§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £35,077, be granted to His 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, 1902, for Criminal Prosecutions and other Law Charges in Ireland."625
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
said he rose to move the motion which stood in his name, which was to reduce the salary of the Attorney General for Ireland by the sum of £500. He had seen some statements in the public press describing this motion as inspired mainly, if not entirely, by the case of his lion, friend Mr. M'Hugh, and by the proceedings in connection with his trial and imprisonment. He had also seen it stated that his motion would deal only with the question of jury-packing. He should allude at some length to the case of Mr. M'Hugh, and he certainly should allude to the question of jury-packing, but, at the same time, he wished to state to the Committee that the case of Mr. M'Hugh was not the only case upon which he rested his charge against the Government in reference to jury-packing; and secondly, he wished to state that, though jury-packing happened to be one of the most flagrant, formidable, and vicious instruments of maladministration and injustice in Ireland, his charge, and the charge of hon. Members whose opinions he shared, was against the whole system of the administration of justice in Ireland, top and bottom, root and branch. Jury-packing was not a new incident of Irish life, as some people seemed to think. Jury-packing was practically a perennial and constant element of criminal administration in Ireland, and he should be able to show in the course of his observations that it was one of the justifications he should have to give of the language used that jury-packing was an evil so ancient, deep-routed, and so frequently arraigned in this House and elsewhere in Irish life, that really the Irish people have come to a state of despair as to whether it could ever be remedied or removed at all. He said, however, that jury-packing, though a very formidable and great instrument of maladministration in Ireland, was only one, and on that point he wished to say that the case he should try to prove was that the entire administration of the law in Ireland was calculated to and did produce a reign, not of law, but of the abrogation of law; not the maintenance but the prevention of justice; not the protection of individual and national liberty, but the abrogation and destruction of individual liberty.
626 His difficulty in dealing with this case, as in dealing with many other cases in connection with Irish affairs, was that he did not regard the ill-treatment and misgovernment of Ireland as, in this country at least or in this House, entirely the result, or mainly the result, or to some extent at all the result of wicked, malignant ill-feeling and oppression towards Ireland. He put it down largely to ignorance of Irish life—to prejudice, the child of ignorance as regards Irish life; and as to that ignorance, he put its main source to this, that we called different things by the, same names; or in other words, that what we called by the same name in England and Ireland meant one thing in England and quite the opposite thing in Ireland; and that observation he especially applied to this question of the administration of the law. When one argued with a Unionist on the question of the Irish demand he was frequently met with the statement—"I am very friendly to Ireland. I have no desire except to advance the interests of Ireland, and to, remove the evils from which she undoubtedly suffers, but I really cannot understand what Irishmen are after. You want to change the law; you complain of being an oppressed country and of suffering injustice; but the fact is, you have exactly the same laws in Ireland as we have in England, and as they have in Scotland, and yet you still consider you have a grievance, and you want a fundamental and overwhelming change in the relations between the two countries." Well, it was quite true that in Ireland, as in England, a man who was tried was first brought before a magistrate, was then committed for trial and was brought before a grand jury, was then brought before a judge; and finally, it was true, he had that element of protection and of liberty of every free man, namely, the jury and the jury box. It was also true that in Ireland, as in England, besides the magistrate, the grand jury, and the judge, and the final element for the protection of the liberty of every man, namely, the jury, there was also a free press; and it was stated, and rightly stated, that one of the most solemn functions and duties of the press was to vigilantly watch and to freely and gravely criticise the adminis- 627 tration of justice in order to protect every man in the country, no matter how humble he might be. These were the superficial resemblances between the law in Ireland and the law in England; but let them come to the reality. The magistrate in England was an independent man—independent of the Executive, standing equally and impartially and independently between the humblest man in the dock and the most powerful Government. The jury in England were chosen without any attempt on the part of the Crown—except three in the course of the last half-century—to interfere with its composition in the interests of the Crown and against the prisoner. But the judge in England had reached his position by honest professional work, as a reward of acknowledged professional eminence. He knew very few cases, indeed, in which it could be alleged that a man holding that great position in this country ever reached it by the interests of the religious creed or the religious party to which he belonged. Let him take the magistrate. At this time of day he would not attempt to go over the old ground of the resident magistrate, or, as they called him in Ireland, the "removable." He would dismiss him in a few sentences. He was created by the Crown, rewarded by the Crown, degraded by the Crown, given in old age the security and comfort of a pension or condemned to poverty, hunger, or despair, according to the will of the Crown. The hon. Member went further. He said that the Attorney General and Dublin Castle or the Chief Secretary—they were all the same—could regard these men, these impartial, independent magistrates, standing between the Crown and the liberty of the subject, as being as much their creatures, their tools, and their serfs as the porter that carried their messages or the charwoman that lighted their fires. Nor was that the only distinction between the magistrates in England and the magistrates in Ireland. Revelations as to the characters of these gentlemen had been given by the predecessors in office of the present occupant of the Chief Secretary's Office. The Leader of the Opposition once gave the country a little glimpse into his duties as Chief Secretary for Ireland, and what was one of those duties? It was to 628 summon, to instruct, and to command the magistrates of Ireland as to the wishes of Dublin Castle on the administration of justice. The hon. Member observed that the Chief Secretary laughed. Did he think he was saying this for fun? Did he think he was saying this at random? Was there a single man in Ireland—Protestant or Catholic, Unionist, Whig or Tory—that did not think the resident magistrate on the bench was nothing but a policeman doing the behests of Dublin Castle, who prostituted the very name of justice while he pretended to be administering justice? If they were to give the resident magistrates their due, they did not pretend to be anything else.
He would give a few instances. An amusing little case occurred in the county Kerry during the past few months. A number of United Irish Leaguers were brought before the resident magistrate. "Of course," said the Crown solicitor, addressing the resident magistrate, "you will commit these men." He did not know whether the Crown solicitor had dined with the resident magistrate in the commercial room of the local hotel or not. That did occur—there was nothing unusual in it; but, at any rate, the Crown solicitor said to the independent magistrate, "Of course you will commit these men." "Of course," said the resident magistrate on the bench. He did not know if the two augurs winked to each other, but everybody knew in Ireland that in such cases the Crown solicitor was ordering and the resident magistrate was obeying. But it did not end there. There was many an extraordinary thing about the administration, of justice in Ireland—so extraordinary, he might add, as to reach heights so incredible as to be absolutely grotesque. Under a recent Act of Parliament a number of prominent county councillors, elected to their position by the free voice and the free vote of their people, became members of the magisterial bench. Now, in this country, one magistrate was as good as another—at least, he had never heard anything to the contrary. But what happened in Ireland? In the case to which he was about to allude there were four magistrates on the bench, and a United Irish League case came before the court. Two of the magistrates were 629 R.M.'s, and the others were what he might call popular magistrates. The two popular magistrates were against committing the case for trial, but the two R.M.'s were in favour of the comittal of the accused, and "of course" that was their instructions. Now, he was not a lawyer, and therefore he spoke with some modesty. He asked what would happen in. England in such a case? He should certainly say it would be regarded at least as a case where there was doubt, and the accused would have the benefit of the doubt. But in Ireland the resident magistrates, clothed with all the dignity and omnipotence of Dublin Castle, regarded the voice of the two popular magistrates as non-existent, took no notice of them at all, and committed the men for trial, In this country they were fortunately free from the centuries of struggle and discord of class and race and creed which they in Ireland had, and he congratulated this country on being so blessed, for he regarded it as one of the secrets of the comparative benignity and mildness of their strongest political strife, and as one of the foundations of the good feeling prevailing between class and class in this country: but in Ireland they had not the same state of things, and it was not altogether the fault of Ireland. It was not the fault altogether of the minority in Ireland. It was the fault of those crafty and, he might say, devilish statesmen who had adopted as regards Ireland the old maxim of the Roman Emperor, Divide and conquer," and who by planting a number of their own fellow countrymen and co-religionists on Irish soil under circumstances that necessarily brought them into antagonism with the majority of the people, sowed the seed of religious and racial hate and discord, which had come forth as a hideous harvest of dragons' teeth in the history of Ireland to-day. Therefore they had in Ireland at the present time this great war of classes and of creeds which he deplored, which every honest Irishman ought to deplore and do his best to remove, and which the party had done its best to remove. Of that fact, so far as religious strife was concerned, he asked no better proof than the presence by his side of the distinguished Protestant Irishman who came to them from Canada.
630 Coming now to the grand jury, that was a jury necessarily composed of men divided by class and religion and political feeling from the men who were usually brought to trial. Therefore, he said, the grand jury did not exist in Ireland as a means of protection for the liberty of the subject as it was in England.
He wanted now to say a word about the bar of Ireland—a bar that had contributed representatives from Ulster more remarkable for their promises than for their performances. The Attorney General was the head of the profession, and, as far as his abilities were concerned, was very worthy of that position. He had nothing to say against his abilities, but he regarded the right hon. Gentleman as a narrow political partisan. In Ireland legal abilities and political bias were only too often found to go together. He wanted to say this one word about the bar of Ireland—it was at one time one of the greatest safeguards and protectors of the liberties of Ireland. He, believed one of the last meetings held against the destruction of the Irish Parliament was a meeting of the Irish bar; and amongst the enemies of the Union, amongst its most eloquent opponents, and amongst the men whose inspired prophecies had been fully realised as to the evils of that Union, were legal luminaries like Plunket, Saurin, and Curran. He believed also the first speech of O'Connell at a meeting of the Irish bar was a speech protesting against the Act of Union. But what was the condition of the Irish bar to-day? Why, there was not to-day five per cent., certainly not ten per cent., of the barristers of Ireland that were not either bought or prepared to be bought by the Government—but the price was high and the market was not very firm. Englishmen were constantly saying to them: "What a mistake it is for you to try to separate Ireland from England. Here is a small, poor country on one side, and a great, wealthy country on the other. On one side is one of the poorest countries in the world, and on the other one of the richest. How can you, as rational men, desire to separate Ireland, with all its poverty, from England, with all the benefits and fructifying blessings of its wealth?" It was true they had the fructifying effects of the 631 wealth of this opulent Empire applied to the poverty of their country, but with what object? To debase, to debauch, and buy the best intellects of Ireland—to use them against the rights and liberties of their people. The price, too, had been very high; for there was this extraordinary contradiction in Irish life, that the poorest country in the world had the largest and best paid judiciary. Everybody in the service of the Government in Ireland was overpaid. The very sub-constable of police was overpaid. Why, if Virgil were to come back and write his "Georgics," and address once more his familiar friend—that odious enemy of their school-days, who sat under the branches of the tree—the place of honour he should go to would be Ireland, the country of police barracks; and there under the sunny skies all day long, he would see a 6 feet 2 inches Irish police-constable sunning himself in the open air, taking his ease, and enjoying the fructifying blessings of Irish rule and the combination of the associations of British wealth and Irish poverty. More than that, he was beginning to think he would come to appreciate the policeman's side of life in Ireland, for when the policeman got to middle age he had a Government ready, though he was sound and healthy, to give him a fine pension. Why, the opulent and popular publican in Ireland—his hon. friend below him looked on this with a certain sardonic amusement, because he was a rabid teetotaler—the landgrabber, or the owner of a hotel, was in many cases a police pensioner, retired in the full bloom of middle age, and filling the savings banks with the money he had got out of the opulent purse of England. Barristers in Ireland, even the best of them, did not make £2,000 a year.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. J. W. ATKINSON, Londonderry. N.)
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
Well, did they make £3,000? How many made £3,000 a year? Not half a dozen. They all knew what barristers made in England They had experience of that a few nights ago in the House of Commons when the Government by a majority 632 gave £30,000 a year to the Attorney General and to the Solicitor General. The only consolation in that was that one of the recipients was an Irishman, and a very able and brilliant Irishman, too. But if either of these gentlemen accepted the Lord Chancellorship, with £10,000 a year, or any of the highest positions open to them, they would do so at a considerable sacrifice to their incomes. In Ireland it was different. A man making his £1,500 or £2,000 a year at the bar could earn £3,500 a year or more in the service of the Government, and, like the Georgic policeman, have plenty of leisure and be entitled to a big pension for the remainder of his life.
What was the position with regard to Ireland? It was, that it is a country going to ruin; it is a country with a population which has diminished from nine millions to nearly four millions; and the depopulation was continuing day by day, week by week, and year by year. During the last ten years, when the hopes of Ireland lay low owing to the divisions of the Irish Members, 42,000 people left the country. Everybody in fact left Ireland who could get out of it except the police constables, the lawyers, and the Government officials. He was down in Galway the other day. They had a beautiful bay there and a town which if Ireland were in a normal condition ought to be the great entrepôt between the world of the West and the world of the East. He was informed that a special steamer had been sent there the first time for the last twenty or thirty years by an Atlantic company to take away the people who were too numerous to find accommodation in all the other ports of Ireland which have Transatlantic facilities. When he put these facts together, when he considered these overpaid, indolent, and corrupt officials—corrupt in the sense of being enemies of their own people and race—when he put Ireland with her disappearing population, her towns falling into ruins, her fields deserted, on the one side, and on the other side these functionaries with excessive salaries, he could not but regard them as a kind of parasite thriving on decay and growing fat on disease.
Having shown the kind of men that govern Ireland, he passed to another pro- 633 tection that existed in England, namely, the Press. What happened in Ireland? Why, when the Government resorted to its evil practices the first thing it tried to do was to close the month and arrest the pen of every man who had the courage to assail these infamous methods, and every man who denounced jury-packing could only do so at the risk of his liberty. The editor who denounced jury-packing could do so only at the peril of his freedom or at the risk of his liberty, and mayhap even his life. Yet they were told there were similar and equal laws for England and Ireland. He thought he had shown why it was the people of Ireland attached so much more importance than Englishmen to juries. A fair trial by jury was their desperate sole refuge from injustice. Every other force in the country was against them. There was a mighty and powerful combination against them, a combination backed by the wealth, aye, and by the bayonets, of England, in every place where men sought for justice, and therefore they looked to the jury box as the last thin partition between them and the loss of their liberties and rights. Therefore they were entitled to come before this House and demand that it should condemn in the strongest form a system which was a denial of the rights of trial by jury, and which, while giving to Ireland the form and semblance of trial by jury, loaded the dice and packed the box until the system as little deserved to be called trial by jury as it was known in England as was the court-martial of Dreyfus in France or the trial of a Nihilist in the police cells of St. Petersburg.
What was the real test of government by law? The first test was the absolute separation of judicial and executive authority, and he said that the administration of justice in Ireland, in addition to its wrong, had the additional vice that it had all the forms of constitutional law and all the realities of despotism. Let them govern Ireland despotically if they thought it was their duty—and he did not think their experiments in that way had been encouraging—but at all events let them discard the miserable cowardice and hypocrisy of pretending that they were governing constitutionally. What did 634 trial by jury mean? If the Committee required him to give a definition of jury-packing he would remind it of the passage in Stevenson where one of the characters in the troublesome times in Scotland was recommended to stand his trial. "What," said he—he was of the other clan—"what, with MacCallum on the bench and twelve MacCallums in the jury-box?" That was a most excellent definition of jury-packing. Jury-packing was the trial of a man for a class offence by men of the opposite class and of a different creed, and if the offence was political it was his trial by a jury consisting entirely of his political opponents. Did any man object to these definitions? They were mathematical in their accuracy and moderate in their statement, and if there were any Euclid in the science and art of trial by jury they would be accepted by every man possessing a keen mathematical mind. Applying that to Ireland, let them take the case of Cork. But before he left the historical part let him say that they had been fighting against jury-packing for two centuries, and if the great-grandfather of the present Chief Secretary had survived to stand his trial he would have found himself before a packed jury and Lord Norbury. If the right hon. Gentleman would only read the speeches of John Philpot Curran, a contemporary of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, he would find in them denunciations of jury-packing almost identical with their own.
Now, he had to use the words "Protestant" and "Catholic." He regretted it, but he had to speak of the realities of Irish life, and it was a sad and painful reality that in Ireland the two races to a certain extent, even in the same towns and streets, lived their separate lives the one from the other. It was a most unfortunate circumstance, but every man knew the religion of every other man—except the Attorney General. He made it a strong charge against the Attorney General that he had built a new wall of separation between Catholics and Protestants. And what worse deed could any man do, considering the present circumstances and the historical associations of Ireland, not only to 635 Catholics and Protestants, but to future generations, than to tell the Catholics of Ireland that their Protestant fellow-countrymen are to be used as the tool and instrument of Dublin Castle and Irish landlordism? Would jury-packing be denied? How could it be, except by a man in the angelic state of innocence of the Attorney General? They had in Ireland a system called winter assizes. Cork occupied the proud position of being used for that purpose in the province of Munster, whilst Sligo occupied an equally proud eminence in the province of Connaught, with the result that when a man who was a member of the United Irish League and a Catholic was tried in those places he was tried by a jury exclusively Protestant in its nature. What could be thought of an exclusively Protestant jury in the county of Galway, where there were 350,000 Catholics and 50,000 Protestants? In Sligo there were 90,000 Catholics and 7,000 Protestants. The Attorney General for Ireland suggested that this was an accident. Two men named Muffany and Maguire were charged with the very grave offence of intimidation that arose out of a case of a man called Hughs, who had grabbed a farm. He (Mr. O'Connor) was not going over the whole question of the right of combination in Ireland; but he held, and people in Ireland held, that the farmers in Ireland had the same right to combine for the protection of their interests as the mechanics of England, as the coal miners of England, and as the dockers of England, and they claimed that in defending the doctrine of combination they were only following at a very humble distance a practice of the legal profession which the Attorney General adorned. Was it to be seriously contended that there was not as much necessity to combine among the tenantry of Ireland as among the legal profession? In order to let in a little light upon the question he would put to the House, side by side, two budgets—the budget of the Irish farmer and the budget of the Department which was represented in this House by the Attorney General. The question the House was discussing was the Vote for the Law Officers of the Crown. It contained the following items:—Law officers, £7,000; Crown 636 solicitors, £16,722; assistant Crown solicitors, £2,720; prosecutors, etc., £17,000; fees to law officers over and above their salaries, £1,000; fees to counsel, £8,000; general law expenses, £1,600; defence of public officials, £400; assize expenses, £11,520. Grand total, £70,467. That was not the whole of it, because in the next Vote there were the items of the Supreme Court of Judicature and other legal departments of Ireland, £36,000, which brought the grand total up to £106,468—that was exclusive of the judges' salaries. That was the budget of the Dublin Castle officials; that was the budget of the legal profession which had the strictest code of combination and boycott of any society in the world. Against that he would give the budget of an Irish farmer who was not to be allowed the right of combination. He apologised for bringing such squalid figures before the Attorney General—it was almost an offence to do so:—Rent, £1 10s.; county cess, 2s.; agricultural charges, 6s.; meal, 2s.; flour, £1 10s.; groceries, etc., 10s.; clothing, £3; lights for the year, 5s.; utensils, tools, etc., 10s.; and tobacco, £1 6s. Grand total, £10 19s. "Receipts:" Sale of calf, £2; two sheep, 16s.; profit on a deal, £2; fish, £3; pigs, £2. Total receipts, £9 16s. The Attorney General had a right to combine to preserve his budget, yet it was suggested that this poor creature was not to be at liberty to take the same course to protect the patch of potatoes and the hovel in which the misgovernment of England had placed him. Muffany and Maguire were charged with intimidating a contemptible creature named Hughs, who had grabbed a farm. It happened that they were brought to Sligo, where they were tried before a jury. The number of the panel was about 200, and 170 of the people whose names were contained in the panel were Catholics. When the jury was being sworn twenty-two men were ordered to stand aside, every one of whom was a Catholic, with the result that the two Catholic United Irish Leaguers were tried by a jury composed exclusively of Protestants. Everybody knew of that except the Attorney-General and the District Inspector, who was cross-examined at the trial, and who said that the Crown challenged 637 jurors in that trial to the number of somewhere about twenty-two. The question was put to that gentleman, "And by a curious coincidence they happened to be Catholics?" and his reply was, "I do not know, I only knew one juror on the trial." What was the offence of Mr. M'Hugh? Mr. M'Hugh commented upon this, extraordinary proceeding in strong language, but why should he not? Everybody was disgusted with it except the Attorney General and the District Inspector. Dr. Clancy, following the example of m ny bishops in Ireland, felt so insulted by this outrage on his religion that he wrote an open letter. Why did not the Attorney General prosecute him? He wrote a letter "condemning the unjustifiable practice of excluding Catholics from serving upon juries for the simple reason that they were Catholics." Was that statement true or false? Were Catholics excluded from serving on juries "for the simple reason that they were Catholics?"
§ MR. ATKINSON
I do not exactly know how to answer; to answer simply yes or no would convey a false impression.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said he could quite understand the coyness of the right hon. Gentleman. He would put the question again in an oratorical form. Was that statement true or false? If any man in the House said that it was false, then he must also be prepared to say that the head of the Catholic body in Sligo, knowing the feeling of the people there, had been base enough to put his name to a lying statement; but the Protestants of Sligo themselves were so disgusted by the unfair position in which they and their fellow citizens had been placed that they protested. Mr. M'Hugh was mayor of Sligo for the second time and editor of the Sligo Champion, the chief paper in the district. Would it not have been cowardly on his part if he had not protested strongly, vehemently, and even violently against this gross outrage upon his own people and creed, and this abuse of the forms of law for the purposes of despotism? He admitted that the comments were vehement and violent, but they were made under provocation, 638 for this system of jury-packing had been going on for a century and a half. Mr. M'Hugh's article consisted practically of two parts. In the first part he raised the issue of jury-packing and challenged the Government upon it; in the other, by way of emphasising his case, he gave the names of the particular jury packed by the Attorney General. What did the Attorney General do? He indicted Mr. M'Hugh in a form which gave every possible advantage to the Crown and every possible disadvantage to the accused. Here was the extraordinary part of the business. Mr. M'Hugh was denounced for his strong language about jury-packing, but his challenge with regard to the jury-packing itself was not met. Let the Attorney General prove if he could that Mr. M'Hugh's language was violent; that was not the question at issue. It was not a question of a particular examine or of any particular denunciation. The issue the Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench had to meet was the one from which they ran away in Dublin, namely, was the jury packed or was it not? That, and that alone, was the question at issue. Even if it could be proved that the verdict of the packed jury was in accord with the evidence and in the interest of the public, he would maintain that a just verdict became unjust when it was obtained through the instrumentality of a packed jury. But to turn to the pleadings. It was quite true that Mr. M'Hugh's plea was partial, just as the indictment of the Government was partial.
§ MR. ATKINSON
explained that the plea of justification, to which the hon. Member was about to refer, was set aside, as, under an indictment for seditious libel, such a plea could not be put in. The question of whether or not the comments were justifiable was, however, raised under the subsequent plea of "Not guilty."
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
was very grateful to the right hon. and learned Member for his interruption. He had entirely confirmed his argument. In that plea Mr. M'Hugh set out that the panel of jurors consisted of 258 special jurors, of whom about 180 were Roman Catholics, and that the Solicitor General ordered 639 the Catholics to stand by until he succeeded in getting a jury composed exclusively of Protestants. Mr. M'Hugh, therefore, boldly raised the issue of jury packing, and the Attorney General apparently thought it a sufficient answer to say that the plea was disallowed because Mr. M'Hugh was tried on a charge of seditious libel.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
confessed his inability to follow the right hon and learned Member in discussing niceties of law. All he could say was that Mr. M'Hugh was tried for seditious libel, and the Attorney General selected the form of the indictment, in regard to which this plea was disallowed. The main charge was that of jury-packing, but at the trial, whenever any reference was made to jury-packing, the Crown counsel jumped up and declared it to be irrelevant. The same line was followed in the proceedings in connection with the Freeman's Journal. In that case Mr. Bodkin called attention to the manner in which Catholics had been insulted by the system of jury-packing, and said that those who had fought penal Act after penal Act would not submit to this backstairs repeal of Catholic Emancipation. What happened? The Solicitor General—"warmly," according to the newspaper report—said—There ought to be a limit to this irrelevance.The discussion of jury-packing in a case concerned with jury-packing was actually declared by the Solicitor General to be "irrelevant." The report continued—Mr. Justice Burne: I have been thinking so for some time.The Chief Justice: We have given you very great latitude.The Attorney General had practically put his fingers to his nose in regard to this matter.
Now he came to the defence set up by the Attorney General. He had shown the House how jury-packing, which was the real issue, had been avoided, and that was a most extraordinary thing. Mr. M'Hugh's real offence, for which the 640 Government wished to strike him, was the raising of the question of jury-packing. Would it be believed by the Committee that Mr. M'Hugh, who was being tried on an issue of jury-packing, was himself tried before two juries which were practically packed? He did not think they could find anything like that outside Ireland. And what happened? No less than thirteen men were challenged at the first trial, and he was not quite sure whether all of them were Catholics or not, but he believed they were. If they were not all Catholics, then their case was not in accordance with the practice of the Attorney General. When they had challenged these thirteen Catholics they found that they had not a sufficient number of jurymen, and they called one of the Catholics back again. And so Mr. M'Hugh's case was tried, in the first instance, by a jury upon which the Attorney General tried to exclude every Catholic. In the second trial the Attorney General's jury-packing was a little more successful, because he succeeded in driving every Catholic out of the box, and in trying Mr. M'Hugh—who had accused the Attorney General of empannelling an exclusively Protestant jury—with a Protestant jury.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
said he did not know why the Chief Secretary shook his head. He had exposed the conspiracy by which so-called law in Ireland was administered. How was it that all the people who left Ireland went away as the enemies of England? Hon. Gentlemen opposite professed to be shocked and surprised at this, but he thought he had given them some reason for this hatred. It was an attempt to break down the combination of the people for the protection of their interests and the interests of their country, and to put back the Catholics of Ireland into the condition of pariahs and outcasts in their own land. That conspiracy would not succeed. He warned the right hon. Gentleman that the Irish people were united once more, and would prove too strong for him. A new spirit had arisen in the Irish 641 world, both in Ireland and in England, and the Irish were coining forward for another struggle for their rights. This miserable jury-packing and other devices would not seriously retard the march of the united forces of Ireland.
§ *MR. O'DOWD (Sligo, S.)
seconded the motion. He said that his task would be a comparatively easy one, for after the very able, eloquent, and exhaustive speech made by his hon. friend, a very few words would suffice from him. He felt that he would have been justified in seconding this motion upon other grounds than those which had been put forward by his hon. friend, but he would abandon those other grounds for the present, and would merely remark, in passing, that in glancing over the Estimates he found this year an increase in the expenses of the Crown Solicitors of £1,500 as compared with the Estimates of last year, and it must be remembered that these officials were the chief jury packers in Ireland. This increase had occurred at a time when Ireland's population was diminishing, when Ireland was practically crimeless, and when Judges of Assize were being presented with white gloves from one end of the country to the other. Coming as he did from the county of Sligo, and representing a division of the county which had been made the happy hunting-ground of jury-packing for years and years, he felt that he should be wanting in his duty to his constituents if he did not stand up in their name in the House of Commons in support of a motion denouncing that vile and odious system of jury-packing which was a disgrace to England and to English rule in Ireland, and which had brought the administration of criminal law in Ireland into contempt. He would not be doing his duty if he did not denounce the system, not only on behalf of his constituents who were Catholics, but also in the name of his friends belonging to other religions, for there were many people belonging to the Protestant religion in his county who resented this insult cast upon their county, which had been made the dumping ground of packed juries. Members of other religions were as one with their Catholic neighbours and fellow-countrymen in repudiating and denouncing this vile system.
642 It was needless for him to refer to the system itself after the very eloquent speech of his hon. friend. It was a system which had brought many an innocent man to the gallows, and it had sent many an innocent man to a convict's cell. He could instance various cases where innocent men had been convicted by packed juries, and where it was afterwards found that they were innocent. He would put one case to the Committee, and it was that of a man who was found guilty of an offence some fifteen or sixteen years ago at the Sligo Winter Assizes. During the reign of terror which was caused by the passing of the Crimes Act of 1883 this man was found guilty by a packed jury, because, in political cases for the last twenty years, no Catholic had been allowed to go on a jury in Sligo. He would go further and state, from his own personal experience, that he knew that many Liberal Protestants had also been challenged and ordered to stand by. He believed that it was in Sligo that the first winter Assizes were held, and they lasted for about three weeks. Political prisoners were brought down there from Galway, Mayo, Sligo, and Clare to be tried, to the great hardship and expense of the bulk of the jurors, who had to remain there day after day, only to be told to stand aside when called. The three Crown solicitors at those Assizes like sleuth-hounds vied with each other to see which could be the best packer. There they were vieing and consulting with each other and using their minions and underlings and police inspectors and spies in order to "furridge" out every man's character, to find out, in the first place, over and above all other things, whether the jurymen happened to be Catholic, and in the next place they tried to find out what the jurymen's political leanings were. The result was that at the Winter Assizes held there in connection with the prisoners who were tried for political offences from all those counties he had mentioned, not one single Catholic was allowed on any of the juries. Such a state of things was absurd and shameful. Catholic magistrates, holding His Majesty's commission of the peace, could not be trusted, and were ordered to stand by while ignorant and illiterate Orangemen were put in their places. It was from the Orangemen, whose 643 Mecca was Belfast, that all those juries were drawn, and, as they knew, Belfast was a centre of bigotry and intolerance in Ireland. Such a system would be condemned by every right-minded and light-thinking man, whether he was an Englishman or an Irishman. Any man who knew the depths to which the Crown descended in order to find a verdict against a political prisoner would rise to the level of the occasion and condemn this odious and infamous system, which was a disgrace to the administration of the criminal law in Ireland.
He could give a few instances if it were necessary to go into the matter. He would give the case of his hon. friend the Member for South Leitrim (Mr. Tully), who was tried on account of a political offence in Sligo before Chief Baron Palles. His hon. friend's counsel asserted his right to challenge the whole of the panel, but the Crown objected to that course being taken. When the Crown solicitor saw that he could not, on that occasion, get a jury to convict Mr. Tully, what did he do? He insisted that there were twenty-seven letters in the alphabet, and that the prefix "Mac" to a good many names meant an additional letter, and on that account he got the whole trial adjourned for that term. Of course, his hon. friend was brought up on a subsequent occasion. This time no Catholic need apply, and not a Catholic happened to be on that jury. But, fortunately, the jury disagreed, for a wonder. It was a surprise at the time. One juror, who was suspected of being the dissentient, was a merchant in the town of Sligo, whose customers were nearly all Protestants and aristocrats. When suspicion fell upon him he was boycotted by the entire number of his customers, and he had to leave the country to die in a Canadian backwood. That was Protestant toleration. In another case a poor Mayo peasant was tried at the winter Assizes at Sligo, and as a matter of course he was found guilty. The jury found a verdict in four or five minutes, and he was sentenced to a term of fifteen or twenty years penal servitude. It was found afterwards that the man was absolutely innocent, the real culprit having on his death bed sworn an affidavit that he was guilty. The innocent man, 644 who had been thirteen years in prison, was at once released by the Conservative Government.
It seemed incredible that the system of jury-packing which at the beginning of last century was denounced by Lord Denman as a mockery, a delusion, and a snare, existed to-day, and was as bad as ever. The Crown solicitors were experts in the art of jury-packing. The Crown Solicitor of Galway had earned for himself the name of "Stand by" owing to his expertness in this matter. It was for denouncing jury-packing in, the case of Muffany and Maguire that Mr. M'Hugh had been sentenced to six months imprisonment. The jury who tried these men were exclusively Orangemen. He would be sorry to associate the bulk of the Protestants of the population with the narrow ignorant section known as Freemasons and Orangemen. Mr. M'Hugh, as the hon. Member for the Scotland Division had said, would be a coward if he did not denounce that foul and odious system and did not expose the methods by which a conviction was secured in the case of these good, honourable, and high-minded Irishmen. Mr. M'Hugh was not a coward. He was a soldier and a patriot, one whose fearless services would be recognised by the Irish race at home and abroad. The great majority of his hon. friends around him had been more than once in prison, and it was quite possible they might be there again. If the necessities of the case demanded it they would be there again They would not shrink from the ordeal if by doing so they could secure some measure of their national rights, for it must be remembered that they never got a concession from England yet except when Ireland was on the brink of revolution. They won the Disestablishment of the Protestant Church in Ireland, as Mr. Gladstone said, owing to the intensity of Fenianism. They won the Land Act of 1881 by the strength of the Irish Land League organisation, and they would win a native Parliament and the land for the people through the medium of the United Irish League. The majority of the Irish people would win the abolition of jury-packing, and that, he hoped, in the near future. Mr. M'Hugh deserved well of the Irish Press at home and abroad. He might feel well satisfied at having exposed 645 an infamous system and crying evil, and brought homo to fair-minded Englishmen on both sides of the House that he had really struck the deathblow of the system. He begged to second the motion of his hon. friend.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That Item A (Salaries) be reduced by £500, in respect of the salary of the Attorney General."—Mr. T. P. O'Connor.
§ MR. ATKINSON
It is utterly impossible for me to follow the hon. Member for the Scotland Division into the many topics with which he has dealt. If I had one comment to make upon them I should say they were all irrelevant and a great many of his remarks were most unjust to honourable and deserving men. It will be of greater advantage for the purpose of public discussion, as well as more germane to the question really before the House if I confine myself to two topics—first, the specific instance of what the hon. Member called jury-packing in the trial of Mr. M'Hugh; and, secondly, the general system of jury-packing which is said to be practised under the present administration in Ireland. Having been responsible for the conduct of this case, and being conversant with the facts I should say that I was never more convinced of the unassailable justice of the position of the Government than after I have heard the hon. Member's speech, for from beginning to end that speech was an effort to shut out the real question and the real facts and to misrepresent—of course not intentionally—every issue that came before the court—every issue on which this man was tried, the offence of which he was really guilty, and the mode in which the trial was conducted. I regret to say that it is absolutely necessary I should trouble the Committee with details of the facts. Mr. M'Hugh was not tried for assailing the Executive for jury-packing. On the contrary, in opening the case for the Crown, I said that if Mr. M'Hugh had confined himself to censure of the Executive, he would probably have never been tried at all. Mr. M'Hugh attacked and vilified for months in every form of speech, not the Executive, who had packed the jury, but the unfortunate members of the jury who had been brought to the court to discharge an unpleasant and troublesome duty. To 646 say that this is a great constitutional case and that Mr. M'Hugh was prosecuted by the Executive because he assailed the Executive is misrepresentation of the action of the latter. Nothing of the kind was done. I can prove that proposition by the pleadings in the case, by the summing up of the learned judge, and the sentence passed upon Mr. M'Hugh. In opening the case I myself cited the dictum of Mr. Justice Buller laid down in Rex v. Watson, 2 T. R. 199, quoted with approval in the last edition of "Russell on Crimes":—Nothing can be of greater importance to the welfare of the public than to put a stop to the animadversions and censures which are so frequently made on courts of justice in this country. They can be of no service, and may be attended with the most mischievous consequences. Cases may happen in which the judge and the jury may be mistaken; when they are, the law has afforded a remedy, and the party-injured is entitled to pursue every method which the law allows to correct the mistake. But when a person has recourse either by a writing like the present, by publications in print, or by any other means, to calumniate the proceedings of a court of justice, the obvious tendency of it is to weaken the administration of justice, and in consequence to sap the very foundation of the Constitution itself.On the question of fair comment I also referred to the dictum of Mr. Justice Grose reported in Rex v. White. I Campbell 359," quoted with approval in the same edition of Russell, as follows:—It certainly was lawful, with decency and candour, to discuss the propriety of the verdict of a jury, or the decisions of a judge, and if the defendants should be thought to have done no more in this instance, they would be entitled to an acquittal; but, on the contrary, they had transgressed the law, and ought to be convicted, if the extracts from the newspaper, set out in the information, contained no reasoning or discussion, but only declamation and invective, and were written, not with a view to elucidate the truth, but to injure the characters of individuals, and to bring into hatred and contempt the administration of justice in the country"—which should determine the question whether the comment which every newspaper proprietor and every member of the community are entitled to make were legitimate or not. I traverse altogether the representation of the facts upon which Mr. M'Hugh purported to comment made by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool. It is altogether inaccurate. What were the real facts? A man of the name of Hughes had a relative of the 647 name of Fealey. This Fealey was a broken man, and owed five years rent. He went to Hughes and asked him to come to the rescue. Hughes said he would take over the farm and pay the landlord £15, and if ever a time came when Fealey could repay the £15, he (Hughes) would restore him the farm. Things went on well enough till Fealey complained to the United Irish League, which held meetings at which Hughes was denounced as a vile wretch, a viper, a scabbed creature not fit to live, and who would be better dead. In consequence of this mean and contemptible pressure and intimidation Hughes gave up the farm, and it was for this that the men Muffney and Maguire were prosecuted and brought to justice. The hon. Member for Scotland Division said that I had contended that the tenants in Ireland had no right to combine. On the contrary, I said last year in the House, and I said it again at the trial, that they had a right to combine; but just as trade unions in England could not exercise terrorism or any kind of intimidation, so the farmers in Ireland were not to be allowed to exercise terrorism or intimidation either. I referred the hon. Member for Scotland Division to a decision of Lord Justice Lindley, in which he laid down these very lines in the case of Lyons, 1893, and when the hon. Member was confronted with that poser, with a sort of Falstaffian humour, he said he had never heard such nonsense or such bad law in all his life.
§ MR. ATKINSON
The important thing is that Mr. Justice Lindley laid it down that no trade union in this country could exercise terrorism or intimidation to effect its purposes. And that is also the law in Ireland. It is a slander against the trade unions of this country to say that they resort to practices resembling those resorted to in the case of this wretched man Hughes, who, for acting a benevolent and humane part towards his relative, was hunted like a wild beast from place to place, and ultimately compelled to give up his farm. When the case came on all these facts were proved. Hughes himself was examined, and the speeches delivered at the meetings of the United Irish League 648 were read. Hundreds of people were present at these meetings, but not a soul came forward to disprove the evidence given for the Crown. Not one. It was alleged that the twelve jurors who tried the case were all Protestants.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. Has he any objection to read the evidence of Hughes?
§ MR. ATKINSON
It would be impossible to road the whole of it, but I will read the summing-up of the Lord Chief Justice upon Mr. M'Hugh, where all the facts were stated.
§ MR. ATKINSON
I repeat that it is impossible for me to read the whole of his evidence; I must be allowed to regulate the mode in which I present the case to the Committee; and I am sure hon. Members as a rule will be satisfied with the summing-up of the Lord Chief Justice. I shall, however, be happy to supply the hon. Member with the only Report that I have myself. On that occasion twenty-two jurors were asked to stand aside. It was alleged that they were Catholics. It subsequently appeared that seventeen of them were members of the United Irish League.
§ MR. ATKINSON
I will tell the House about that. The gentleman subsequently went back upon what he said; but it may be necessary to call attention to the circumstances under which he did so. At present, returning to the case, the House should know that Hughes was, at six different meetings, held up to hatred as a public enemy too bad to live. It was said—"It wore better for him that he were dead." The jury found them guilty, and on the very next day, 6th December, Mr. M'Hugh published in his paper the statement that the conviction was secured by perjured evidence from a packed jury. Well, at all events, they were convicted 649 upon uncontradicted evidence. But this is only a part of a system and policy of vilification and abuse which the Irish Nationalist Members, being now united, have adopted in order to make government in Ireland impossible. It is by terrorism and an abuse of all legal comment that jurors individually are to be prevented from doing their duty. In his paper of the 6th December Mr. M'Hugh noticed that the case was to be proceeded with, and he boasted that the county of Sligo was honeycombed with the United Irish League. [An HON. MEMBER: All Ireland.] [Cheers.] Hon. Members cheer that. Am I to go through the public farce of trying United Irish Leaguers for intimidation committed by United Irish Leaguers to carry out the purposes of the League on persons who have made themselves obnoxious to the League by United Irish Leaguers? I call the attention of the Committee to the language of Mr. M'Hugh in this article, and if any English Member takes part in this debate I ask him will he pin himself to the statement that this article, which I am about to read, is a fair and just comment within the rules laid down for the administration of justice in this and every other country? It was on the question of comment that Mr. M'Hugh was really tried, because though in form he could not plead justification, he was entitled, on a plea of not guilty, to show that it was fair comment, and if it was found to have been fair comment he would have been acquitted. I would ask the Committee to distinguish between accusations made against the Government for alleged jury-packing and the accusations made, against individual jurors, who are in no way responsible for juries being packed, and who are victims, rather than anything else, brought against their will to discharge an unpleasant duty. Is the following fair comment or not on a proceeding in a court of justice? It was published in Mr. M'Hugh's paper on 16th December with reference to this trial—Yet we have the Crown and twelve Protestant jurors—whose verdict looks as if given by order, when it was so clearly anticipated—declaring as criminal the action of Messrs. Muffany and Maguire in condemning what Hughes himself practically admitted deserved condemnation. Could there be a greater mockery of justice, or a greater farce played by a Government which thinks its 650 so-called law as embodied even in such a minion as a removable magistrate not sufficiently respected sometimes? But such is English rule in Ireland, aided by the hacks of Dublin Castle"—
§ MR. ATKINSON (continuing)
and by a certain section of bigoted, intolerant, narrow-minded, ignorant Tories, who are ever ready to become willing tools to perpetrate a dirty job at the beck? of Dublin Castle. Unfortunately our town and county furnish a small section of such Protestants. It is singular that whenever the Castle has a 'job' to do it relies with confidence on these bigots, and, as events hero so often proved, they are never disappointed.Now we will put it to every member of the Protestant jury who returned a verdict of 'guilty' against Messrs. Muff any and Maguire. Let us take, for instance, Mr. Robert Martin, Mr. James J. Nelson, Mr. James Anderson. Mr. Robert Hunter, or Mr. Peter Graham of Dromard, and ask each of them, if (suppose through force of circumstances) he were evicted to-morrow from the home made dear to him through his own or his forefathers' exertions, would he regard it as a crime on the part of any honest man who justly condemned the vile creature who unscrupulously took possession of his place, though there was still a prospect of his being reinstated? Would he be a party to give six months' imprisonment to such a man for fearlessly condemning the grabber of his farm and his homestead? Should he answer in the affirmative, we say he is a liar, 'and the truth is not in him.' Then why convict Messrs Muff any and Maguire when on his oath? But we wonder if any consideration of this kind ever touched the hearts of the Protestant jurors before finally returning their verdict of 'guilty' against Messrs. Muff any and Maguire. We hardly think so. Kindly considerations have no room where prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance rule supreme.[Cheers.] I understand those cheers. Hon. Members practically approve of that comment. It is what they always indulge in when they quarrel with the particular Ministry in office, and in equal fairness to them I may add, when they quarrel among themselves. I have collected a number of epithets showered by the different Irish sections on each other, and I challenge hon. Members opposite to get epithets to apply to the present Administration, or to any other, half as offensive as they have occasionally applied to each other. If they are not satisfied with that, I can give them another collection of epithets which were, applied to the Administration of which my right hon. friend opposite was a member. We are accused of having packed juries, but we are as 651 nothing compared with the Administration with which my right hon. friend was connected, a member of which having been denounced in Dublin as "Morley: Twiss's murderer." The libel I have read was published on 16th December. The next libel was not published until 10th February. That was a speech delivered by Mr. John O'Donnell, who said—It is a terrible thing to say that Mr. Muffany and Mr. Maguire, who were not guilty of any crime except contributing to the peace of the district by attempting to blot out land-grabbing, with all its bad consequences, should besent to jail for six months (cries of 'Shame'). Why, those gentlemen did more for the peace of the district than all the paid police in it (hear, hear). For trying to do so they are now in Castlebar Jail—sent there by a packed jury in Sligo (groans). No matter what religion men may profess, or what politics they hold, the men who are capable of doing that sort of dirty work, are not worthy of the respect, patronage, or friendship of their neighbours (hear, hear). No matter where such hail from—either from town or country—they should be taught a lesson in each district. If they ask or need your patronage, friendship or support at any time, you should know how to treat them—how to treat those who went into a jury-box, where men of a particular creed or political profession were charged with what was only an offence according to the ideas of English law, and bring in a verdict of guilty, and thus consign them to a prison cell (cheers). We cannot speak too strongly on this matter (hear, hear). No matter where one of these fellows may be, no matter what his lot is—it is the duty of every Branch of the United Irish League within whose confines such a person is to be found, to use the words I used a couple of months ago, in reference to others—'At him again, boys!' Those perjured partisan Orangemen in the county of Sligo who do the bidding of Dublin Castle are the worst enemies you have (applause). It is your duty to band yourselves together to remove this dark blot on the name of Sligo. There is no use for me to go into details, and it would be an insult for me to point out to the intelligent men of Sligo the duty they owe to themselves and to their country"—That was what is called moral suasion. Moral suasion may be defined as calling a man "a viper," "a wretch," "a scabby sheep," "everybody's enemy," and that "he was bettor dead than living in possession of the farm." The speech continues—Everyone knows where the shoe pine lies No law compels a man to patronise, assist, or lavish his friendship on any man who goes into a jury-box and finds a verdict—an unjustifiable verdict—which sends a Nationalist to jail for trying to keep peace and goodwill in a district (cheers). This meeting should 652 be the commencement of hundreds of meetings, till Sligo rings with a deep indignation at the conduct of those men—I will not call them men, but ruffians who did the dirty work of Dublin Castle in the Sligo County Courthouse.That language was used in a country where within short history jurors have been maimed for doing their duty, threatened for doing their duty, and ruined financially for doing their duty. We are constantly told that jury-packing is not practised in England. There is precisely the same law in both countries for the last 600 years. The instrument is in England ready for use, and should it unhappily be that jurors in England were intimidated for doing their duty, or maimed, or ruined for doing their duty, that instrument would have to be used. You might as well say that a particular remedy for a particular disease is no remedy at all because people not afflicted with the disease do not take it.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
May I ask whether the speech which the hon. Gentleman has read and has been reading for some time past was not at a public meeting in County Donegal, and was not reported in the daily papers?
§ MR. ATKINSON
I read from the pleadings. It was a speech that was published, and the proprietor of the paper is responsible for its publication. It was said by Mr. M'Hugh at the time of the trial that be was away when it appeared, but nevertheless be was responsible for it.
§ MR. ATKINSON
This was published in his paper and he was responsible. The question I dealt with at Mr. M'Hugh's trial for seditious libel was this, that the main object of the publications was to denounce and vilify the jurors, and so defeat the administration of justice. This was the second count. Now I come to the last. On the 7th of April he returned to the charge, and he said—The Sligo packed jury. We give below a list of the Sligo packed jury in the case of Messrs. Muffany at the Connaught Winter Assizes. The men who did the bidding of the Crown were:—Robert Martin, Gortnagrass, farmer (Foreman). Hubert M'Master, of Cuilnagleragh, farmer. Archibald M'Master, of Ballinary, farmer. Thomas Cregg, of Lisanena, farmer. James Anderson, of Wine Street, Sligo, seedsman. Robert M'Kim, 653 Tireragh, farmer. John C. Wilson, of Ardnaree (Ballina), shopkeeper. George Acheson, of Drumsoghla, farmer. Peter Graham, of Altenelvick, farmer. Richard K. Taylor, of Cleavery, farmer. James J. Nelson, of Castle Street, Sligo, manager of the establishment of Francis Nelson, ironmonger, jeweller, photographer, &c. Robert Hunter, of Carrowkeel, farmer. Some of these are already trying to get into the good graces of their Nationalist fellow-countrymen, even while the two respectable Mayo men, whose only crime was the furtherance of the principles of the United Irish League, the victims of the cruel wrong perpetrated in the name of Justice, are yet lying in their cold and dreary cells in Castlebar Jail. Have County Sligo Nationalists succumbed to the present wave of flunkeyism which the visit of an old lady has caused to sweep over the land? We think not.The Irish Executive has disappeared entirely from the subject of comment in the last article published. It appeared in the first. Three months afterwards not a word was said about it; but the residence and occupation and the mode of living of the different men who tried these eases are all referred to. That was the charge upon which he was tried, and I say it is a travesty to call it an attack on the Administration. There is next to nothing in respect to jury-packing in the speech reported, and nothing at all in respect of it in the last article. I repeat that the only object of these publications was to hold the twelve jurors who served up to odium and execration and to terrify them and others like them, and if possible prevent them from giving a verdict on a future occasion against men guilty of intimidation. A great step will be made, no doubt, towards immunity for crime when jurors have to bear such penalties.
§ MR. ATKINSON
The Chief Justice, in giving his judgment, referred to these different matters, and summed up the case of Hughes in the way I have mentioned. He said, "He obviously presented a spectacle of abject fear," and then he asked this question—Why were the names given? Plainly that the jurors might be boycotted, and continue to be the objects of opprobrium and hatred. I said before, and I say now, that the journalist who holds up jurors by name to public odium and hatred incurs a grave responsibility indeed. We all remember what took place when a juror was 654 struck down in the streets of Dublin. What was the defence attempted to these grievous imputations? The defence sought to be setup was that Catholic jurors were directed to stand by The imputation made was that Protestant jurors were corrupt, and had violated their oaths What possible relevancy to this imputation had the allegation that Catholic jurors were directed to stand by? None whatsoever. In fact that jurors who were directed to stand by were Catholics could be no possible justification of the allegation that Protestant jurors had violated their oaths and acted corruptly. The defence was absolutely irrelevant. I listened to my friends Mr. Macinerney and Mr. Kehoe for more than an hour, and their defence was absolutely irrelevant of the twenty-two jurors who were directed to stand by. Mr. Tarrant, the solicitor, at the first trial stated that he believed seventeen were members of the United League. At the second trial he asserted that he believed he was in error in this statement, and that, so far as he knew, only four or live were members of the League. All this was absolutely irrelevant to the charge made. What had this to say to the allegation that the Protestant jury had acted corruptly, and had committed perjury? Absolutely nothing.That is the summing up of the Chief Justice. Now, I defy hon. Gentlemen to show, logically, to any human being, a justification for calling twelve men swine simply because the Executive has done wrong in putting them into the box. I now pass from Mr. M'Hugh. The Chief Justice who tried the case said he could not come to the conclusion that these were fair and reasonable comments. I challenge any hon. Member of this Committee to get up and, before the English people, justify them. I do not know who may be inclined to take part in this debate, but it was for those comments that Mr. M'Hugh was convicted, and I defy any hon. Member to get up and say that those comments were fair, within the lines of any authority he can produce. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool said that jury-packing had always been in Ireland. Denunciations had always been made against jury-packing. There has not been an Administration for a number of years, whether it was supported by the Home Rule party or not, that has not been denounced of jury-packing. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose was denounced. He was held up as a murderer by the journal of which the leader of the Irish party war at the time a director.
§ MR. ATKINSON
In the Weekly Independent of 16th February, 1895, there is this—MURDER!—A foul and deliberate murder hay been committed in Ireland. In the early morning of Saturday last, outside the wall of Cork City, a friendless unlettered Kerry peasant was murdered in cold blood, wantonly and with malice. A man named John Morley is charged with the crime. He is an Englishman, a politician by profession; and it is supposed he slew the dead man John Twiss for State purposes and to satisfy the cravings of his countrymen the English people. Let John Morley look to it…There is a limit to human endurance, even under a Liberal Administration in Ireland.
§ MR. ATKINSON
That was the judgment on a past Administration. I think hon. Members from Ireland hardly take this thing seriously. I can refer to comments of the creator of the present Irish party, the hon. Member for Cork, who has, in times past, held up Lord Spencer as a man who not only packed juries in order to obtain the conviction of men whom he knew to be innocent, but actually presided over the deliberations at which these innocent men were sentenced to the scaffold. The present Administration is attacked and denounced exactly as its predecessors have been.
§ MR. ATKINSON
Neither do we; but when twelve men, who are brought by the law against their will and put into the jury box, are denounced it is a different matter. My right hon. friend the Chief Secretary can no doubt treat such charges and statements with contempt, but how can the trader in the country town or the farmer on the lonely hillside regard them with contempt or indifference?
§ MR. ATKINSON
However that may be, we should be doubly base if, having placed them there, we deserted them. It is because we have not deserted them but have thrown over them this protection of the law, and brought the calumniator before the courts of justice, that this outcry is made.
§ MR. ATKINSON
The defence of the present Administration to the accusation of jury packing is that which has been made on every similar occasion by Members of the Front Bench opposite, namely, that men are not set aside because they are Roman Catholics. Lord Spencer said the same. The officials who at present carry out this duty act under a circular framed and issued in 1894 by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose, by it the Crown solicitors are expressly forbidden to set aside any man because of his religion. If jurors belonged to a particular society, and are prejudiced, or in some other way unfit to serve, and are in consequence set aside, it may so happen that some or most of them would be Roman Catholics. In Sligo, for instance, at the present moment, if a man were to be tried for committing a crime, such as intimidation, unless members of the League were allowed to try other members of the League for acts committed in furtherance of the objects of the League, men would have to be set aside, and in all human probability a considerable number of them would be Roman Catholics. It is only just and right that there should be some means of setting aside men, even though it could not be absolutely proved that they were prejudiced or interested. Let me give another quotation. It is from the judgment of Lord Campbell in Reg. v. Maunsell 8 E. & B. 71:—But there was no intention of taking away all power of peremptory challenge from the Crown while that power to the number of 35 was left to the prisoner. Indeed unless this power were given under certain restrictions to both sides it is quite obvious it could not be satisfactorily administered, for it must often happen that a juror is returned on the panel who does not stand indifferent, and who is not fit to serve upon the trial although no legal evidence could be adduced to prove his unfitness.So in these cases in Ireland you are 657 obliged to set aside men for partiality, prejudice, fear, or anything else which makes them unfit to serve. Let me call the attention of the Committee to a paragraph in the Report of a House of Lords Committee upon this question.
§ MR. ATKINSON
The Report is dated May, 1881, and can be referred to. The Report gives three causes of the failure of the jury system in Ireland, of which the first is want of intelligence; the second, intimidation and fear; and the third, sympathy with the accused. Referring to the second cause, the Report states in the twenty-second paragraph—Passing to the second explanation…the evidence leaves no room for doubt that in many cases the fears of the jurors have been operated upon, sometimes by direct intimidation, sometimes by the apprehension of consequences morally or materially injurious to themselves. Members of the jury panel are, we learn, not unfrequently subjected to pressure in anticipation of a coming trial. It is obvious that in districts where the whole agricultural community is penetrated by a widespread organisation which habitually enforces its rules by the maltreatment or persecution of those who disregard them, it must be difficult or impossible for jurors, themselves members of that community, to withstand the influences to which they are exposed.[During this portion of his speech the right hon. and learned Member was constantly interrupted by various Nationalist Members.]
I must ask hon. Members not to interrupt. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division was listened to very quietly, and the least hon. Members can do is to listen to the reply of the other side.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
I do not want an opportunity. The right hon. Gentleman is quoting from the Report of a Committee. The names of the Committee are there, but he will not give them.
§ MR. ATKINSON
The hon. Member has no right to make that statement. The names are not here. I have quoted an extract, but I have given the date of the document, so that it can be referred to. Before I leave paragraph twenty-two. I might say that, according to Mr. M'Hugh's own statement, Sligo was honeycombed with an organisation such as is there described. Paragraphs twenty-three and twenty-four of the same Report run as follows—The sympathies of the jurors are, moreover….as likely to be appealed to as their fears; those sympathies, considering the fact that they belong almost entirely to the farming class, must, in all trials….connected in any way with the occupation of land, be actively engaged upon the side of the party whose interests are identical with their own.In such cases, the laws which the jurors are called upon to enforce are out of harmony with their own convictions, and are, therefore, deliberately disregarded in favour of an unwritten code more congenial to their prejudices, and possibly by them considered to be more obligatory upon their own consciences.I submit that as far as Mr. M'Hugh's trial is concerned, there is no justification whatever for saying the administration of the law was not properly carried out. As far as jury-packing is complained of, we have followed the same lines as have been followed by our predecessors upon all occasions. I challenge hon. Members to point to a single responsible person acquainted with the working of the system who will say that it is possible to dispense with the right of challenging jurors in the administration of the law in Ireland. I would refer in this connection to the late Lord Justice Barry, whom, I think, all classes of the community trusted, and he in his evidence before the same Committee stated that it was perfectly impossible that this right should be dispensed with. I do not think there is any person responsible for the administration of the law who would not rejoice if it was possible to obtain an impartial jury in Ireland without the right of challenge. But one is forced to use that right by this necessity—that either the administration of the law must completely break down and there must be immunity from punishment for the worst of criminals, or the authorities must endeavour to weed out from the jury box all men who from fear or interest will not return a fair verdict as between the Crown and 659 the prisoner. It has been said that this is an insult to Roman Catholics. I deny that because jurors are peremptorily challenged in Ireland there is any implication of perjury against them. So necessary is the right of challenge in Ireland to procure the fair administration of the law that under the Act of 1876, brought in by Lord O'Hagan, suitors in civil actions and persons accused of misdemeanour are given a right of challenge which does not exist in England. The hon. Member for East Donegal the other day cited an instance in which the judgment of a Lord Chancellor of England was set aside because he had some pecuniary interest in the subject-matter of the cause. Was that an imputation of perjury? Railway directors, persons interested in the liquor trade, and others are disqualified on the ground of interest from sitting as magistrates at licensing sessions. But this involves no imputation of perjury. Under the Truck Acts, a man engaged in any particular manufacturing industry cannot sit as a magistrate in a prosecution under these Acts in a case connected with a similar industry, The object of this proviso in the Truck Acts is to secure a pure administration of the law. In such a case is the magistrate branded as a perjurer? At the first trial Mr. M'Hughs's solicitor swore that of the twenty-two persons who were challenged seventeen were members of the League, and the other five he said he was not sure about. That fact was commented upon both by the judge and by counsel. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool told us how many were set aside at the first trial, but he did not state how many were set aside upon the last occasion. At the last trial four were set aside by the Crown, while six were challenged by the prisoner. The panel is not the making of the Crown, and the Crown has no power whatever over its formation; it is framed almost automatically by the sheriff. I contend that prejudice, sympathy, fear, and other disturbing motives are a legitimate reason for excluding men from the jury-box. Mr. William O'Brien has said, in his evidence given before the Parnell Commissioners, in cross-examination, that jurymen ought not to be guided by the law of the land, but entirely by their 660 own consciences. Hon. Members opposite are seeking to erect in Ireland a power above the law of the land whose laws were different from the law of the land, and to teach men that, although they might be sworn to find a verdict according to the evidence and the law of the land, they were to disregard it and find one according to the law of the league or society to which they belonged. That may be right or wrong, but I submit with confidence that a person in my position, charged with the administration of the law, knowing no law except the law of the land, whose duty it is to protect the rights and privileges which that law gives, would fail in his duty if he did not take advantage of all legitimate means to remove from the jury box men who are tutored to promote or approve of a certain form of crime, and who are unwilling to act on the evidence given before them.
§ SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)
I think it is a very important question that has been raised in this debate. The right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down stated that he would address himself to main objects. One was the specific case of Mr. M'Hugh, who has been imprisoned. With regard to that, I am not familiar with the facts in the least. I do not know the history of that case, nor do I desire to express any opinion upon it. It would be a very wrong thing for me to express any opinion upon it unless I had studied the facts. As to what the Attorney General says of violence of language, I am very much in the humour, if I can, to agree with him. He seems to possess an anthology of abusive language used in regard to other persons than himself on which he set some store. If he will add to that some of the violent and abusive language that has been used by some of the so-called most reputable newspapers in London during the last twelve months against those who differ from them in opinion, I am sure he will find the addition interesting. The observations of the right hon. Gentleman to which I wish to refer are those in which he dealt with the general system of jury packing in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman did not in terms deny the existence of this jury-packing. It is a question of what 661 words mean. He may understand it in one way, and I may understand it in another way. What I mean is, that men are on a large scale set aside and not empanelled on juries in Ireland, so that you have the entire jury of one political or religious complexion. The facts have been stated by my hon. friend the Member for the Scotland Division, and they have not been controverted. It is an old complaint. There is Cork, with nearly 400,000 Roman Catholics and 35,000 Protestants, and yet the jury to which reference has been made in the course of the present discussion was wholly Protestant. There has been a trial at Sligo. I am not quite sure that I accurately followed the figures, but I understand that in Sligo there are 50,000 Catholics, and 7,000 Protestants. In that case also there was a jury in which the whole of them were Protestants, or it may be a case in which there was one Roman Catholic on the jury. [An HON. MEMBER: All were Protestants.] All were Protestants. It seems also in the case of Mr. M'Hugh at Dublin the jury consisted entirely of Protestants.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
I beg the right hon. Gentleman's pardon. I put the question to the right hon. and learned Gentleman during my speech, and I repeat it: Will he, or will he not, deny that every single member of that jury who tried Mr. M'Hugh was Protestant?
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
I definitely stated, on information which I know to be correct, that every member of that jury was Protestant.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
Whether they were Home Rulers or not, or whatever their religion or their creed might be, I wish to point out the real significance of this procedure. It is said the same law exists in England. Granted that the law in England is the same in a case of misdemeanour, and that there is the power and the right on the part of the Crown to order jurors to stand by. The meaning of it is that when a man comes to the box to be sworn as a juror the Crown may object. They may object to 662 any number, and the consequence is that by a process of exhaustion they may select their own jury. Pray observe that this is the law. I went to one of the first authorities in England and asked whether, in a case of misdemeanour, there was the right to order a man to stand by. "Upon my honour," he said, "I do not know."
§ MR. ATKINSON
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Gentleman. I have cited the case of the Queen against Maunsell in 1857, when a number of jurors were asked to stand by.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
If the Attorney General for Ireland had honoured me by attending to what I said, he would have heard that I was speaking of misdemeanants. The case of Maunsell in 1857 is perfectly well known, but it was a case of murder. Did he ever hear a case of murder called a case of misdemeanour? But let us get out of that small point. The point is this, that it is undoubtedly the law in England that in cases of felony the Crown can order jurors to stand by to any number. It can also be done in the case of misdemeanour, and the only reason I refer to it is because an eminent authority was unaware of the law existing: and in the case of felony also in England I will undertake to say that there is no gentleman in this House who has ever seen a juror ordered to stand by. Well, the right is exercised in a reasonable and proper way. If the officer of the court is told that a particular person is challenged cither by the Crown or the prisoner, it will be to a reasonable extent acted upon, and no more than a reasonable extent. The point is this, we are not dealing with what the law is. I have stated that the law of England admits of this gross abuse. There is no doubt about it at all, but the point is that the law is not abused in England. The Attorney General for Ireland said this was one of the weapons in the armoury of the English law, and that at some time it might come to be used. I grant that he did not anticipate an early approach of the time when a power of this kind, which entitles the Crown to order jurors to stand by, might be on a large scale employed. Now, what would it mean? It means that the Crown, by using this prerogative, or this right, is to be able to fill the jury- 663 box with exactly the number of jurors that it thinks fit to choose, and to pack the jury in the way it thinks proper under this law. All I can say with reference to that is that the English Attorney General would have a very bad time who came to this House and had to acknowledge that any practice of that kind had been introduced into this country. Let us see whether it is put in practice. The Attorney General for Ireland asked, Are you prepared to recommend that this right should be struck out of the Irish law or of the English law? No, Sir. It is the only method in cases of misdemeanour by which the Crown can object to any person at all. I should not desire that it should be struck out, but I certainly do desire that it should be properly used. The essence of the thing is its abuse. The objection to one, or two, or three is not wrong, when the objection is made in good faith, and it is made for the purpose of carrying out the law with which people are in sympathy and ought to be in sympathy. The objection is to the abuse of the system. I do not know, therefore, that it is necessary to answer the Attorney General any further on that point. I repeat, is it just? It is said that this is necessary in a country which is torn by dissensions and animosities. What is the effect of it? The effect of it is that one party to the animosity are struck out, because they are likely to be prepossessed in favour of the prisoner, but are not the residue likely to be prepossessed against the prisoner? That is the difficulty which we have in dealing with these cases. The Attorney General for Ireland further observed that it had been done under all Administrations. I do not know that I have been in any way responsible for Irish Administrations, but this much I will say, that if it was done under the late Administration, which was under Mr. Gladstone in the first instance and Lord Rosebery in the second, it was done contemporaneously with a desire to reform the whole administration which made these things possible.
I do not know whether the Committee is prepared to accept the final plea of the Attorney General for Ireland that he was bound to do this for the purpose of protecting witnesses and preventing crime. I understand the position as the right hon. 664 Gentleman put it to be this—if you are governing a country in which the people are so disaffected towards the law, and the administration of the law, you are bound to pack the jury. It may be that you are not entitled to allow people to be murdered right and left, and that you will have to take imperfect justice, but do not mistake it for perfect justice. You may say this is improper; but I would be beseech you not to sully justice by jury-packing. In the course of the Dreyfus case—I am not comparing this with the Dreyfus case—one of the judges drew a distinction between two different kinds of justice. He said military justice is a different thing from civil justice. "No," said M. Labori "there is only one kind of justice—true justice." You cannot say that of jury-packing. If it be true that under the present system life and property cannot be protected in Ireland without jury-packing, then you cannot protect life and property in Ireland without poisoning the wells of justice. That should be put an end to. There is one method by which to abolish the hypocrisy of trial by jury, and that is adopt the system of trial by judge alone. But I do not recommend that. There is another method—I do not know why the Solicitor General should laugh, but I am prepared to tell it to him—and that is to bring the administration of the law in Ireland by a constitutional change into harmony with the wishes of the people.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir ROBERT FINLAY, Inverness Burghs)
There is no man for whom I have a greater respect than the hon. and learned Member for the Dumfries Burghs, but I must say, and I do it with great regret, that I think his misguided sympathies have, on this occasion, led him to join in what is an attack on the administration of the law in Ireland as carried out, not only under this Government, but under those who were his own colleagues. Every administration in Ireland have had the like charges brought against them. They were made in quite as strong terms against the Members of the Liberal as against this Government, and the only apology that my hon. and learned friend had to offer was, as I understand, that the members of the Liberal Government were pledged to carry out reforms. I also heard with considerable regret 665 another observation made by my hon. and learned friend. Attention was called to the terms of the newspaper comment which formed the subject of this prosecution, and my hon. and learned friend referred to the terms in which some of his political associates, if not himself, had been attacked by certain London newspapers. I appeal to every man who heard what was read by the Attorney General for Ireland and who has acquaintance with the London Press to say whether the slightest comparison can be drawn between the expressions in those articles and anything which has appeared in the London press.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
If the Attorney General will excuse me, as a matter of fact I was not comparing the articles in the London Press with the articles to which the Attorney General for Ireland alluded. What I was comparing was the choice language of abuse.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I accept my hon. and learned friend's statement. I am perfectly certain that the language of the hon. and learned gentleman will be misconstrued out of doors, and that a different meaning will be attached to it coming from a man of his experience in the House and in his profession. What we have to do with in this case are the comments on the conduct of jurors in the discharge of their duty in the administration of justice.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
That is not the case. It is a gross misstatement on the part of the hon. and learned Gentleman. I do not know whether he was present when I introduced this motion. But if he were present he must have known that I declared that my case was not confined and did not deal mainly with Mr. M'Hugh's case, but with the packing of juries in Dublin and Cork and Sligo and all over Ireland.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I am perfectly aware that the hon. Gentleman said that. I heard him saying it. But I say he was diverting attention from the real issue and the real charge. What the Attorney General for Ireland demonstrated was that jurors were threatened, vengeance was invoked upon them, and they were held up to public odium and contempt for the part they took in doing their duty 666 in a case in which certain persons were charged with conduct which, if committed by members of any trade union in England, would certainly have sent them to prison for a criminal offence. The hon. Gentleman, instead of directing his attention to the real nature of the charge against a Member of this House who was convicted, said he desired to draw attention to the whole subject of jury-packing. For my part I entirely object to the epithet "jury-packing" as applied to those who are responsible for the administration of justice in Ireland. The true jury-packers in Ireland are the League and those who sympathise with the League. What they would desire to see is that in any charge of intimidation against members of the League the majority of the jury should be members of the League too.
§ MR. CREAN (Cork, S.E.)
In one case, out of forty-three Catholics challenged only two belonged to the League.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
I am sorry I cannot really say what were the precise proportions of members of the League in each case; but we know that the proportions were very different in the case with which we are more immediately concerned. I ask the Committee whether the presence, in a case of this kind, of men who are notoriously in sympathy with such intimidation would not reduce the administration of justice in Ireland to a farce.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
It is not the Crown which packs the juries. What the Crown does is to endeavour to secure an impartial jury, who shall return a verdict according to the evidence.
§ SIR ROBERT FINLAY
What the hon. Gentleman desires is a jury which prefers to give a verdict in the teeth of the evidence. But I pass from that. The hon. Gentleman admits that the same right of ordering jurors to stand by exists in England, but the right is not often exercised. Why? Because, as is perfectly well known, if either side has an objection to a juryman the clerk is asked not to call that person. Both sides act reasonably in the matter. [Cries of 667 "Oh, oh" from the Irish Benches.] I wish hon. Gentlemen would always endeavour to act reasonably. The only reason why in this country the right of ordering jurors to stand by on the part of the Crown is not exercised is that it is not necessary. My hon. and learned friend spent some time in demonstrating that the state of things here was not like that in Ireland. I do not think he needed to establish that proposition. I ask my hon. and learned friend, who is responsible? Suppose that in some district in England there was a state of things resembling that which unfortunately exists in some counties in Ireland at the present time, where many of those summoned on the panel are notoriously in sympathy with the criminals, and who, if they served, might be trusted to find a verdict of not guilty, whatever the evidence; I am perfectly certain that the hon. and learned Gentleman would have the courage of his position and would fearlessly assert the right of ordering such persons to stand by until he secured an impartial jury for the trial of the case. I am perfectly certain that he, in England, would act as my right hon. and learned friend the Attorney General for Ireland has acted in Ireland in similar circumstances.
My hon. and learned friend used one expression which. I confess, filled me with very great regret. He said that the right of asking jurors to stand by had been grossly abused in Ireland. I listened with attention to all he said, but he did not adduce one scrap of evidence of it. It is a very serious thing when a gentleman of the very high position of my hon. and learned friend, and who is so justly respected in this House and the country, makes a charge of this kind against the Attorney General for Ireland in the execution of his duty in the administration of justice in Ireland, and tells the country that the right of challenge has been grossly abused, and does not adduce a scrap of evidence in support of his statement. It is said that all those who are asked to stand aside are Roman Catholics. The circumstance that persons ordered to stand by were Roman Catholics has nothing to do with it. They were ordered to stand by because those responsible for the trial 668 believed on sufficient grounds that they could not be trusted to try the case impartially. In calmer moments, I trust, the hon. and learned Gentleman will feel that it is a serious thing that one of his eminence in the profession should make such charges against those who are responsible for the administration of the law in Ireland. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: Why should he not tell the truth?] On the whole, I submit to the Committee that the answer made by my right hon. and learned friend the Attorney General for Ireland to the charges levelled against him was complete. They are charges which are invariably advanced against every Irish administration, whatever party is in power, and which are, I believe, as devoid of truth as those levelled against my right hon. and learned friend.
§ *MR. BLAKE (Longford, S.)
said he had no intention of detaining the attention of the Committee on the particular case, however important, upon which the Attorney General and the Government would desire that the debate should exclusively turn. The debate concerned itself mainly with the deeper question—the general question of the administration of justice in Ireland in the department of the selection and composition of juries for the conduct of criminal cases. That was the real question. I was not a new question; but it was a question the age of which rendered it all the more intolerable. It was a question which demanded the attention of the English people, who, themselves free, believed they were giving the same freedom to Ireland that they claimed for themselves, which, in the present heyday of freedom in England, demanded the attention of those Englishmen who were in truth treating the sister island in such a different fashion. The Attorney General for England said that no man was made to stand aside because of his religion, or except for the purpose of securing an impartial jury. But in the cases which they had before them that day, and in the cases which they heard of from day to day, and in the cases which they had heard of for 150 years in history—in all these cases the practical result had been that the Crown had in certain classes of trials used its power to make jurors stand 669 by, in respect of a panel composed in a large majority of Roman Catholics, so as to set aside all the Roman, Catholics called until twelve Protestants had been found to form the jury. That was the general rule, and when that was found to be the case, they might easily see how the matter in fact stood. In Cork the other day there were forty-two Catholic jurors made to stand by in order to secure by that easy, simple—if somewhat protracted—process, twelve who were Protestants. In the Sligo case there were twenty-two Roman Catholics made to stand by until the same result was obtained. It was because that was the general practice in certain classes of trials that the matter deserved the attention of Parliament.
Now it was said that that meant obtaining an impartial jury. Yes, impartial just according to the view of those who had insisted on maintaining the old principle of Protestant ascendency as long as they could, and who, still clinging to that principle even now, insisted on breaking down what should be the main protection and bulwark of the people in time of need—the twelve men in the box. Chatham, clarum et venerabile nomen, said that the essence of the British Constitution was that it secured the twelve men in the box. Yes; but what kind of men? Not twelve men selected by the Crown on an issue between the Crown and the subject. The Attorney General—whose servants time after time produced the result that from a panel in which a large majority was Roman Catholic every Roman Catholic was eliminated, and Protestants alone were chosen—asked the Committee to believe that that was a result with which faith and religion had nothing to do. The contention was absurd. Why could such things not occur in England? Because England had the reality of free government by the people, because the people were governed by laws which they knew they had made, and which they knew they could amend. It was because they themselves had made the laws, and could by constitutional means amend them, that the laws had, on the whole, their sympathy and support, and thus the twelve men in the box were the guardians of the law. The condition of things in the sister isle was that the people did not make the laws which 670 they were called upon to obey. The laws were made by the British majority in spite of and in opposition to the feelings of the people constantly and constitutionally expressed. And it was because the laws were so made, and the defects of the law were not to be remedied by constitutional process, because Ireland could not secure the change of her laws where they were in her opinion wrong, that the very basis on which the foundation of the system and the utility of the twelve men in the box rested did not there exist. He could therefore understand the real reason for the hon. Gentleman's action in thus perverting the system of the administration of justice. The root of the evil was that in respect to the legislative control of the affairs of the Irish people by that which was called the common Parliament, but which was in speech the English Parliament, the Irish had not got the essentials of freedom. And, as the Government could not satisfactorily secure the execution of these laws—their own laws according to their own forms of justice—so they used in Ireland that power, that weapon, which rested, rusty, it was true, in the armoury of the English law, but which was never brought out there, and which, if it were brought out, would soon be turned against the man who did so with fatal results. Parliament, which ruled Ireland against the wishes of its people, allowed that which it would not for an instant tolerate in England to continue the rule in Ireland, so that it might continue to govern Ireland really despotically, disregarding the substance, while pretending to respect the forms, of British justice. He agreed with his hon. friend the Member for Dumfries, infinitely better would it be that the forms of justice were abolished, that the naked truth should be known, that the sham of having twelve men in the box should be done away, and that they should do openly what they did in fact—govern Ireland according to a despotic system.
He did not believe that in earlier days the people of England would have been so indifferent on this question as they were to-day. They lived now in such full freedom that they did not realise adequately the vital necessity for those securities for the liberty of the subject which they had fought for in former 671 times, when the power of the Crown was greater, when the difficulty of maintaining the rights and liberties of the people against the Crown was more severe, when there was but an imperfect representation of the people in Parliament, and when the jury-box was the bulwark and security of the subject against oppression. But they all remembered cases of jurors who were said to violate their oaths, and of whom no man thought the worse to-day. There were times when in great trials for seditious libel, and in spite of the threats of the highest authorities of the law, jurymen insisted on delivering a general verdict of not guilty. There was also a time when it was found utterly impossible to induce Parliament to humanise the criminal law. There was a time when a poor young woman, newly a mother, whose husband had been taken by a press-gang, was arrested for stealing a loaf of bread to save herself and her offspring from starvation, and was sentenced, her child at her breast, to the gallows. There was a time when capital punishment was inflicted for forgery of a note and for stealing any article valued at over 40s. Judges of the highest attributes, bishops of the greatest sanctity, the House of Commons and the House of Peers refused year after year—almost generation after generation—to change these barbarous laws. Who changed them? The twelve men in the box. How? By refusing to become accomplices in the crime of executing them.
We now admired the juries of those days; we admired the common juror, who, splendide mendax, refused to find men guilty of stealing small amounts, and of forgery, when the sentence following conviction would be the gallows. What changed these laws in the end? Not so much the increased humanity of the noble Peers, or of the aristocratic House of Commons, or of the eminent judges, or of the saintly bishops, as the fact that the twelve men in the box had made the law impossible of execution. And the bankers and traders, yes, the City, in whose interests they were told it was necessary to maintain capital punishment in order to secure them against forgery and theft, presented petitions to Parliament saying they could get no convictions, and cones- 672 quently no punishments, because the juries would not convict, and asking for a change to secure some punishment; and so the twelve men in the box changed the law. Mark that Parliament did not then pack the jury in order to execute the laws it would fain have upheld. No; it reluctantly made the law such that coached juries would execute it. No one, now defamed the jurors who, placed in a dreadful position, declined to execute these barbarities. No; everyone regretted the callousness and the blindness and inhumanity of those high-placed legislators then responsible for the legislation of the country. He invited Englishmen who were not wantoning in liberty, who were giving up trial by jury to a great extent in favour of trial by a judge, to recollect that even in England it was possible that a day might conic when the work of the twelve men in the box might be required again. But those twelve men, to do their work, must not be the men which the Crown might like to choose. They must not be packed. He invited them meantime to remember that they had set up in Ireland under the present political system a condition which was very different; in things political, things religious, and in things which concerned the land. God knew that for that state of things the great majority of the population was not mainly responsible. The responsibility rested mainly upon a minority in Ireland which a British Government had put there; which it kept there, sustained there, and guarded there, and upon whose advice and opinion the Government largely acted. It was a condition of things which everyone deplored, and all desired to see diminish and gradually fade away. How was it possible for such a result to be achieved so long as such charges could be made with reference to the administration of justice in Ireland as had been heard in this debate, which practically showed that the Administration by its deeds, speaking louder than words, said the "only way we can get our laws obeyed is by keeping Catholics out of the box, by making them stand aside until we can get twelve Protestants in the box." That was not done literally in all cases; of course, if it were, it would become intolerable, even in English opinion, of what is tolerable for Ireland. 673 But in these particular classes of cases it was done, and, so far as he could see no test, except the test of religious faith, was, speaking broadly, applied as to the fitness to serve on a jury. It was a rough and ready test indeed; it was a shameful test; but it was the general test applied.
Now this was an absolutely intolerable condition of things, and those Ministers who said that that condition was necessary in order to carry on the Government and administer the law in Ireland showed by their statement that the Government of Ireland stood self-condemned. That this condition of things would be deemed in England intolerable should have taught the English Administration of Ireland that it was intolerable in Ireland also, and that they should bring about a change in the administration if they desired to be benefactors to the country. Conceive the effect of this mode of selecting the jury upon the masses of the population. What must be the feelings of the majority when in this class of cases in the Courts of Justice they saw that men of the faith—to which he did not belong—the Roman Catholic faith, were excluded from the jury-box as being incapable of giving a just verdict, when it was said across the floor of the House that the majority of the population were unable to act impartially in these matters, while the minority were all admirably just and absolutely impartial. If there was any bitterness of feeling in Ireland, was it all on the part of the majority? Was it not just as much, was it not even far more, on the part of the minority? Did not the minority, so long as they could ride roughshod over the majority, did not they hold on as long as they could to every coign of vantage and place of power from which they could control the country? Were they not those very men who were still clinging to every point of vantage ground that remained to them by virtue of the administration of the law of Ireland—the advantage guaranteed by having twelve men of their faith and opinions in the jury-box? And yet, forsooth, it was gravely said they were to be accepted as the impartial men! He would close by reiterating that he was not at all surprised at the course which right hon. Gentlemen adopted; it was on a piece with much more, all which was rendered necessary by their determination to rule, 674 in every department, legislative as well as executive, not by methods which Englishmen would tolerate for a moment if applied to themselves, but by despotic and unconstitutional methods, the country which they misgoverned.
§ *MR. DUFFY (Galway, S.)
said that he was more or less concerned in the infamous system of jury-packing which was under the consideration of the House that evening, by reason of the fact that some short time age he had the honour and distinction of being placed in one of Her late Majesty's prisons, and therefore he ventured to trespass upon the time of the House for a few minutes. He desired to refer to the characteristically strange speech delivered by the Attorney General for Ireland. He was not going to follow him through all the vagaries of his serpentine performance, in straying away from the main road of discussion into the byeways and "boreens" of Parliamentary debate, in order to whitewash the action of the Irish Government, and in order to extricate them from the position in which the speech of his hon. friend the Member for the Scotland Division had placed them. The Attorney General for Ireland's speech was characteristic of that class of speech which they had been in the habit of hearing from his predecessors. In matter and in style his defence reminded him of the twopenny-halfpenny arguments of the village attorneys in the West of Ireland, for when they had no real defence they attacked right and left and centre.
He did not look at the debate which had been introduced upon this question in the same light as the right hon. Gentleman, who seemed to underestimate its consequences and its results. This mean and despicable system of jury-packing in Ireland was a continuation of a system which had been carried on in Ireland for centuries, and a more important question could not possibly engage the attention of the House of Commons. It was not a matter of to-day, or yesterday, or last year. It was the growth of centuries. This pernicious system had been handed down to them along the stream of time, and now it actually stank in the nostrils of the people. To-day any man who sympathised with the Irish people, and endeavoured to lift 675 them up from the sad and pitiable position which they occupied at present, was at once singled out and pounced upon by the British Government in Ireland. In such a case, if the Government could not find a jury sufficiently pliant in the district in which the prisoner lived, then they changed the venue of the trial, and, by using all the powers entrusted to the Government, they had no difficulty in getting together a jury who would find any verdict they chose. It was useless for the Attorney General for Ireland to try to deny this. It was a matter within the knowledge of every man in this House. It was the experience of Ireland in the course of the past hundred years, and it was his own personal experience during the last twenty years. It might strike English Members as a singular thing that Irishmen for certain so-called offences gloried in being sent to prison, but that should be a revelation to them that there was a depth of patriotism which welled up in the Irish heart that all the laws and all the tyranny of the Irish Government could not dispose of. In his own particular case, some years ago he was arrested with some other Nationalists in his district on a charge of criminal conspiracy or some peculiar charge of that kind. Not alone did the Crown resort to the extreme step of dragging them from the extreme western seaboard to the extreme eastern seaboard, from Galway to Wicklow, a distance of 150 miles, but when the Crown had them there they resorted to the foul and pernicious system of jury-packing. They placed on the jury twelve good and true men from the Orange lodges of the county Wicklow. His hon. friends knew perfectly well that it was a county choke full of broken-down and seedy landlords, land agents, ex-army officers, and a heterogeneous body of men who were not likely to hold the scales of justice evenly and impartially between men like himself, who were engaged in an agrarian struggle, and the representatives of the class they were waging an unrelenting war against. It was like sending a sinner before the old chap in the lower regions for judgment. They were convicted by that jury of men, who from every point of view were their enemies, and 676 who were only too delighted to have it in their power to send a Land Leaguer to gaol. They were tried by a body of men whose passions were fiercely aroused, whose hatred and prejudice were so strong that they were not only perfectly willing to convict them, but he verily believed that if they could they would have gobbled them up. The hon. Member afterwards referred to the case of the Craughwell prisoners. He had endeavoured to bring the case of those unfortunate men under the notice of the House on several occasions, but owing to one cause or another he was precluded. He did not intend to go into the facts of the case at present. He did not know that he would be entitled to do so, even if he desired, but he warned the right hon. Gentleman opposite that he would hear more of that business before he had done with him. They were taken from county Galway to county Wicklow, and from Wicklow to Sligo, that favourite bunting ground of the Castle lawyers in Ireland. In the county Sligo these unfortunate men were brought to trial on a capital charge. On such an occasion one would think that the Crown would hesitate before treating them with loaded dice. But no; feelings of conscience—feelings of humanity—constitutional feelings weighed not with the Government in the least. At the first trial a jury composed partly of Catholics and partly of Protestants was empannelled, and after a long and patient hearing the jury disagreed, but there and then the Crown prosecutor decided to have a second trial, and on the next occasion he was determined that he would not be baulked. At the second trial thirty-four jurors were told to stand aside, and twelve true, tried, and trusted Protestants were empannelled to try them—a body of men whom the Crown knew right well would bring in the verdict which was wanted. The jurors of Sligo had been aptly described as men who were steeped all over with the deadliest feeling of political animus. Was it to be wondered at that these two unfortunate men were convicted and sentenced to death? He wished the House to bear in mind a most important matter in connection with this case. When these men were awaiting 677 their second trial the Crown representatives in Ireland caused a message to be conveyed to the unfortunate men in prison informing them that if they would plead guilty to the crime with which they were charged the comparatively light sentence of eight years imprisonment would be inflicted. Though the Crown resorted to every foul and despicable means to bribe these men away from conscience and from the path of moral rectitude they did not succeed. They had held out the hope that on certain conditions these men would be liberated on ticket-of-leave. They had now spent eighteen years in prison. Was the vengeance of the Government not yet satisfied? When he quite recently in this House asked a question in regard to these men the same cold, callous, stereotyped reply was given as had been given at every stage in the history of the relations between England and Ireland, namely, that the law must take its course.
When the Crown in Ireland sowed the seeds of disaffection and disturbance, when they sowed the seeds of rebellion amongst the people, as he contended they had done in the past, what rank humbug and hypocrisy it was for the Attorney Generals for Ireland and for England to stand up and taunt the Nationalists across the floor of the House of Commons with being disloyal to a Constitution which practised and inflicted such disgraceful infamies on their people—a Constitution which, instead of holding the scales evenly between the accusers and the accused, allowed justice to walk into open court with the dice loaded, eyes bandaged, unabashed and unashamed, with a fixed determination to crush and persecute anyone who stood in the way of the triumphant march of political meanness and slavery. With all due respect and deference he said that the hour had arrived when the leaders of the political movement in Ireland must take action, in this matter. They must both inside this House and in Ireland back up and support the action of Mr. M'Hugh and the Freeman's Journal in their efforts to put down jury-packing in Ireland. Unless that accursed system was to go on for ever the Irish people must ask themselves the question—Is there no remedy for this unfortunate state of 678 things? Irish jurors had the settlement of the matter entirely in their own hands. Irish Catholic jurors in the future, when they were told to stand aside, should remember that an insult and an indignity had been offered not alone to themselves, their characters and their nationality, but also to their ancient faith. He held that the Irishman who henceforward would allow such an, indignity and disgrace to be inflicted upon him, participated, to a certain extent, in the prostitution of justice and an abnegation of the right of trial by jury, and would deserve and be entitled to be called a blasphemer and an idolator. If Irish jurors during the coming sessions, shortly to be held, when political offences, or at least charges arising out of political offences, would be submitted to them, would only bear in mind the duty they owed to themselves, to their religion, and to their faith, he honestly and sincerely believed that the day was not far distant when an end would be put to a state of things which had wrought untold mischief and harm to a large number of his fellow-countrymen in the past, and, through its operation in the present day, had caused a number of men to while away their lives, in the evening of old age, within the miserable and dreary walls of His Majesty's prisons.
§ MR. J. P. FARRELL (Longford, N.)
congratulated his hon. friend who had just sat down on the very able speech which he had made against the system of jury-packing, and the very high level of eloquence to which he had attained in endeavouring to induce his fellow-countrymen to take steps to put an end to this infamous scandal in Ireland. It could fairly be said that few debates inaugurated in this House had been maintained at so high a level all round as that in which they were engaged, and which had been so eloquently opened by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division. That hon. Member had pointed out that the same brutalising system of misgovernment in Ireland had been maintained since the first Saxon invasion of Ireland; and the same system of brutalising the people and refusing them ordinary constitutional rights to which they were entitled, and which they dared not refuse to the people 679 of this country, was in vogue to-day, and was in the same full force as it had been during the last two or three centuries. It was said as long ago as the reign of King John that the liberty of the subject was to be guarded by the privilege of a man being tried by his peers. But to-day it might be truly said of Ireland, as had been shown by the hon. Gentleman who had preceded him, that for all practical purposes in Ireland the word "Magna Charta" had never existed. It was a mockery to say that the people of Ireland enjoyed the privilege of trial by their peers for any offence with which they might be charged. And in this session of Parliament, which had been opened with so gross an insult to the Catholic religion, which the majority of the people of Ireland professe, that religion had been still more grossly insulted and outraged by the continuance of the system of jury-packing against which they protested. The Attorney General claimed the credit of having in his particular Department in his employ a number of very able Crown solicitors, who were charged to carry out the instructions he transmitted to them from Dublin Castle. In connection with that it might be said that the whole train of spies were employed for the purpose of loading the dice against the unfortunate prisoners to be tried. He had seen it himself, over and over again, in his own country. He had asked a question some time since of the right hon. Gentleman as to whether or not in each county in Ireland there was not a special policeman in direct communication with what was called the Criminal Investigation Department in Dublin, whose duty it was to attend the assizes and quarter sessions, and to prompt the Crown solicitor as to the religion and politics of every juryman, one by one, as his name was drawn from the ballot-box. He did not think that in England any such official would be allowed to interfere with the administration of justice, or, if it were attempted, the hon. Gentleman in this House responsible for it would find his position untenable indeed, and the Government which had sanctioned it would provoke for themselves as great a storm of obloquy as had ever befallen any administration in this country. But that was not the worst of it. These 680 special men who prompted the Crown solicitors, as he implicitly believed, though they would never get at the real truth of this matter, were largely responsible for many of the crimes with which people were charged. The right hon. Gentleman laughed at that statement, but it was a well-known fact that £40,000 was voted annually for Secret Service, and they never got an account as to where it went. It was believed, at all events by the people of Ireland, and he himself believed it implicitly, that it went to the manufacture of those bogus crimes which the Government were always ready to plant on the national organisation of the farmers of the country. He would take, for instance, a very recent case with which they had been made acquainted in the county of Longford, and which had been brought forward just because the United Irish League had made headway in that county. A prosecution was brought under the Whiteboys Act against two young farmers who had taken an active part in the promoting and organisation of the United Irish League. The right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland listened to the hon. Member for the Scotland Division, who detailed his experience of the magistrates in this country and in Ireland. That hon. Gentleman showed very plainly that the magistrates in this country acted quite independently of the Executive, while the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland had practically acknowledged that the whole magisterial bench of Ireland was in the hollow of his hand.
§ MR. J. P. FARRELL
If the right hon. Gentleman had not the power, he exercised it so far as the magistrates in Ireland were concerned.
§ MR. J. P. FARRELL
said that if the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney General for Ireland would allow him to finish he would show that the right hon. Gentleman had accepted full responsibility for what had been done in Ireland; 681 but now he said that he had nothing to do with the matter.
§ MR. J. P FARRELL
said he had never alleged that the right hon. Gentleman was responsible for the appointment of the magistrates, and the right hon. Gentleman's interjection was an attempt to divert his argument to another issue. What he insisted upon was that the right hon. Gentleman had entirely set aside the decision of the magistrates who sat on the petty sessions, and who had a perfect right to give their opinion, and who scouted the case out of court. The right hon. Gentleman had, however, stepped in, and by the exercise of his powers of putting the popular magistrates on one side, had insisted on the resident magistrate returning a bill of indictment against the prisoner.
§ MR. J. P. FARRELL
said that he did not think that if the right hon. Gentleman were Attorney General for England he would do that in regard to an English case. He appealed to English Members on both sides of the House. If a court of petty sessions in England had sat and dealt with a case, he did not think that the Attorney General would have ventured to ignore the opinion of the court of petty sessions, and would have ordered a bill of indictment to be returned.
§ THE SOLICITOR GENERAL (Sir EDWARD CARSON, Dublin University)
It is done every day, at the present moment, in this country.
§ MR. J. P. FARRELL
said he was not a lawyer, but he had never heard of such a case. The right hon. Gentleman might explain later on how often it was done. He was an Irishman himself, although not a member of the Trish Government.
§ MR. MOORE (Antrim. N.)
asked if the court was not unanimous and the hon. Member himself on the bench?
§ MR. J. P. FARRELL
said he was on the bench, but the hon. Member need not have interrupted him. He was speaking as to facts he knew, and as to treatment accorded to Irishmen which would not 682 be accorded to Englishmen or Scotchmen. Of course the right hon. Gentlemen ignored the action of Catholic magistrates, although he permitted thirty or forty Unionist magistrates to assemble in County Monaghan to give a landlord's agent a licence.
§ MR. J. P. FARRELL
said he did not follow that observation. He was speaking about what occurred in Monaghan, with which he was acquainted. At the very last assizes in Longford the judge congratulated the county on its peaceful condition. Crime was practically unknown, but because of the United Irish League the right hon. Gentleman stepped in with these White boy prosecutions, put the county to expense, and sent men for trial to the Wicklow Assizes. His hon. friend the Member for South Galway had showed what kind of juries these were in Wicklow, and when the Crown selected Wicklow for winter assizes, they did it deliberately, because they had special facilities in that county for packing juries. He should like some explanation from the right hon. Gentleman as to what principle guided the Crown in the selection of the venue for winter assizes. They were held time after time in the same counties. In Connaught, Sligo was generally selected; in Leinster it was either Waterford or Wicklow; in Munster it was generally Cork; and in Ulster, Belfast had the privilege of convicting prisoners for the Crown. On what principle was the selection regulated? The winter assizes were generally held in the same county in each province, and the other counties were not given an opportunity of expressing their opinion through the jury box, or standing between the Crown and the subject. The right hon. Gentleman said that he knew nothing about the religion of jurors, and he supposed the right hon. Gentleman would also tell the Committee that he did not know which counties were favourable to the Crown, but the remarkable fact remained, and no amount of sophistry would dispose of it, that the winter assizes were constantly held in the same counties. They were discussing a question affecting the liberty of a Nationalist Member of 683 the House, and the action of the Crown in depriving an Irish constituency of its elected representative. He wished to state that he believed implicitly—as did the vast majority of the Nationalists of Ireland—that if Mr. P. A. M'Hugh had not been upholding strongly and unflinchingly in the West of Ireland the banner of the national organisation, the right hon. Gentleman would not have taken so much trouble to pack a jury to convict him. The right hon. Gentleman perhaps thought foolishly—for it was a vain hope—that by putting his hon. friend under lock and key he was thereby tending to crush the national organisation, but he believed the result would show that that was an utterly mistaken and ridiculous view. The incidents surrounding the case of his hon. friend, the two trials, the manner in which the venue was fixed, and the pains which were taken to convict his hon. friend, all tended to show to the people of Ireland that the old policy of coercion against Irish Nationalist representatives, who were determined to maintain a vigorous organisation in Ireland, was, under another guise, about to be resorted to, but he warned the right hon. Gentleman that if he thought that policy would be successful, he was never more mistaken in his life. That was the way Home Rule was to be "killed by kindness." He believed with his hon. friend the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool that the action of the Government had caused immense harm between the two religions in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman had fixed in the minds of the Catholics of Ireland the fact that their religion was a bar to their serving on a jury, and that a member of their religion accused of any crime would be found guilty by a jury of Protestants. The true note in the debate was struck by his hon. friend the Member for South Galway when he appealed to the Catholic jurors of Ireland to resent the insult to which they were subjected. He hoped most earnestly that that appeal would be listened to. After all, jurors attended in obedience to a summons from the Crown, and they must have some rights. Judges with strong anti-Catholic leanings might be sent on circuit to browbeat and intimidate them, but 684 they were discharging a public duty just as much as was the judge clothed in all his authority. He most strongly supported the appeal of his hon. friend, and he hoped that when Catholic jurors were asked to leave the jury box they would refuse to obey the order of the Court, and thereby render the proceedings a nullity.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said he hoped the Committee would allow a member who had himself served on more than one jury at a time of great stress and strain in Ireland, when serving on juries involved considerable risk, and not only ruin financially, but physical danger, to utter a few words of remonstrance and appeal in the matter. He wished to say in the first place that so far as the hon. Member for North Leitrim was concerned, he had nothing to say in his defence. The holding up of twelve Protestant jurors to what he must have known to be injury if not ruin in their business was an odious offence, and so far as he was concerned, he would neither have hand, act, nor part in defending it. He had studied the proceedings at the trials with as much care as any hon. Member, and he was clearly of opinion that whether the jury was packed or not, no jury with any respect for their oath could have arrived at any other verdict. Having said that, and having cleared himself of what some of his hon. friends would like to fasten on him, he wished to come to the issue before the Committee. He had sat in the House for sixteen years, and attended the House in another capacity for fourteen years, so that he had practically heard debates on this question for thirty years. He had heard the question of jury-packing stated, assailed, explained and defended, and he was now free to state that the whole question and the whole procedure left a very ugly taste in the mouth.
His right hon. friend the Attorney General, whom he was sure the Committee in calmer moments would regard as a kindly, upright, honourable Irish gentleman, stated his view of what was called jury-packing. He denied that any man was ordered to stand aside because of his religion, and asserted that if a man was ordered to stand by it was because of other con- 685 siderations, that it was because the Crown thought he did not stand indifferent between the Crown and the accused, that he was subject to terror, fear, or some other influence, and that, in fact, it was impossible for such a man to give a fair and honest verdict. That was the Attorney General's description of what was called jury-packing. If that were the whole thing, the Attorney General was right, and the Crown was right. It was said that a great number of these men were members of the United Irish League, and therefore did not stand indifferent between Maguire and the Crown; that might be so or not. In a case of this kind he himself would say that members of the United Irish League would not be an ideal jury. But take his own case in 1882. He served then on murder juries. In that year jurors were assaulted and nearly done to death; men were boycotted and ruined, and driven out of the city in which they lived, for serving as jurors. At that time he went into the jury box with his pockets full of threatening letters, and during the time that he was away from home his wife and children were terrorised by the same means. It was a man who had done that that his Ulster colleagues attempted to howl down in this House because he said the Government ought not to expose its citizens to such a thing. He weathered the storm, and he told those men sitting around him, upon whose platforms he had stood, and whose elections he had helped to gain, that if they thought they were going to put him down by interruptions they made a great mistake. He would say what he thought upon Irish affairs whether they liked it or not. He served on juries in murder trials when Catholics were challenged right and left, and it surely could not be contended that when murder was in question Catholics had sympathy with murder, yet Catholics were ordered peremptorily to stand aside. He was stating facts within his own experience. The panel contained 200 names, partly city and partly country jurors; it was a special jury in Dublin in 1882; at a time when murder was in question, the effort was made to secure an entirely Protestant jury, and so hard pressed was the Crown at that time that he had had to serve twice 686 in two trials; and when he was sworn upon the second occasion, no less than 100 Catholics were challenged and put aside. The Attorney General said that Sligo men were ordered to stand by because they were United Irish Leaguers; when in 1882 the Crown set Catholics aside was it because, they sympathised with murder? It, would be far better once and for all to come to the conclusion that the system was a bad and vicious one.
Whether the Crown was right or wrong the Catholics took it as an insult, and it would be better for the Crown at once to recognise the fact. The, Irish Parliament enfranchised the Catholics as jurors in 1793, and it would be better now for the Crown to recognise what was undoubtedly the fact, that after 100 years of union between the two countries we were precisely in the position we were when Lord Cornwallis wrote a century ago that he could not trust the Catholics, because they would join their greatest enemies to attempt to upset the Union. He objected to the system, which in his view was incurably bad. It was not the Protestants generally, throughout Ireland, who were exposed to these risks and dangers. Nobody ever dreamt of sending trials by special commission to Belfast to be tried; no Government was so insane as to propose, that. It would not be listened to by any Parliament that ever sat since the legislative union. The Protestants of Belfast had not suffered these risks and dangers. "They jest at sears who never felt a wound," and it was easy to ridicule an Irish Member who stood up for the Protestants, a man who had gone through this trouble. It was the Protestants of Dublin. Cork, Wicklow, and Sligo who had to suffer; those were the four places that had to wash up the dirty linen of the whole country, and it was only a small remnant of those who were exposed to all the risk and danger. He remembered a debate taking place in this House years ago upon the subject of cruelty to animals, when a popular Member of that day, Mr. J. A. Blake, said that he had only been in the hunting field once, and on that occasion he went out in the interests of the fox. He (Mr. Russell) spoke to-night in the interests of the Protestants, who ought not to be asked to run these risks, and make the 687 sacrifices. The Crown had seen the effects, which had been the same for the last 100 years, and would be the same for the next 100 years to come. The Crown ought to face the fact, and not go on in this hypocritical manner; they ought frankly to say in all this class of cases, where, all the Catholics were cut off from the jury-box, that trial by jury must cease. That was his case against jury-packing. It was a very great hardship for the Protestants of five or six towns who had to do the work, they were ruined in their business, and made outcasts; if that was so, the Crown had no right to ask its citizens to undertake such tasks. The Crown said it tried to protect them. The Attorney General for Ireland said so, and no doubt he tried to punish the offenders.
What did all this arise from? It arose from the same thing which ran through every chapter of Irish history since the union of the two countries; the Government was not one bit nearer the heart of the Irish people. They were in the same position as they were when the Union was carried by bribery and corruption and intimidation. Did not everybody know that this arose, as everything else of the kind, from the fruitful source of the land trouble in Ireland? Was there a man in the House who gave his attention to Irish affairs who did not know that not only this case but every case of the kind had its roots in the Irish land question? Yet the Chief Secretary for Ireland would do nothing save maintain the law. In all these boycotting cases, in all cases where rights of citizenship were interfered with, the Chief Secretary said he would maintain the law. The Attorney General said he only knew the law of the land, and he would maintain it, and both were right; but a wise Government would go a little beyond that. They should look at the case, and seek to get at the root of the mischief and pull it up. They stood by this fruitful source of disorder, misery, crime, and wretchedness, and these things consequently came round in a cycle. It had been the same, day after day, ever since he had known Ireland; people were convicted and sent to prison; a press prosecution took place, and a paper was suppressed; then there was a period of peace, and 688 then the thing came round all over again. The old story was beginning now; the Committee was discussing this case now, and he shrewdly suspected that, before the Parliament came to an end (and he did not know how long it was going to last, he sometimes thought it looked precious limp and listless), they would be discussing, not this case by itself, but other cases of a similar kind, for the simple reason that the cause of it all was left to flourish in Ireland. To summarise his remarks, he would say that he had not a particle of sympathy for Mr. M'Hugh. He believed the verdict in that case to have been a just and honest one. He was prepared to give due weight to the contention of the Attorney General about jury-packing, but having done that, he could not concur in the conclusion that there was no such thing as jury-packing in Ireland, because he had been packed himself.
§ *MR. PATRICK O'BRIEN (Kilkenny)
And I was packed into gaol for for six months for saying you were packed.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said that having been packed himself and paid the penalty in solid cash, he knew what it meant, so that no right hon. Gentleman need stand up and tell him that juries were not packed in Ireland. He did not ask that the Government should not administer the law; they were bound to do so while it was the law. So long as the law of the land remained as it was the House had no right to blame the Attorney General or the Chief Secretary for enforcing it. It was their duty to do so, and very little would be thought of them if they failed in their duty. But whilst they did that they ought not to leave the other thing undone. They ought to get at the root of the difficulty. The land question was; the cause of all the crime and trouble which had cursed Ireland for the last three or four centuries, and to maintain that system for the sake of a handful of men whose power had gone for evermore—
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said he expected to hear that, but probably he had stated sufficient to show the Committee what he 689 meant. In conclusion, all he desired to say was that, being unable to concur in the view that Mr. M'Hugh was suffering an injustice, and believing the Attorney General had acted properly, he could not vote for the Amendment.
§ MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)
contended that the Attorney General for Ireland had altogether evaded the point a issue, and had wandered off into a discussion of the language of the article written by Mr. M'Hugh. In these matters they were obliged to use the terms "Protestant" and "Catholic," and he regretted there were not other terms which would more fully express the desired distinction, because, whilst it had to be acknowledged that the Protestant minority in Ireland were, as a rule, bitterly antagonistic to the Catholic majority, there were a large number of Protestants who were proud to be Irishmen, and whom he and his colleagues recognised and valued as Irishmen. For his own part, if he was put upon his trial for a political offence, be would rather be tried before twelve "Ballykilbegs." if the country could produce them, than before twelve so-called Roman Catholics in Ireland, or in this country, who were reeking with prejudice against Ireland and those who held the national views. The administration of the law was of even greater importance than the making of the law. Many laws which had been passed in a fair spirit had, in consequence of their maladministration, become a curse instead of a benefit to the country. The land laws were an instance in point. No doubt the jury system was a safeguard in England, but in Ireland, as administered, it was no safeguard at all, because, as a rule, a peasant was tried before twelve men who differed from him in every possible way. Politics were carried to such an acute pitch in Ireland that it would be very much fairer for a miner in this country, charged with offences against a mine-owner, to be tried before twelve mine-owners than it would be for a peasant in Ireland to be tried before twelve landlords or their nominees. The Committee had witnessed the strange spectacle of the Attorney General for England supporting the system of jury-packing in Ireland, and one of his principal arguments was that a 690 fair trial could not be expected at the bands of people who belonged to the United Irish League, an organisation which had been spoken of as being illegal and as countenancing illegalities. But what had produced that organisation? It had been produced because the law had refused to protect the people, who therefore, in self defence, had been obliged to set up an organisation to protect themselves, and now the aim and end of the Executive was to crush that organisation by fair means or foul. In support of his statement as to the origin of the League he might quote the words of a gentleman whose name was very familiar to the British public just now.
I do not think that that is relevant to the question under discussion. A passing reference is allowable, but I do not think the hon. Member would be entitled to go into and explain the origin of the United Irish League.
§ MR. POWER
said he would only mention in passing that the gentleman to whom he referred was General Buller, who had said that the people subscribed to these leagues because they believed them to be their salvation, and that until they were established nothing whatever was done for the people. His principal object in rising, however, was to call attention to a matter which had excited some interest in his own part of the country, viz., the Tallow prosecutions. The village in question had been swarming with police for the last year to the considerable expense of the ratepayers. The defendants were tried in the first instance before a bench consisting of two paid and two unpaid magistrates. The bench were equally divided, but the defendants were returned for trial. The Attorney General for England had stated that in England, if the magistrates were equally divided, the case would either fall through or be re-tried before another bench, but in this case the two resident magistrates overbore the votes of the two unpaid magistrates, and returned the defendants for trial. It was all very well to talk to Irishmen about having respect for law and order. They recognised that every country, if it was to be prosperous or successful, must have respect for law 691 and order, but in Ireland, as in every other country, if the law was to be respected it must be so administered that it was worthy of respect. In that case no less than forty-three jurors were challenged by the Crown. The jury, however, was not exclusively Protestant, and owing to the state of the panel, it would have been very difficult for it to have, been so, but it was a jury supposed to be very unfavourable to the defendants. He desired to join very strongly in the protest against this system of jury-packing. Irishmen were insulted at every court they attended by being ordered to stand aside by Government officials merely because they believed in a certain creed. He hoped that the advice given by the hon. Member for Galway would be acted upon when he said that jurors subjected to this sort of thing should have the manhood to protest against it. If they did something of that kind it would have more effect in bringing this wretched system, which was working untold misery in Ireland, to an end; and it was a proof of their utter incompetence to govern an intelligent country like Ireland.
§ *MR. HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)
I need hardly say that no one appreciates more highly than I do the talents of the right hon. Gentleman opposite, and I should be the last person to suggest, as far as he is personally concerned, that the responsibility for this particular act of challenging Catholics is to be placed upon his shoulders alone. The misfortune is that the jury system in Ireland has been, as was once described by a great English judge, more or less of a mockery and a delusion, because while the common law of England and Ireland is supposed to be the same, the practice and the application of that law is altogether different. I think that this debate is certainly of great value from this point of view, and I trust it will deal a deadly blow at the system of jury-packing which has prevailed in Ireland far beyond a century and a-half. Such a question as this cannot be met by the mere tu quoque argument which is generally put forward by right hon. Gentlemen opposite, who whenever they feel in a difficulty under the fire of hon. Members below the gangway, at once point their guns at the 692 benches opposite and suggest, to use an old slang phrase, "Brother, if I am a rogue, you are another." I admit that successive Governments in Ireland have, from time to time, resorted to this system of packing juries. I had the honour of acting with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose Burghs, in the late Administration, and I can assure the House that there was no one more repugnant than, he, was to this system of jury-packing and no one was more anxious than he was to stamp it out. Accordingly, in the month of February, 1894, there was issued, under the right hon. Gentleman's directions, a circular enjoining that no Roman Catholic should be set aside on account of his religion. The passage in the circular was distinct and clear, for it stated—In making inquiries the Crown Solicitor shall not inquire into the religion or political opinions or the calling of any juror, and no person shall be directed to stand by on account of his religious or political opinion or of the calling.That was done by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose with a view to correct an abuse which, undoubtedly, when he went over to Ireland he, found existing in that country. It was true that in England the Crown had power, in cases of felony, to call upon jurors to stand aside until the panel was run through, but that power was never exercised except in extreme cases, and it was a rule more honoured in the breach than the observance. In a case of misdemeanour like that in question, as far as my experience goes it is unheard of that such a large number as twenty-two Catholics should have been set aside by the Crown.
I am not going into the merits of the case of Muffany and Maguire, for that case has been decided by the tribunal having jurisdiction over it. I am addressing the House on the broad question and not upon the merits or demerits of the case of the hon. Member for North Leitrim, who is now suffering the penalty for those who wrote an article, in his paper. In this case, an outrage and an insult has been perpetrated upon the religion of three-fourths of the people of Ireland, and it is constantly being perpetrated. That system cannot lead to any other result but dis- 693 satisfaction and disorder in Ireland. The result is such as might be anticipated, for it has produced a wan of confidence on the part of the vast majority of the people in the administration of justice in Ireland. In Scotland the Crown has only a right to challenge five of the panel, and the prisoner has a similar right. I have been upon a circuit in Ireland in which there have been many trials for murder and other offences, and undoubtedly in those ordinary cases the practice did exist of chalenging jurors. My experience of this in Ireland is that the persons challenged by the Crown are invariably Roman Catholics. Of course, it never is admitted that a Catholic is challenged because he is a Roman Catholic, but the idea has got abroad that there is no confidence felt in Roman Catholic jurors, and those men who are brought from their homes at great inconvenience and trouble to themselves are sent back from the Assizes with the stigma upon them that if they get into the jury-box they will not give a true verdict according to the evidence. What can be worse than such a system? I am sorry that the twentieth century in Ireland is being initiated, by emphasising this great abuse, and emphasising it in a case in which the liberty of the Press is more or less aimed at and shaken, in Ireland panels consist of two or three hundred people, and I have known cases where sixty or seventy Catholics have been challenged, not in political cases, but in ordinary murder cases, under the idea that being Catholics they would not do their duty. It appears to me that no system reflects more upon the administration of justice than this. If you trust the jurors who, according to law are entitled to be empanelled in particular cases, if you confine your object ion to men who either from affinity or from any particular relation to the party accused ought not to serve, then the worst that can happen is a disagreement, and the prisoner can be tried again. It is absurd to suppose that if the Irish are fit to be governed according to the laws of the constitution of England they are not fit to act as jurors, and what is the meaning of going through all these circuitous proceedings? What is the meaning of having farmers summoned to attend the assizes as jurors, and then having them turned out of 694 court as unlit to try a particular ease? I think that much that fell from the hon. Member for South Tyrone had a great deal of force in it. Not only is it an insult to the Catholic jurors who are challenged, but it is also an insult to the Protestants who are empanelled on the jury. How can you ever expect to govern Ireland by ordinary laws in such circumstances? Make it a Crown colony, or set up a sort of military Imperialism there, but do not let it go out to the world that Ireland enjoyed the benefits of freedom of the Press and trial by jury, and then when it was reduced to practical application, show that it was not trial by the prisoner's peers at all, but trial by members of the old Protestant garrison, in Ireland who were supposed to be ready to sacrifice their oaths and consciences in order to play the British game, whatever Government might be in power. I know all Governments to be more or less open to this imputation, but that is no excuse when the time has come as now, if ever it is to come, to show to the world that the Irish people can be governed on the same principles and by the same procedure as the people of England, Scotland, and Wales. The time has come when either this one sided abuse of English law must be given up, or it must be admitted that English government in Ireland has been a total failure, and that the Imperil I Parliament is impotent to carry out the Imperial laws in that part of the United Kingdom, and that the only and obvious remedy for the prostitution of trial by jury and other such abuses in Ireland is to let the Irish people legislate and manage their own affairs. I think that anyone who looks upon the matter historically and philosophically must say that at all events this abuse of the great safeguard of liberty should for ever cease.
§ MR. MOORE
said that in the month of November last, at the Convention of Nationalists, the chairman laid the greatest possible stress on the subject of jury packing as being one of the most important with which they had to deal. The hon. Member was net surprised that he did so, because this was intimately connected with the administration of the law, and he could 695 understand the position, of hon. Members opposite who frankly and openly in this House had ever challenged the administration of the law in Ireland, who had ever honestly and openly endeavoured to interrupt order. He represented 1,000,000 loyalists in Ireland, whose views had not been heard on this question in the course of the debate. [Cries of "Oh."] He was perfectly willing to meet his constituents, for he was absolutely sure they had every confidence in him. He had now been three years in this House, and it was a now experience to him to hear one who has returned as a Unionist Member going behind the backs of his colleagues, and who still traded on his Unionism when he went into their constituencies.
§ MR. T. W. RUSSELL
I ask whether the hon. and learned Member has any right to say that I go into Ulster and trade on my Unionism?
§ MR. MOORE
said he had never before heard an. Irish Unionist Member tell the House that the Union was obtained by bribery and corruption, He had never before heard an Ulster Member tell the House that a Galway murderer could not get a fair trial in Belfast. Those attacks were made—he wished to say nothing personal or unnecessarily offensive—by a speaker who could not exist without applause, and the only applause he could get was from hon. Members opposite. It was not so long ago that the Member for East Mayo, speaking in Ulster, told an appreciative audience in the county Tyrone that the hon. Member for South Tyrone was doing the work which he and hon. Members opposite had ever done, and doing it on parallel lines. The hon. Member believed that to be true, but that night the parallel lines had nearly met, He left the matter to the sense of the House and those who heard the speech, and to the constituents of South Tyrone who returned the hon. Member by a majority of ninety to support the Union, He had heard attacks 696 on the administration of law and order in Ireland, but he had not in any quarter heard any suggestion of an alternative scheme, except Home Rule. That was what it amounted to. The Unionist party would not adopt that alternative. [An HON. MEMBER: It might.] His colleagues from Ulster and himself held it to be an impossible line of action. He had not heard from the, hon. Member for South Tyrone any alternative to the proposal of Home Rule made by the Liberal party. He believed it was absolutely the duty of His Majesty's Government to protect jurors as much as the judge. A juror was often an ordinary farmer, and it was absolutely right that when he went to his home he should have protection. He had not heard that anywhere protection had been withheld, and it was because it had not been withheld, he took it, that the Attorney General had now been attacked. He protested against retrying eases in this House, In regard to the case of Mr. M'Hugh, could any ordinary man in his senses come to any other conclusion than that the words complained of exceeded the limits of fair comment? He had not the honour of being on intimate terms with all the Irish Members, but of those that he did know, he hoped they would not think it presumption on his part to say that he regarded them as honourable men as himself.
§ MR. MOORE
said that if hon. Members opposite, honourable as they all were, came to the conclusion that the verdict in the M'Hugh case was absolutely erroneous, how much more would it be the case with men animated with enthusiasm and patriotism that they could not come to a conclusion which was just, fair and sensible? Where they had these feelings prevailing, they could not have a fair trial. He, however, did not say that in all these cases of intimidation there was a mistaken view of the oath and a fiery patriotism—that would not be a liberal view to take—but for all these reasons it seemed to him that, unless care was taken to secure an unprejudiced jury, the present system, which had been worked and 697 approved of by the Irish Liberal party, should, in his opinion, still be continued, He would oppose any reduction in the salary of the Attorney General for Ireland.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
said that after what he thought was the perfectly unprovoked attack of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for North Antrim he might be allowed a word or two of explanation. He cared little what the hon. and learned Gentleman thought of his Unionism. He had fought and worked for the Union when the hon. and learned Gentleman was in petticoats, and he thought that a considerable number of hon. Members on that side of the House who had known his character and career for sixteen years could vouch for his Unionism. The hon. and learned Gentleman stated that it was the first time that he had ever heard a loyal Unionist Member say that the Legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland had been carried by bribery, corruption, and intimidation. It might be the first time the hon. and learned Member had ever heard of it, but his authority for it was the very distinguished Unionist Member, the representative Trinity College. If the hon. and learned Gentleman would take the trouble to read Mr. Lecky's "History of the Eighteenth Century"—he thought it was in the eighth volume—he would find a clear, distinct statement that the Union was carried with every circumstance of moral turpitude. The Member for Trinity College was a distinguished Unionist, but he know the history of his country; and that was the first time that he had ever heard any man who pretended that he had read the history of his country challenge such an assertion. Having made that simple explanation, he would dismiss the hon. and learned Gentleman with the statement that it would become him a good deal better to keep his pledges to his constituents than to challenge such a well-known historical fact.
§ *MK. TULLY (Leitrim, S.)
said he wished to address himself to the case of his colleague in the representation of Leitrim, Mr. M'Hugh, The Attorney 698 General for Ireland stated that Mr. M'Hugh would not have been prosecuted if he had only criticised the Government. He thought, however, that there was something more than that in the two vindictive prosecutions of Mr. M'Hugh. He thought he could trace the origin of the two prosecutions in the Amendment submitted by the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich after the scene that occurred in the House. They knew that after that scene there was a dead set made against Mr. M'Hugh, and it was because of that that the prosecutions had been pressed so vindictively. Did not the noble Lord the Member for Greenwich express the wish that Mr. M'Hugh and his colleagues in the scene should be locked up for the rest of the session?
§ MR. ATKINSON
The case terminated on the 9th February, and on the 11th February I stated that we were to go on with a second trial. That was long before the scene occurred in the House.
§ *MR. TULLY
said he knew a statement was made that the case would be dropped on easy conditions, and it was only after the scene that Mr. M'Hugh was exposed to the vengeance indicated in the Amendment of the noble Lord. And now that the Government had Mr. M'Hugh under lock and key, they were pressing him with the same spirit of vindictiveness. In the matter of his position as a newspaper proprietor and editor he was being treated in an altogether different fashion from the way other Irish journalists were treated in the same circumstances.
§ *MR. TULLY
said he bowed to the Chairman's ruling, and would not press the point. He wished to ask the Committee, What was Mr. M'Hugh in prison for? What was it he protested against? He protested against the exclusion of Catholics from the jury panel in Sligo. Mr. M'Hugh was tried in Dublin. If the Lord Chief Justice O'Brien had been a juror in Sligo he would not have been allowed on the 699 jury because he was a Catholic, ant if he had been on the panel in Dublin he would not have been allowed on the jury because his name was O'Brien But although, because of his ancient faith, he could not be a juror in Sligo and could not be a juror in Dublin because of his ancient Irish name, yet because he was a barrister useful to Dublin Castle he could sit on the bench as the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, In Mr. M'Hugh's first trial in Dublin then was only a small panel of forty-eight names, and the Crown exhausted al their challenges and some of the jurors were absent, and they had to come back to one of the jurors whom they had ordered to stand by, and because that juror was brought back there was a disagreement of the jury. What was the origin of the stand by? Originally when men were brought to trial, the Crown could put any twelve men they liked on the jury, but Parliament passed a law that no man could be put off a jury except for cause shown. Then tin judges decided that the cause should not be shown until the panel was exhausted That was got over by increasing the panel In this case in Dublin the panel was so small originally that they exhausted their rights, and it was because they could not show cause why this juror should not be on the jury that he was put back. In Sligo they made no mistakes like that. At the second trial they selected a panel of forty-eight from the list of their Rathmines pensioners. There was not a single Catholic on it, and they were able to get the verdict the Attorney General required. He knew himself, from his own experience, how this jury packing was done in the county of Sligo. He had been tried in Sligo under the Whiteboys Act, and was liable to a penalty of thirty-five years penal servitude and seven whippings. And what was the offence for which he was tried? It was because as editor of a certain newspaper he had published in that newspaper a report of a public meeting of a League branch without any comment. That was held to be an offence under the Whiteboy Act, and he was tried by twelve Orangemen in Sligo, and, as he had said, if he had been convicted he would have, according to the Whiteboys Act, been sen- 700 tenced to thirty-five years penal servitude and seven whippings.
§ MR. WILLIAM JOHNSTON (Belfast, S.)
How does the hon. Gentleman know that the jury was composed of twelve Orangemen?
§ *MR. TULLY
said that the question that went to the jury was. "Was he the editor of the newspaper?" Why, he had admitted in writing that he was the editor. The jury knew the penalties that could be inflicted, and the Crown could not get even these twelve Orangemen to agree. The result was that he escaped, but that was no fault of the Crown. In these cases the jury was continually rigged. Under Lord O'Hagan's Act the juries had to be selected arbitrarily until the panel was exhausted. People whose names began with an O or a Mac were of the Celtic race, and with gentlemen of the Protestant persuasion their names generally began with a V or a W or a Y, so that but for the accidents of the alphabet he would have been convicted. It was discovered that the she riff was acting illegally, and that he should have exhausted the panel in the ordinary way, and then it was found how it was that there were always Protestant juries in Sligo. He remembered that one of the first convictions in Sligo in the Land League days was that of a man named Kilmarton. He, was sentenced to twenty years penal servitude, and after he had been a few years in gaol it was discovered by the confession of the culprit that he was innocent. That state of affairs continued. He held in his hand an affidavit made by an unfortunate man named Denis McGoohan, of Ballina-more, who was arrested in Leitrim on a charge of maiming cattle. He was tried at the Sligo winter assizes, and the only evidence against him was that of a Sergeant Sheridan. He was convicted on evidence which would not hang a dog, and was sentenced to two years imprisonment. On his release he made an affidavit that he was innocent of the crime, and afterwards it happened that Sergeant Sheridan was dismissed from the police force.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
There is no foundation for the statement of the hon. 701 Member. Sergeant Sheridan was suspended for a fortnight or three weeks on a charge of which on investigation he was found to be innocent, and he was restored to his position.
§ *MR. TULLY
said his information was that Sergeant. Sheridan was dismissed for putting threatening notices in a man's pocket in Clare.
§ *MR. TULLY
said if he had not this evidence in his hands now, he would be put down as having stated what he could not justify. That was the way unfortunate people were convicted with out getting a proper opportunity of defending themselves, and that was the state of things his friend and colleague, Pat M'Hugh, protested against. He hoped Ireland would always produce a sufficient number of Pat M'Hughs, who would take, every risk in letting in the light of public opinion on Dublin Castle rule in Ireland. Catholic jurors were brought time after time to the Sligo winter assizes, oftentimes for weeks, only to be ordered to stand aside, and the only men put into the jury box were a few bigoted, intolerant Orangemen. If Catholics were not to be allowed to serve on juries, why insist on summoning them? The Government should do as they did in the case of Mr. M Hugh, and only summon a panel consisting of Rathmines pensioners, who could be relied on to do the trick without trouble, He had heard the Attorney General, with that legal ability which they all admired, endeavouring to defend that ease, but he had to scavenge through the literature of the last twenty years for arguments, he had often listened to criticisms on the manner of administering justice in France, but they would have to go back to the days of the French Revolution to find the prototype of the right hon. Gentleman. They had heard two hon. Gentlemen from Ulster attacking each of her to-night in their eagerness to defend this system. The Irish. Members had been accused of quarrelling among themselves, but that spirit had now travelled to the other side of the House, where the Ulster Members were indulging in 702 family feuds which were notoriously bitter. They had heard the hon. Member for North Antrim defend the system of jury-packing in Ireland, but they had also heard the hon. Member for South Tyrone admit with great frankness that he himself was on hanging juries at the time of the Phœnix Park murders. The assumption of hon. Members from Ulster was that Catholics could not be depended on to try any case which involved a political question. He had seen a Catholic landlord ordered to stand by while his tenant, an ignorant Orangeman, was put on a jury. It was the favourite theory of Irish Protestants of the type of the Ulster gentlemen that every Irish Protestant was not only socially, but intellectually, the superior of every Irish Catholic. It was that theory they saw carried out in this jury-packing, and it was to protest against that infamous theory that his hon. friend rose in revolt, and was now in prison, and he hoped that Ireland would always produce Pat M'Hughs to raise their voices in manly protest against it.
§ *MR. DELANY (Queen's County, Ossory)
said he wished to give his experience of jury-packing in Queens County. In 1889, as the Leader of the House might remember, Queen's County had a very unfavourable reputation as a convicting county. The Gweedore prisoners were brought there to be tried, and every Catholic juror, including himself, was ordered to stand aside, the Crown Prosecutor having a list of jurors on which the name of every Catholic was marked. He wished particularly to refer to the case of two Kerry prisoners who were, brought to Queen's County to be tried for murder. Twenty-seven Catholic jurors were ordered to stand aside, and an exclusively Protestant jury were sworn. It so happened that there was one Englishman on that jury—Mr. Herbert Smellie—and to his credit be it said, when the trial was about to commence he said to the judge, "My lord, I object to trying men for their lives on a packed jury." That acted as a bombshell exploded in court, and the judge did not know what to do. He adjourned the court, and consulted with a brother judge, and afterwards the trial proceeded, one man being convicted. 703 If Protestant jurors had the courage of that honest Englishman to protest there would soon be an end to jury-packing in Ireland. The Attorney General, replying to an interrogation of the hon. Member for Waterford the other evening, said that he only knew one case in the history of the criminal law of England in which jurors were ordered to stand aside, and his recollection was so hazy that he could give neither place nor date for it. How many thousand cases were there in Ireland? They were told that the law was the same in both countries, but it was the administration of the law that was at fault in Ireland. If the right hon. the Chief Secretary and his colleague the Attorney General had a free hand in Ireland, none of their liberties would be safe. Above all, none of the liberties of the peasants of Ireland would be safe. Therefore they were bound to protest against the system. They would not be doing their duty to themselves, or to the people of Ireland, aye, and to the people of this country, if they did not protest and endeavour to put this system down by every means in their power. He had been very much struck by a remark made by the hon. Members for Gal way and Leitrim. They in Queen's County had taken up that suggestion long ago. There they were brought away from their avocations at considerable personal loss only to be insulted in the court. So the Catholic jurors consulted together what they should do, and the conclusion they came to was to make a public protest in court, He himself had told Mr. Justice Gibson that he would protest until he was removed from the jury-box. Four or five of his fellow-jurors followed the same course, and they were fined £25 each. But from that day to this Crown cases never came into Queen's County. He would point that out to the other counties in Ireland. He protested against the gross injustice that had been done to his hon. friend Mr. M'Hugh, and begged to support the reduction of the Vote proposed by his honourable friend the Member for Scotland Division of Liverpool.
§ MR. HALDANE (Haddingtonshire)
to said that many people on this side of St. George's Channel had followed with a close interest the proceedings in the case 704 of Mr. M'Hugh, and he could not help feeling a sense of profound dissatisfaction with what had taken place. He was quite aware of the difficulties of the Irish Government, and of the desire to be perfectly fair which characterised the right hon. the Attorney General for Ireland in the discharge of his duties. And no one who beard the way in which the right hon. the Chief Secretary explained, in the course of an interpellation, the mistake that had been made in regard to Sergeant Sheridan, could but feel that he desired to do right within the limits allowed him. But it was just these limits that gave him a feeling of hopelessness as to the position the Government had assumed. The question he would address to the Government, with a strong sense of its solemnity, was, "What good did these prosecutions do?" He quite felt the extreme difficulty in which the Government were placed. He quite agreed that, with political feeling at the height it was, it was almost impossible to get a conviction. But was not the evil greater than what it was brought to bear upon? Was it not better to put up with that than to produce a sense of injustice on the part of four-fifths of the people of Ireland, and which brought them no further to the condition of things to which they desired to get? He had not the slightest hesitation in saying that in the state of divided political feeling in Ireland the jury system had broken down, and that they must try to govern Ireland on some different system. He knew that this was not the occasion to touch on such a question as Home Rule. It seemed that the majority in this House had made up their minds that they could not apply to Ireland that remedy. On the other hand, when they had the enormous majority of the representatives of Ireland taking one view, was it not time, sitting here in Westminster, to try to rule affairs in Ireland a little more in the sense of the majority than they had done Now, if they took that course would they embark on these prosecutions? What good could they do? They had prosecuted the hon. Member for North Leitrim to a conviction, but were they any the better for that? They had brought about a keen sense of injustice on the part of the great majority of the people 705 whom they were concerned to rule in Ireland. With what gain had they done that? Did it make any chance of getting a conviction after this? If they were to carry the system further and further they would be face to face with a complete breakdown of the jury system.
He had watched the process go on step by step, and he had never seen the remedy of coercion do any good. He had only seen the Nationalist feeling getting more and more acute. He had listened to the speech of the right hon. the Attorney General for Ireland with a keen sense of sympathy, and he quite agreed with him that with an ordinary jury it was not possible to get a conviction in the sense he desired. And why? It was because the root of the evil lay deeper down. They must have regard to what was the root of the whole matter, and that was the divisions in Ireland—the vast majority of one way of thinking, and the small minority of another way of thinking, as to the system and the spirit in which the affairs of Ireland should be administered, He believed that the right hon. Gentleman was cabined, cribbed, and confined in this matter, but surely in this House they could pay some regard to what was the rooted conviction of the majority of the people with whom we have to do. Again he asked, what good did these prosecutions do? The Government were bound to stand by their Attorney General, and must support him in the opposition to the reduction of his salary. He believed that the Attorney General had been only trying to carry out his duty in accordance with the instructions he had received. But the question was whether any such instructions ought to have been given to the Attorney General. Was it not better to put up with the evil which resulted from such speeches and articles than to provoke the kind of controversy which had been evoked that evening? The hon. Member for South Tyrone had told them that they would do no good in Ireland from that kind of action. He felt the difficulty in which the Government were placed, but that difficulty arose because they were pursuing a course which it was impossible to pursue with success. He would support the hon. Gentleman 706 who moved the resolution, not on the ground of an attack on tin; Attorney General or the right lion, the Chief Secretary, but because he held that the policy of these prosecutions was a wholly impossible policy. The least evil they could face was to pass by these speeches and articles unnoticed, because they were the outcome of a deeper evil beyond the surface. He had made, his point because it lay at the bottom of the convictions of a large number of Members in the House, and of people in the country, who still felt that the root of the matter lay deeper than this Parliament would acknowledge and cure.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I confess to the hon. Members of the Committee that I have been in great doubt this evening as to whether there was any occasion for me to rise at all. My right hon. friend was asked to give tins day under the Supply rule in order that the salary of the Attorney General might be discussed in respect of the prosecution and conviction of the hon. Member for North Leitrim. But how many speeches have been addressed to that prosecution? Only two, as far as I know—that of the Attorney General, who disposed of it, and that of the hon. Member for South Tyrone, who began his speech by saying that the offence committeed was odious and that the verdict was just. But we have left that case far out of sight except incidentally and from digressions about the police, and every official and institution in Ireland, we have come round inevitably to the nebulous attitude of my hon. and learned friend who has just spoken, who expressed the wish, entertained, of course, by everybody, that greater harmony should prevail in Ireland. We had a speech of somewhat the same kind from the hon. Member for South Longford, who had been a distinguished politician in a colony which included a number of loyal Catholic subjects of the Empire. By what means were all people in Ireland to be brought into harmony? How was the change to be effected? [An HON. MEMBER on the Irish Benches: Home Rule.] Home Rule! But the hon. Member did not state that. When the hon. Member for South Tyrone came to the same point he suggested two remedies. In the 707 first place, he suggested suspension of trial by jury.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
explained that what he had said was that in all political and agrarian cases, where apparently Catholics were not to be trusted, the odium should not be put upon Protestant jurymen to find a verdict, but that trial by jury should be suspended in such cases.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
The hon. Member suggests the suspension of trial by jury in such eases. How many such cases are there? We have had one before us this evening, upon which the hon. Member and the Attorney General for Ireland are in agreement that substantial justice has been done. But let me put a case to the Committee, in order that they may understand that this is a more serious matter than might at first be supposed. I refer to a case which occurred not many mouths ago, when a man named Timothy Cadogan was convicted of murder. There had been a disagreement in that case in the summer, and the man was tried again. The Crown—and I defended their action here—set aside sixty men from the jury panel, and the prisoner's counsel set aside eighteen men, four of whom were Catholics. Eventually the jury was composed of six Protestants and six Catholics. Timothy Cadogan was convicted, and nobody has a shadow of doubt that he was guilty of a wry savage and unprovoked murder. If those sixty men had not been set aside he would have been acquitted. [Nationalist interruption, and cries of "How do you know?"] That is my opinion. [Further Nationalist interruption.]
§ MR. WYNDHAM
That is my opinion, and I base, it in part upon remarks which have fallen from a good many speakers in the course of the debate to-night, and I base it also in part upon articles which appeared in newspapers immediately before the second trial declaring that the first jury had been packed and that the second jury ought 708 to know what course they should follow. What is the duty of an executive government face to face with such a condition of things?
§ MR. WYNDHAM
The hon. Member for South Longford, who made a constitutional speech and appealed to our love of liberty, declared that twelve men in the jury box in the early part of the last century had, by refusing to convict, been the means of altering the law with regard to forgery, sheep-stealing, and so forth. In a sense that was so, but what they altered was the penalty, not the law. I do not believe that in this country, or in Ireland if Ireland had a Government of her own, any Government which respected itself would alter the law—a law which gives redress for injury—mereley because jurors, misguided, and whose feelings had been worked upon, declined to do their duty. Every Government, so long as it is a Government, is bound to give to men who do not break the law, or even who do break the law if they are injured by illegal practices, the protection which the law affords. The hour is too late for me to reply to all the arguments which have been put forward, but assuming that all that hon. Gentlemen opposite have urged is true, assuming that the Union was a great mistake—I am using hypothetical arguments assuming that the land system in Ireland is in such an unsatisfactory condition as to work men's minds up to fury—I do not believe that that is true, although I do believe that the present position is unsatisfactory assuming all that can any reasonable man hope that you will either alter the tenure of land in Ireland or persuade the British Members of this House, who are the successors in title to one of the two free Houses of Commons which made the Union a hundred years ago—
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I believe I am arguing fairly. ["No."] At any rate, I am arguing within very short limits of time, and in the face of interruptions which I do not think are at all called for. I put it to the Committee whether any Government which respects itself is to abandon its duty of protecting men in the enjoyment of rights given to them under every civilised code, because an attempt is being made to change the land system or to change the constitution upon lines which are purposeless and hopeless. The hon. Member who opened the debate spoke of the man protecting his potato patch. That is not the source of most of these troubles. One source of these troubles is, perhaps, an attempt to prevent men putting their cattle upon large grazing farms. But if you adopt illegal methods to compass that object, and then proceed to try to secure the acquittal of the men accused, what steps are you taking towards bringing that farm into the market? Everybody who observes the practices adopted in connection with the land agitation in Ireland knows that they are paralysing the efforts of every man in this House who might be willing to amend the land laws. Everybody knows that the formation of combinations which become illegal, and the attempts to over-awe juries, and so Forth, do nothing to remedy the present state of affairs in Ireland, the only result is to paralyse the efforts of all those who would be willing to assist in finding a remedy. An attack has been made to-night upon the Executive Government? suppose upon myself and all my predecessors. An attempt is made to saddle all Irish Chief Secretaries with a part which they do not espouse—a part in an imaginary duel between England and Ireland, or with a part in an even more fictitious duel between one part of Ireland and another part of Ireland, or between Protestants and Catholics. Those dissensions are alien from the minds and thoughts of all British Unionists and British Imperialists. We repudiate the suggestion that we are actuated by such motives. I say to-night that I am satisfied that the Law Officers of the Crown are not actuated 710 by those motives. Is it true, or is it false? That is the rhetorical question addressed to the Committee by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division. You have heard the words of Lord Spencer. They represent his experience, and they represent the experience of every man connected with Irish Government. British statesmen believe that the future of this Empire has gifts in store for Ireland, as for men of every race and of every creed within the Empire, and in that confidence we are not going to imperil the future by stalking at all that makes the present tolerable for those who are responsible for the proper government of Ireland, and for those who look for protection to the Government in Ireland.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon Boroughs)
thought it would be unfortunate if the debate was confined to Irish Members, as this was certainly a matter affecting the whole of the Kingdom. The Chief Secretary had used exactly the same arguments as were always used when Irish questions were discussed, and he had treated the jury question as if it was a matter dealing with a special emergency, whereas the system of jury-packing had obtained in Ireland for a great number of years. The fact of the matter was, the Chief Secretary had evaded the real point of the matter. A system of law obtained in Ireland which could he administered only by excluding from the jury-box the majority of the population of the country. What would be said if in this country the system of law was such that before it could be administered it was necessary to exclude every Protestant from the jury-box? Or supposing that in Cape Colony there was a Dutch Government, and Englishmen were tried before a jury composed exclusively of members of the Dutch Reformed Church, Englishmen being excluded from the box what would he said about that? Yet that was exactly what occurred in Ireland. He did not desire to make any attack on the Protestants of Ireland, but it would not be fair to judge the Protestants of England by the Protestants of Ireland. He did not say that there was no intolerance or bigotry even in this country, but, after all, there was the tolerance which came from a sense of easy predominance and 711 ascendency. But in Ireland Protestants were in a minority, and in any country a constant minority in conflict with the majority upon religious and racial questions became naturally embittered. This system had gone on for years, and the hon. and learned Member on the other
§ side put the case well when he said that there was no alternative but Home Rule.
§ Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 105; Noes, 173. (Division List No. 168.)713
|Abraham, Willianm (Cork, N.E.||Gladstone, Rt. Hn Herbert John||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glonc, Stroud||Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Haldane, Richard Burden||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gail||Hammond, John||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hardie, J. K. (Merthyr Tydvil)||O'Doherty, William|
|Black, Alexander William||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Blake, Edward||Hayne, Rt. Hon. CharlesSeale||O'Dowd, John|
|Boland, John||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Chas. H.||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Boyle, James||Hmuphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N|
|Caldwell, James||Jones, Wm. (Carnarvonshire)||O'Malley, William|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Mara, James|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Joyce, Michael||O'Shee, James John|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Kennedy, Patrick James||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Labouchere, Henry||Reddy, M.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Leamy, Edmund||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Reid, Sir R. Threshin (Dumfries)|
|Crean, Eugene||Loyd-George, David||Rickett, J. Compton|
|Cremer, William Randal||Lundon, W.||Rigg, Richard|
|Cullinan, J.||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Delany, William||M'Cann, James||Roche, John|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||M'Dermott, Patrick||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Dillon, John||M'Fadden, Edward||Sullivan, Donal|
|Doogan, P. C.||M'Govern, T.||Thomas, F. Freeman (Hastings|
|Doulas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Minch, Matthew||Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan, N.|
|Duffy, William J.||Mooney, John J.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Moss, Samuel||Tully, Jasper|
|Edwards, frank||Mumaghan, George||Ure, Alexander|
|Emmott, Alfred||Murphy, J.||While, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Nussey, Thomas Willans||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Sir Thomas Esmonde and|
|Gilhooly, James||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Captain Donelan.|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir A. P.||Butcher, John George||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Carlile, William Walter||Fellowes, Hn. Ailwyn Edward|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Carson, Rt. Hn. Sir Edw. H.||Fergusson, Rt Hn Sir J (Manch'r|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Cautley, Henry Strother||Finch, George H.|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Finlay, Sir Robt. Bannatyne|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Fisher, William Hayes|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Fitzroy, Hon Edward Algernon|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Chamberlain, J Austen (Wore'r||Flower, Ernest|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Chapman, Edward||Garfit, William|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Charrington, Spencer||Gordon, Hn. J E (Elgin & Nairn)|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gordon, Maj Evans- (T'rHmlets|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir. M H (Bristol)||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Green, Walford D (Wednesbury|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Bond, Edward||Cranborne, Viscount||Greene, W. Raymond- (C'ambs.|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolt on)||Gretton, John|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Gust, Henry John C.||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Brassey, Albert||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Hambro, Charles Eric|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Dickson, Charles Scott||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Mid'x|
|Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry|
|Bull, William James||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.|
|Hardy, L. (Kent, Ashford)||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Haslett, Sir James Homer||Middlemore, John Throgmor'n||Round, James|
|Heath, Arthur Howard (Hartley||Milton, Viscount||Royds, Clement Molynenx|
|Helder, Augustus||Milward, Colonel Victor||Russell, T. W.|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Rutherford, John|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffi'ld, Brightside||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Howard, John (Kent, Faversh.||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Hutton, John (York, N. R.)||More, Robt. Jas. (Shropshire)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Morgan, Hn. Fred (Monm'thsh.||Smith, Hon. W. F D (Strand)|
|Jessel, Capt. Herbert Merton||Morrison, James Archibald||Stanley, Hon. A. (Ormskirk)|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Dertford||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Mount, William Arthur||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury)||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. G. (Bute)||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Keswick, William||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Uni.|
|Knowles, Lees||Nicholson, William Graham||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Lawson, John Grant||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Valentia, Vicount|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Warde, Colonel C. K.|
|Leveson-Gower, Fred, N. S.||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Wason, John Catchart (Orkney)|
|Long, Col. Chas. W. (Evesham||Parker, Gilbert||Webb, Col. William George|
|Long, Rt. Hn. W. (Bristol, S.)||Pemberton, John S. G.||Whiteley, H. (Ashton u.-Lyne)|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Penn, John||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Pierpoint, Robert||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft||Plummer, Walter R.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. P.)|
|Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wylie, Alexander|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Purvis, Robert||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Randles, John S.||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|M'Calmont,Col. H. L. B (Cambs||Rankin, Sir James||Younger, William|
|M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Renshaw, Charles Bine||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Majendie, James A. H.||Rentoul, James Alexander||William Walrond and Mr.|
|Malcolm, Ian||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. T.||Anstruther.|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ THE FIRST LORD or THE TREASURY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR, Manchester, E.)
I beg to move that the Question be now put. [Cries of "Gag," and "Oh, oh!"
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (speaking seated, and covered)
On a point of order, Sir, I beg to call your attention to the fact that the First Lord moved the closure at ten minutes past twelve o'clock. That is a contravention of the Twelve o'clock Rule.
The hon. Member is mistaken. The closure can be moved on the interruption of public business.
§ MR. DILLON (who also spoke seated and covered)
I beg to draw your attention to the fact that I had addressed two or three sentences to you, Sir, and that it 714 was your duty to have called "Order, order." and left the Chair before the First Lord of the Treasury rose. The closure was not moved on the interruption of public business, but after I had taken exception to the procedure of business, and had addressed to you two or three sentences.
If the hon. Member went on addressing me be was disorderly, because I was standing in my place, and the rule of the House is that, when the Speaker or the Chairman rises, an hon. Member ought to sit down. I interrupted the business by calling "Order, order," and at that moment the First Lord of the Treasury moved the closure.
§ MR. DILLON
On a point of order. You put the question and I immediately addressed you. It was perfectly orderly, because if I had not stood up and addressed you, you could have put the question and would have put the question, If I had waited until you sat down I should have lost my right to speak, and you had not called "Order, order." before I addressed you. After I had addressed to you a few words of protest 715 against the vote being taken to-night, the First Lord of the Treasury moved the closure.
* THE CHAIRMAN
The hon. Member continued on his legs and speaking while I was endeavouring to call "Order, order." In fact I called it several times but the hon. Member continued to speak,
§ and that of course delayed the Question being put. The Question is, That the Question be now put.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The Committee, divided:—Ayes, 175; Noes, 101. (Division List No. 169.)717
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F||Gordon, Maj Evans- (T'rH'ml'ts||Morton, A. H. A. (Deptford)|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsby-||Mount, William Arthur|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Murray, Rt Hn. A. Graham (Bute|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Green, Walford D (Wedn'sbury||Nicholson, William Graham|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Nicol, Donald Ninian|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs.)||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Gretton, John||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Greville, Hon. Ronald||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Hambro, Charles Eric||Parker, Gilbert|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Hamilton, Rt Hn L'dG. (Midd'x||Pemberton, John S. G.|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'derry||Penn, John|
|Bathurst, Hon. Alien Benjamin||Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robt. Wm.||Pierpoint, Robert|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Hardy, Laurence (Kent Ashf'rd||Platt-Higgins; Frederick|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Haslett, Sir James Horner||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Heath, Arthur H. (Hanley)||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Bond, Edward||Helder, Augustus||Purvis, Robert|
|Boacawen, Arthur Griftith-||Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter||Randles, John S.|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Hope, J. F. (Sheffi'ld, Brightside||Rankin, Sir James|
|Brassey, Albert||Howard, John (Kent, Faversh.||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)||Renshaw, Charles Bine|
|Brookfield, Col. Montagu||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick||Rentoul, James Alexander|
|Bull, William James||Jessel, Captain Herbt. Merton||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Butcher, John George||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Carlile, William Walter||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Kenyon, James (Lanes, Bury)||Bound, James|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Keswick, William||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Cavendish, V. C. W. (Derbysh.)||Knowles, Lees||Rutherford, John|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lawson, John Grant||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Chamberlain, J Auston (Worc'r||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Chapman, Edward||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Simeon, Sir Harrington|
|Charrington, Spencer||Long, Col. Charles W (Evesham||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand|
|Churchill, Winston Spencer||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Coghill, Douglas Harry||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Colomb, Sir John Charles R.||Loyd, Archie Kirk man||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G (Oxf'd Uni.|
|Corbett, A. C. (Glasgow)||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsm'th)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Macdona, John Gumming||Valentia, Viscount|
|Cross, H. Shepherd (Bolton)||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Cust, Henry John C.||M'Calmont, Col. H. L. B (Cambs||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Dickinson, Robert Edmond||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Webb, Col. William George|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W||Whiteley, H. (Asht'n und Lyne|
|Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cockfield||Majendie, James A. H.||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Malcolm, Ian||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset)|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Maple, Sir John Blundell||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J (Mane'r||Middlemore, John Throgm'rton||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.)|
|Finch, George H.||Milton, Viscount||Wylie, Alexander|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Milward, Colonel Victor||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Fitzroy, Hn. Edward Algernon||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Younger, William|
|Flower, Ernest||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)|
|Forster, Henry William||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn||Morgan, Hn. Fred (Monm'thsh.||Sir William Walrond and|
|Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)||Morrison, James Archibald||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Abraham, Win. (Cork, N.E.)||Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Glouc., Stroud)||Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herb. John||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Doherty, William|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Haldane, Richard Burdon||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Black, Alexander William||Hammond, John||O'Dowd, John|
|Blake, Edward||Hardie, J. Keir (MerthyrTydv'l||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Boland, John||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)|
|Boyle, James||Hayne, Rt. Hn. Charles Seale-||O'Malley, William|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Mara, James|
|Caldwell, James||Joyce, Michael||O'Shee, James John|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.||Kennedy, Patrick James||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Labouchere, Henry||Reddy, M.|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Channiug, Francis Allston||Leamy, Edmund||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Rigg, Richard|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Lundon, W.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Crean, Eugene||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Roche, John|
|Cremer, William Randal||M'Cann, James||Russell, T. W.|
|Cullinan, J.||M'Dermott, Patrick||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Fadden, Edward||Sullivan, Donal|
|Delany, William||M'Govern, T.||Thomas, F. Freeman- (Hastings|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Minch, Matthew||Thompson, EC (Monaghan, N.)|
|Dillon, John||Mooney, John J.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Doogan, P. C.||Moss, Samuel||Tully, Jasper|
|Douglas, Chas. M. (Lanark)||Murnaghan, George||Ure, Alexander|
|Duffy, William J.||Murphy, J.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Nolan, Col. J. P. (Galway, N.)||White, Patrick Meath, North)|
|Edwards, Frank||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Emmott, Alfred||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Nussey, Thomas Willans|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipper'ry Mid||Sir Thomas Esmonde and|
|Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Captain Donelan.|
§ Original Question put accordingly.718
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 175; Noes, 96. (Division List No. 170.)719
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire)||Forster, Henry William|
|Agg Gardner, James Tynte||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Foster, Sir M. (Lond. Univ.)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Gordon, Hn. J. E. (Elgin & Nairn|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Chamberlain, J Austen (Wore'r||Gordon, J. (Londonderry, S.)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Chapman, Edward||Gordon, Maj Evans (T'rH'mlets|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Charrington, Spencer||Gore, Hon. F. S. Ormsbys-|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir J. Eldon|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline Fitz Roy||Coghill, Douglas Harry||Gray, Ernest (West Ham)|
|Bain, Col. James Robert||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse||Green, Walford D Wednesbury|
|Balfour Rt Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready||Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W (Leeds||Compton, Lord Alwyne||Greene, W. Raymond- (Cambs.)|
|Banbury, Frederick George||Corbett, A. Cameron Glasgow)||Gretton, John|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B.||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Greville, Hon. Ronald|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir M. H. (Bristol||Cranborne, Viscount||Hambro, Charles Eric|
|Bentinck, Lord Henry C.||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)||Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G. (Mid'x|
|Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Cust, Henry John C.||Hamilton, Marq of (L'nd'nderry|
|Blundell, Colonel Henry||Dickinson, Robert Edmond||Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.|
|Bond, Edward||Dickson, Charles Scott||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'd|
|Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Dimsdale, Sir Joseph Cock field||Harris, Frederick Leverton|
|Bousfield, William Robert||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Haslett, Sir James Horner|
|Brassey, Albert||Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley|
|Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Helder, Augustus|
|Brookfield, Col. Montagu||Fergusson, Rt Hn. Sir J. (Manc'r||Hermon-Hodge, Robt. Trotter|
|Bull, William James||Finch, George H.||Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brightside|
|Butcher, John George||Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Howard, J. (Kent, Faversham|
|Carlile, William Walter||Fisher, William Hayes||Hutton, John (Yorks, N. R.)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Fitzroy, Hon. Edw. Algernon||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Flower, Ernest||Jessel Captain Herbert Merton|
|Johnston, William (Belfast)||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Rutherford, John|
|Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Morgan, Hn. Fred. (Monm'thsh.||Sadler, Col. Saml, Alexander|
|Kenyon, James (Lancs., Bury)||Morrison, James Archibald||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.|
|Keswick, William||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Knowles, Lees||Mount, William Arthur||Simeon, Sir Harrington|
|Lawson, John Grant||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand|
|Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Stanley, Hn. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Nicholson, William Graham||Stanley, Lord (Lanes.)|
|Leveson-Gower, Fredk. N. S.||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Strutt, Hon. Charles Hedley|
|Long, Col. Charles W (Evesham||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Uni.|
|Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Calmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Tollemache, Henry James|
|Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Parker, Gilbert||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Pemberton, John S. G.||Valentia, Viscount|
|Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Perm, John||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Pierpoint, Robert||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Platt-Higgins, Frederick||Webb, Col. William George|
|Macdona, John Cumming||Plummer, Walter B.||Whiteley, H. (Ashton-u.-Lyne|
|M'Arthur, Chas. (Liverpool)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|M'Calmont, Col. H. L. B (Cambs||Pretyman, Ernest George||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset|
|M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Purvis, Robert||Willox, Sir John Archibald|
|M'Iver, Sir L. (Edinburgh, W.)||Randles, John S.||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.|
|Majendie, James A. H.||Rankin, Sir James||Wilson-Todd, Wm. H. (Yorks.|
|Malcolm, Ian||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||Wylie, Alexander|
|Maple, Sir John Blundell||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Martin, Richard Biddulph||Rentoul, James Alexander||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Middlemore, John T.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson||Younger, William|
|Milton, Viscount||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Milward, Colonel Victor||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Round, James||Sir William Walrond and|
|Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Royds, Clement Molyneux||Mr. Anstruther.|
|Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Russell, T. W.|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.||Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Allen, Chas. P. (Gloue. Stroud||Fuller, J. M. F.||O'Connor, Jas. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Doherty, William|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hammond, John||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)|
|Black, Alexander William||Hardie, J. K. (MerthyrTydvil)||O'Dowd, John|
|Blake, Edward||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)|
|Boland, John||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Chas. Seale-||O'Kelly, Jas. (Roscommon, N.)|
|Boyle James||Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Malley, William|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Joyce, Michael||O'Mara, James|
|Caldwell, James||Kennedy, Patrick James||O'Shee, James John|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Labouchere, Henry||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Carvill, Patrick Geo. Hamilton||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Reddy, M.|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Leamy, Edmund||Redmond, J. E. (Waterford)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Leigh, Sir Joseph||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Lundon, W.||Rigg, Richard|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Crean, Eugene||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Cremer, William Randal||M'Cann, James||Roche, John|
|Cullinan, J.||M'Dermott, Patrick||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)||M'Fadden, Edward||Sullivan, Donal|
|Delany, William||M'Govern, T.||Thomas, F. Freeman- (Hastings|
|Dewar, J. A. (Inverness-shire)||Minch, Matthew||Thompson, E. C. (Monaghan, N.|
|Dillon, John||Mooney, John J.||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Doogan, P. C.||Moss, Samuel||Tully, Jasper|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Murnaghan, George||lire, Alexander|
|Duffy, William J.||Murphy, J.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Nolan, Col. J. P (Galway, N.)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Edwards, Frank||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Emmott, Alfred||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Young, Samuel (Cavan, East.|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Nussey, Thomas Willans||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Ffreneh, Peter||O'Brien, Kendal (T'pp'rary Mid||Sir Thomas Esmonde and|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Captain Donelan.|
§ THE CHAIRMAN left the Chair to make Ins Report to the House.
§ Adjourned at twenty-five minutes before One of the clock till Monday next.