windsor)||Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn|
|Ascroft, Robert||Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol)||Campbell, James A.|
|Ashmead-Bartlett, Sir Ellis||Beach, W. W. Bramston (Hants.)||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lancs.)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Heny.||Biddulph, Michael||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. (Bir.)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bill, Charles||Charrington, Spencer|
|Baden-Powell, Sir Geo. Smyth||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Chelsea, Viscount|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Bolitho, Thomas Bedford||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Balcarres, Lord||Bowles, T. Gibson (King's Lynn)||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Baldwin, Alfred||Brassey, Albert||Compton, Lord Alwyne (Beds.)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r)||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Cooke, C. W. Radcliffe (Heref'd)|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Isaacson, Frederick Wootton||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Cubitt, Hon. Henry||Jenkins, Sir John Jones||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Curzon, Viscount (Bucks)||Jessell, Captain Herbert Merton||Richardson, Thomas|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Johnston William (Belfast)||Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir Matthew W.|
|Dane, Richard M.||Jolliffe, Hon. H. George||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. Thomson|
|Darling, Charles John||Kemp, George||Russell, Col. F. S. (Cheltenham)|
|Davenport, W. Bromley-||Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H.||Rutherford, John|
|Denny, Colonel||Kenny, William||Samuel, Harry S. (Limehouse)|
|Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-||Kenyon, James||Seely, Charles Hilton|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||King, Sir Henry Seymour||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Drage, Geoffrey||Knowles, Lees||Shaw, Charles Edward (Stafford)|
|Duncombe, Hon. Hubert V.||Lafone, Alfred||Smith, Abel (Herts)|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lawrence, Wm, F. (Liverpool)||Smith, Abel H. (Christchurch)|
|Fardell, Thomas George||Lawson, John Grant (Yorks)||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Leighton, Stanley||Spencer, Ernest|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Llewellyn, Evan H. (Somerset)||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Llewelyn, Sir Dillwyn (Swansea)||Stanley, Edw. Jas. (Somerset)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r)||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Stanley, Henry M. (Lambeth)|
|Field, Admiral (Eastbourne)||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Liverpool)||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Fielden, Thomas||Lorne, Marquess of||Stone, Sir John Benjamin|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lubbock, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Stmt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Fison, Frederick William||Lucas-Shadwell, William||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Flannery, Fortescue||Macartney, W. G. Ellison||Taylor, Francis|
|Foster, Colonel (Lancaster)||Macdona, John Cumming||Tennant, Harold John|
|Foster, Harry S. (Suffolk)||Maclean, James Mackenzie||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr)|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Maclure, John William||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Garfit, William||M'Arthur, William||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Goldsworthy, Major-General||M'Iver, Sir Lewis||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Gordon, John Edward||M'Killop, James||Usborne, Thomas|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Malcolm, Ian||Vincent, Col. Sir G E. Howard|
|Goschen, George J. (Sussex)||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Mellor, Colonel (Lancashire)||Warkworth, Lord|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Webster, Sir R. E. (Isle of Wight)|
|Green, Walford D.(Wdnesbury)||Milton, Viscount||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C. E.|
|Greville, Captain||Milward, Colonel Victor||Whiteley, George (Stockport)|
|Gull, Sir Cameron||Monk, Charles James||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Hall, Sir Charles||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord Geo.||More, Robert Jasper||Williams, Joseph Powell-(Birm.)|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William||Morrell, George Herbert||Willox, John Archibald|
|Hardy, Laurence||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Wilson, J. W. (Worc'sh. N.)|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks)|
|Helder, Augustus||Myers, William Henry||Wodehouse, Edmond R. (Bath)|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Hill, Rt. Hn. Lord Arthur (Down)||Parkes, Ebenezer||Wyndham, George|
|Hoare, Edw. Brodie (Hampstead)||Pease, Arthur (Darlington)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Holland, Hon. Lionel Raleigh||Pierpoint, Robert||Wyvill, Marmaduke D'Arcy|
|Hopkinson, Alfred||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Houston, R. P.||Pryce, Jones, Edward||Younger, William|
|Howard, Joseph||Purvis, Robert|
|Howell, William Tudor||Pym, C. Guy||TELLERS FOR THE NOES, Sir|
|Howorth, Sir Henry Hoyle||Quilter, William Cuthbert||William Walrond and Mr.|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Rankin, James||Anstruther.|
|Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)|