§ [Motion for Adjournment.]
§ (6.55) MR. JOHN REDMOND (Waterford)
, rose in his place, and asked leave to move the adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a definite matter of urgent public importance, viz., "the proclamation of nine counties and two cities in Ireland under Sections 2, 3, and 4 of The Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, 1887;" and the pleasure of the House having been signified—
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
The action of the Irish Executive to which I desire to call the attention of the House is of a very grave and serious character indeed, and I desire to address myself to its consideration in a spirit of gravity. I do not intend, Mr. Speaker, to make any violent attack or to indulge in any extravagant criticism. I regard the step which has been taken 557 as one of the utmost gravity, affecting most prejudicially the future prospects of Ireland; and I desire to discuss it in a spirit of moderation. I am not quite sure if the House of Commons exactly understands the position in which Ireland has been governed of recent years. I think I shall probably be quite accurate if I say that since the Union Ireland has never been governed without the application of exceptional coercive laws for so long a period as the period covered by the last eight or nine years. It is true that during that period there was upon the Statute Book an exceptional coercive law, but it is also true that during those years that law stood in abeyance and during that period the ordinary law of England, Scotland, and Wales prevailed in Ireland. I remember very well the circumstances under which the proclamation of Ireland under the Crimes Acts was revoked by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose. When he went to Ireland, I think probably he will agree with me, Ireland was not in as peaceful a condition as she is today. When he went to Ireland, a large proportion of the country was disturbed, and there was more ordinary crime and more agrarian crime than there is today. I well remember, when the right hon. Gentleman proposed to suspend the operation of the Coercion Act, the solemn warnings that were given to him by the representatives of certain classes in Ireland. I well remember how he was warned that the result of his action would be that crime and outrage and lawlessness would spring up all over the country, and that neither the lives nor property of the landlords or their friends would be safe in the country. But the right hon. Gentleman very wisely believed in the great principle which he went to Ireland to establish, and he very wisely put those warnings upon one side and re-affirmed the right of the Irish people to live under the ordinary law, and he trusted to the ordinary law. The result was that for a period of years afterwards Ireland lived in comparative peace under the ordinary law, and when the present Chief Secretary for Ireland went to take the reins of government in Ireland in his hands, he found a country which he stated himself at the commencement of 558 this year was freer from agrarian crime than it had been at any period during the past century. That has been the condition of things for the past eight or nine years in Ireland, but now the Government have come to a very serious and grave determination. They have entered upon an entirely new policy in Ireland. They have put upon one side all hope of governing Ireland under the same law that prevails in England, Scotland, and Wales; and they come down to this House, and once again they make the confession that they can only govern Ireland by suspending in that country those portions of the British constitution which are valued and most treasured by the people of this country.
It is not that the right hon. Gentleman is simply dabbling in coercion—that was the case up to yesterday. Up to yesterday he was trying his hand in that timid and tentative way with certain portions of the Coercion Act, but the step he has taken now is a reversal of that policy, and an adoption to the full of that quality of coercion which has been the cause of untold misery in the past, and which I think is the greatest blot, from England's point of view, upon the history of the last century. The right hon. Gentleman has told us that he has proclaimed under certain portions of the Coercion Act nine counties of Ireland—Cavan, Clare, Cork, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Tipperary, Waterford, and Roscommon; and in addition to that he has proclaimed the two important cities of Cork and Waterford, He has included in his proclamation nine counties and two cities, containing, roughly speaking, a population of about 1,500,000 people. He has proclaimed must of these counties—I gather from what he said, for he has not read the list, and perhaps he will do so before the debate ends—he has proclaimed most of these counties under the second section of the Coercion Act. That, second section provides for the abolition for the time being all over the district of the right of trial by jury in a certain class of offence. The classes of offence for which trial by jury has been abolished are just those very classes of cases in which, for the protection of the liberty of the subject, trial by jury is most necessary. Any 559 one acquainted with the criminal law or with the administration of the criminal law knows perfectly well that in the whole of the criminal law there is no part so dangerous to the liberty of the subject as the law of conspiracy. The law of conspiracy might be made an engine of the most appalling injustice and tyranny if in the hands of a tyrannical or unscrupulous Government. Under the law of conspiracy, as the House well knows, men are arraigned and held responsible not merely for their own acts and words and writings, but for the words and acts and writings of other people who may be brought into the indictment with them, but for whose words or acts or writings they in reality are not morally responsible at all. There is no portion of the criminal law so dangerous to the liberty of the subject as this law of conspiracy, and I take leave to say that in past days, as every student of English constitutional history knows, it was alone the constancy, the fortitude, and the courage of English jurors which in the past saved the liberty of the subject in this country. Therefore, you are suspending, over this population of 1,500,000 in Ireland, the right of trial by jury in those very cases where the right of trial by jury is most essential for the liberty of the subject. You are suspending it also in case of conspiracy for unlawful assembly, which, as the House has gathered from some of the earlier debates this session upon the subject of Ireland, is also a class of offence where, in order to protect the right of individuals and freedom of speech; trial by jury ought to be scrupulously maintained. We had the most extraordinary doctrines laid down upon unlawful assembly in the last debate in this House, where it was actually held that a man was rightly-convicted who came to a meeting which was peaceful and at which meeting he had made a perfectly legal speech—such a man was held to be rightly convicted because of a few phrases in the speech of another man who spoke after him, and during whose speech he may not have been present at all. That is the second class of offence—where the right of trial by jury is almost the sole bulwark of free speech and of the liberty of the individual. Over this vast population of 1,500,000 people you 560 are suspending the right of trial by jury in that class of case also. You are suspending the right of trial by jury in offences of intimidation and in offences which in this country, if they arose in connection with Trade Union disputes, could only be tried before a jury. I hold the view very strongly that the tenantry of Ireland in this land struggle are engaged in a great Trade Union contest, and if men in the course of that contest are to be tried for intimidation, they should be tried under the same conditions as Trade Unionists in this country would be tried if they were charged with intimidation. And, finally, under this proclamation trial by jury will be abolished in all cases of what is called incitement to any of the offences that have been named. I say it would be impossible to conceive a set of offences for which trial by jury is more necessary, and yet you have with one scratch of your pen abolished it. The minor sections of the Acts which have been applied to these districts are Sections 3 and 4. Section 3 enables certain offences to be tried by special juries instead of ordinary juries—that is, by selected juries of men drawn from a class who are likely to be prejudiced against the agrarian offender. Section I provides for a change of venue. I can understand some case being made out of this kind: I can imagine a man charged with an offence in connection with the land movement in which the sympathies of the people are with him even if he may have outstepped the law. In all cases of that kind it might be difficult to get a fair trial in the man's own district. I could understand in such a case cause having been shown that there might be some power necessary to change the venue from one district to another. But as I recollect the words of Section 4, it provides that this change of venue is not to rest merely with the Court at all, but with the Attorney General. Section provides that the High Court, on an application by or on behalf of the Attorney General, and upon his certificate that he believes a more impartial and fairer trial can be had, that the Court shall make an order changing the venue. The Court has no power at all in the matter. It is not the case of the 561 Attorney General going to the Court and making out a strong ease that the trial ought to be taken to another district; but it is the case of the Attorney General selecting any venue he likes, and the Court is obliged to accept his choice. I will put an extreme case. The Attorney General, under the operation of this section, if he chose, could take a prisoner from Cork or Kerry and give a certificate, that he thought a fairer trial would be had in Belfast; and thereupon, notwithstanding that the Court might have the strongest opinion that it was a monstrously unfair thing to send the case to Belfast, although they might be of this opinion, and yet agree that the venue ought to be changed from Cork or Kerry, the Court would have no alternative but to change the venue from Cork to Belfast.
I think, Sir, that I have said enough to show the magnitude of the step the Government have taken. First of all, I have shown its magnitude, with regard to the area of the country affected and to the large population affected, and more especially its magnitude, by reference to the extraordinary powers they areinvesting in their own servants the paid removable resident magistrates of the country, who are in future to be allowed to try these difficult cases under the criminal law. It is a strange thing that these outbreaks of coercion are nearly always coincident with some event of special interest and importance to the Empire. It is a strange thing that whenever some great event arises upon which the eyes of the world are centred, some great event when English statesmen desire to show to the world a spectacle of loyalty, of unity, of peace, and of the prosperity of their great Empire, that these are the occasions upon which coercion is invariably revived in Ireland. The House perhaps will remember that this Coercion Act was passed in the Jubilee year of 1887. Ireland was then invited, having received this gift from the Imperial Parliament, of the suspension of the constitution to take part with the rest of the Empire in an exhibition of goodwill and loyalty and contentment here in London. In the Jubilee procession which took place, Ireland was most appropriately represented by nobody at all except a squad of the 562 Royal Irish Constabulary. Now, Sir, a new reign has commenced—a new monarch has come to the throne. The Empire once again, and everybody in this country, is insisting that an exhibition should be made in the streets of London of the unity, the loyalty, the contentment, and the goodwill of the sons of the Empire. From every part of the world they are going to flock into London—from Canada and from Australia and, I suppose, even from the Cape. I do not know whether we will have any representatives from the new Colonies, the Transvaal and the Orange River Colonies as they are called; but the Sons of the Empire are being invited from every part of the World to come and make a great pageant in the streets of London on the occasion of the Coronation of King Edward VII., in order to show to the nations of the civilised world how strong and united the Empire is, and how peaceful and contented and loyal are the subjects of the King. And, by way of preparation, the constitution is suspended in Ireland, and once again those Canadian statesmen who come from their contented home-rule governed Colony of Canada, and the Australian statesmen who come here, will find one figure absent from your pageant. They will find Ireland, whose goodwill is of more value to this Empire than all the Colonies put together, standing apart from the ceremony, sullen and disaffected, and they will see her represented once again in your pageant by the bayonets and the muskets of the Royal Irish Constabulary. It is a strange thing that these outbreaks of coercion invariably come at periods such as this. Some justification surely is needed for the action of the Government.
Sir, I am enabled by the indulgence of the House to raise this question in a form which is somewhat irregular, and certainly is not a recognised form, and is one which is not popular with the House. We ought not to be put to such expedients at all. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary or the Leader of the House, perhaps, ought to have come down and made this announcement to the House, that the constitution was about to be suspended in Ireland, and he ought at 563 once, when announcing a fact of such enormous importance, to have placed at the disposal of the House ample time for the discussion of the Question, and he ought to have made whatever justification or case he could put forward for the action that has been taken. But no, the suspension of the constitution in Ireland is done by the scratch of a pen in Dublin last night, and the first we hear of it today is in a paragraph in the London newspapers, and no case whatever is put forward by the Government, until we force them by this somewhat irregular course, for the serious step that they have taken. I say it is a monstrous thing that action of this kind should be taken without the fullest explanation by those who are responsible for it. Does it come to this, that the abolition of trial by jury in a district populated by a million and a half of people in Ireland, has become a matter of course, and that it can be carried out without any special explanation or discussion in this House?
Now I ask what possible case have the Government to make? I am at a disadvantage because I am speaking before the right hon. Gentleman, and I am trying to speculate as to what possible case he can put forward. Admittedly Ireland is freer from ordinary crime, according to population, than either England, Scotland, or Wales. That is an uncontrovertible statement. The last time I spoke on the subject I gave figures shewing that, according to population, Ireland was far freer of ordinary crime than England, Scotland, or Wales. Ireland is also free from Agrarian crime. It was only the other day that the Chief Secretary told us so. He gave an elaborate set of figures, extending over a period, I think, of between two and three years, and he compared those figures with previous periods in the immediate past. He showed that Ireland was freer of agrarian crime than she ever had been, and in agrarian crime I am not confining myself. Hon. Members must not be misled by malicious statements in a portion of the English Press on this question. When I speak of agrarian crime, I am not excluding boycotting at all if you like to include it. I believe there is a certain class of boy cotting which is criminal and ought to be put down. I think that is the case 564 in this country as well as in Ireland, but I believe at the same time that there is a class of boycotting, called in this country exclusive dealing, which is perfectly legal and perfectly justifiable. But I do not go into distinctions for the purpose of the present argument at all. Let me go the full lengths of concession in order to make my argument. The Chief Secretary, when he talks of boycotting, I presume, includes all classes of boycotting, and what did he say only the other day? He told us that in the whole of Ireland there were only 211 persons who were boycotted at all, and by using the word persons he included all the individuals in families, so that the number of cases of boycotting is very much less—about one-fifth—and of those 211 persons he said there were only twenty-seven that could in any degree be attributed to what was called the popular organisation in Ireland. He was on his defence, because we were attacking him for having dabbled in coercion, and under these circumstances there is no doubt that he would have made the best case he could, and would have given to the House every case of boycotting or agrarian crime he could find in his Returns. He had to make that confession. I ask him—What has happened since then? I think it will be found that when the right hon. Gentleman speaks he cannot materially increase the numbers he then gave, and, if that be so, is it not perfectly monstrous, if there are only twenty-seven persons in the whole of Ireland who have been thus, according to him wrongfully boycotted by the popular organisation, that he should put this tremendous engine of repression into operation over a population of 1,500,000, and scattered over nine counties and two cities? There is a most unscrupulous campaign on foot in England. I confess I do not know, for it is very hard to know, how to account for the existence of this campaign, but it is an infamous thing. I put it to hon. Gentlemen even on the other side of the House, is it not an ignoble and infamous thing for men, no matter what their station in life, to enter into concerted action for the purpose of endeavouring to create the idea in England that Ireland is 565 covered with crime, outrage, and disturbance? For what purpose I know not, except that it is in pursuance of the insane policy they have pursued in the past—the insane policy of thinking that, by repressing the people and persecuting them in some way or other, they will be protecting their own personal class interests and property. I am sorry that a portion of the Press of this country has taken part in this conspiracy. Not all, for some even of the Conservative newspapers in London have been writing very fairly on the question, but there are certain papers which day by day have been publishing the most atrocious falsehoods with reference to the condition of Ireland. Every second evening I have read headings in some London papers, "Reign of Terror in Ireland," "The State of Outrage and Crime in Ireland," and only the other day I saw a full-page illustration in one of the most important weekly illustrated papers of London of a most disgraceful character. It was a picture in the background of which there were smoking cottages; in the front there were a couple of masked moonlighters with guns in their hands, beating women and children, who were kneeling at their feet. Well now, is it not awful, is it not absolutely appalling, that the enormous power at the disposal of great newspapers like that should be used in such an ignoble and criminal manner in endeavouring to raise the idea that there is violence and outrage going on in Ireland? Why, Sir, there is not either violence or outrage. Thank God, moonlight outrages are unknown in Ireland. Thank God, there are no outrages or violence, no murders, or woundings, or firings, or anything of the kind. So far as the surface is concerned, at any rate, there is absolute tranquillity and peace, and all those statements are infamous calumnies, and I cannot conceive how responsible Englishmen can lend themselves to this miserable and contemptible effort to drag poor Ireland once more into disrepute before the world, as if it were a crime-stained and blood-stained country.
I have spoken about strange coincidences. It is a strange coincidence that this recrudescence of coercion should be at the moment of the Coronation celebration. But there is another 566 strange coincidence. It comes just at the moment in Ireland when we are entering on the Local Government elections. In a few days time the Irish people will have a free opportunity in the ballot boxes all over the country of giving their answer to the Government. The first term of three years has elapsed, and the County Council elections are going to take place all over the country; and in my judgment, although I have gone to considerable lengths—I have even gone much further, for example, than some of my hon. friends who sit near me—further than the hon. Member for East Mayo—in the past, in telling the Irish people that in these elections they ought to elect men differing from them in creed and politics, in order to show an example of toleration, I say to the right hon. Gentleman now that I believe the one answer we can effectively give to this coercion regime he is now inaugurating, is to tell the people of Ireland in these elections to elect no man who is not prepared to defy this Coercion Act, and trample it under foot. We will see, then, what will be the outcome of the policy. Will you invade the County Council rooms and the District Council rooms and proclaim them as illegal associations? Perhaps you may, and I have always held the view that it might be a good thing if you did abolish the empty forms of constitutional government, and let the world see what your rule is in Ireland—that is, that it is rule based on naked force and nothing else. I am not sure that the right hon. Gentleman in adopting this new policy quite realised that he-was doing it on the eve of these elections. I say that the first answer he will get will be the answer in the ballot boxes, and I hope that all over Ireland men will be elected upon this cry—Are you prepared to defy the Coercion Act or are you not?
Now, Sir, the right hon. Gentleman may still believe that he will be able to dabble in coercion. He may say to himself that having proclaimed nine counties and two cities, he does not intend to put that proclamation very vigorously in force, and that the proclamation was really only a sop to those people who have been pressing him forward on this road of coercion. But I warn the right hon. Gentleman—and I and my friends 567 who sit near me have had long enough experience of public life in Ireland, and of Coercion Acts in that country, to justify us in viewing our warnings as true—I warn the right hon. Gentleman that he cannot stop, and that he will have to go on. He has now allowed himself to be pushed on to this path by the little coterie I alluded to a few moments ago, and it will be in vain to attempt to arrest his progress downward. He will go on, and I am afraid we must make up our minds in Ireland that we will have a period of trouble, suffering, and sacrifice before us. The Irish people have faced that before, and most of us who sit on these Benches have faced it and suffered from it before. We are prepared if necessary to face it again. Now we know what it means. There is nothing new in the history of Ireland under English rule. We are travelling round and round in the same old circle of coercion—first, timid and tentative; then a little more bold; then going on, the appetite increasing by what it feeds on, coercion bolder and bolder, more naked and unashamed; then imprisonment of every man of responsibility in the country; every man who has power to influence and restrain his fellow-coutrymen, then outrage and crime, when we are in prison, with our months closed and our hands manacled, walking round the prison yard with your common pickpockets; then, after a period of suffering and crime, redress of the grievances we have been suffering. Mr. Speaker, the system under which Ireland is governed has no parallel in the history of the world. We in Ireland are governed by a minority, but with a minority who have the Government behind them in Ireland at the present moment. The elected representatives of the people are opposed to them. The elected public bodies in Ireland are opposed to them. The clergy—at least, that portion of the clergy that represent the overwhelming majority of the people—are opposed to them.
In undertaking this step I am not sure that the Cabinet had the complete and united approval of all the Members of the Irish Government. Of course, the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary will have sufficient 568 chivalry, I am sure, to take full responsibility for not only this step, but for all the disasters that will follow from it, but, unless I am very much mistaken, he and others in Ireland have been anxious to go slowly and to pospone this plunge into coercion, and this has been forced upon him by the persistent pressure of the most contemptible and miserable minority that ever brought ruin and disgrace upon a country. Sir, the men who are responsible for this policy-are well known; they are a small clique. In point of numbers they amount to nothing, they have no influence in Ireland, they are the lineal decendants of the intolerant, bigotted, and unscrupulous clique who drove Lord Fitzwilliam out of Ireland in 1795, and they are responsible for every misfortune which has ever overtaken Ireland in the century passed. They are men animated by the meanest and most contemptible motives that could animate human beings. They are animated by considerations of what they think—very foolishly in my opinion—are the interests of their own particular class, and what they think is the protection of their own particular class, and what they think is the protection of their own particular property, and by a motive still more-ignoble and contemptible, by the bigotted spirit of irreligious rancour and sectarian intolerance, which has made a certain portion of Ireland with which they are associated a bye-word before the whole world. That is the way we are governed in Ireland. Not merely are we governed by a minority, we are governed by the most contemptible and worthless minority, who in the past history of our country never did anything for her good, but everything for mischief and wrong.
Sir, I deplore most earnestly the new policy of the Chief Secretary. I deplore it because, however determined we may be to face what is before us in the political future of Ireland, none of us can look forward without a feeling something akin to horror to the consequence that, judging by the past, must inevitably follow from this policy of coercion if adopted. If I could I would do almost anything in my power to induce the right hon. Gentleman and the Government to give up this policy, in order that I might save 569 the judges of Ireland from a period of disturbance and misery, and, I fear, of crime. But, Sir, I know my words have no weight. I know well that people elected to County Councils or to Parliament—men who represent the people—have no influence with the Government. The Government are being driven by men who are in no sense responsible to the people. I say that, while I deplore the policy of the Government, and would make almost any earthly sacrifice in order to save the people from what I see is overtaking them, I will not be such a hypocrite as to pretend that the action of the right hon. Gentleman, from a political point of view, is an unmixed evil. I have more than once said that the one thing wanted in the body politic to make our struggle Against English rule strong and powerful was this little touch of the salt of coercion. I am convinced that the result of the right hon. Gentleman's action will be to strengthen our movement. I can promise him that for every branch of the United Irish League he tries to suppress two will spring up in its place. I promise him that for every man sent to prison in the discharge of his public duty in this movement there will be a dozen willing to take his place. And our answer to him to-night is that while we would entreat of him with all the earnestness at our command, if we thought it would be of any avail, even now to change his policy and halt upon this road, at the same time we tell him that if he goes on we will meet him face to face and give him blow for blow, and our answer to his coercion will be to strengthen our organisation and harden our hearts, and make our movement so powerful in the immediate future that his coercion will be short-lived, and that the day will come all the more speedily for redress and right doing.
§ Motion made and Question proposed, "That this House do now adjourn."—(Mr. John Redmond.)
§ (7.40.) THE CHIEF SECRETARY FOR IRELAND (Mr. WYNDHAM,) Dover
The hon. Member concluded his speech, eloquent as his speeches always are, with prophecies based on political consideration. The action of the Irish Government, which I am here to defend, has 570 not been based on political considerations; and I would, if I can succeed in so doing, allure the House back from the impassioned invective with which he concluded his speech to those earlier portions in which he demanded, as he was entitled to demand, an explanation from the Irish Government of the ground for the action which they have taken. But, Sir, do the periods of the hon. Member, however eloquent, however impassioned, assist the cause he has at heart, or any other useful purpose in Ireland? When I listened to him in that mood I can only feel that it is true that extremes meet, for I find him prophesying and recommending the very courses which were recommended by the most extreme organs of opinion opposed to him. It is he who says it will be a good thing to abolish all forms of constitutional government in Ireland. I do not believe that anybody on the opposite side has put forward so extravagant an idea. It is he who says, "We are travelling on the same old weary round." Yes, we have had agitation launched again in Ireland. I can almost follow every phrase of his speech and apply it to the Party for which he is responsible as he has applied those phrases to the Government. Agitation, at first tentative, partial; at first discountenanced by many men, honourable Nationalists, and discountenanced by himself—
§ MR. JOHN REDMOND
I never discountenanced agitation; I have always believed that that was the only way to get anything from this House.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
An agrarian agitation, the importance of which, the immediate necessity for which, many prominent Irish Members discountenanced in 1897 and 1898. But such an agitation is launched, it grows in volume, it passes beyond the control of many of those who first brought it into being, and finally we are travelling "the same old weary round." People's lives are made miserable in Ireland. We then know it is our duty to protect them. We wait on in the hope that these courses will be abandoned soon by those who have taken them up, and when at last the time comes to give up such hope, 571 we look, not for political reasons, but because it is our duty, for the powers to uphold the law.
The hon. Member began his speech this evening by saying that the action taken by the Irish Government is grave. I agree. I do not for one moment minimise the gravity of the step taken yesterday. It is, in my opinion, a grave matter to substitute summary jurisdiction for trial by jury in any part of the United Kingdom, and in respect of any cases tried. But the evils which that course has been taken to diminish, and, we hope, remove are also grave. We are acting on information which has been exhaustively collected and carefully examined. I say exhaustively collected, because, although I have not been and cannot be criticised on this score by the hon. Gentleman, as the Government has been criticised by others, for not knowing what has been going on in Ireland, it has been our duty to make an exhaustive examination of all the facts which have been alleged. Those facts have been carefully examined. We are taking this course because boycotting has increased in Ireland. The hon. and learned Member stated, as he was well entitled to state, that not so long ago I declared that Ireland was comparatively free from agrarian crime against the person or against property. I did state that, and I made a perfectly accurate statement. But I also stated on the same evening, in reply, I think, to an interruption coming from this side of the House, that I had never made light of the crime of boycotting and never would make light of it. And I would ask the House to recollect that when speaking first on this subject in June last in this House I laid it down that if there were but one person boycotted in Ireland it would be the duty of the Government to protect that one person with any measures which they thought proper to effect that object. That declaration of policy elicited, I think, unanimous support from my hon. friends; but I added a rider. At that time I said that the question of the area over which boycotting prevailed and the general condition of the country must affect the policy of the Government when the Government had to consider the specific methods it would adopt for 572 dealing with this admitted evil, and at that time there was not so much boycotting in Ireland as there is now. We did adopt certain steps. In the first place, we put extra police into the disturbed areas in which persons were exposed to this form of oppression; and in the second place, we prevented by an exhibition of force the holding of meetings intended to foster this form of oppression. Those measures were for a time successful; but, as I said to the House in the debate on the Address, in the very speech to which the hon. and learned Member has alluded, two new features appeared in the welter of Irish agrarian agitation during the autumn—in the first place, the action on what has been called the associated estates, which was akin to the Flan of Campaign; and in the second place, the prevalence during the autumn months of organised open denunciation of individuals. We took another step. Under those parts of Section 2 of the Crimes Act which can be used without proclamation we indicted persons who had been guilty in our opinion of unlawful assembly, and we proceeded altogether, I think, against some fifty-four persons. On March 13th I defended in this I louse that action, which was as the hon. and learned Member has stated, our first recourse to that which is called coercion; but I added that it would be my duty to explain and defend from month to month any course which the Government might find it necessary to take in order to protect the liberties of our fellow-subjects in Ireland. Let me do so, and state the facts as they are. I shall exaggerate nothing. I shall extenuate nothing.
I admit that the comparative absence of crime against the person and of crime against property in Ireland is still maintained. I state that there is no widespread repudiation of contract such as we knew in the years 1879 and 1880, and again in 1887, 1888, and 1889. I state that during the last few months, owing to steps already taken by the Executive, as I believe, there has been a marked decrease in open denunciation of individuals by unlawful assemblies. I state that there has been a decrease less marked and only recent, and following upon an increase which gave cause for 573 great anxiety—a less marked decrease in the publication by newspapers of matter intended to intimidate, being, or purporting to be, resolutions passed by secret conclaves. But that remains a subject for grave anxiety. In many newspapers in Ireland today matter is published designedly, as I hold, to bring fear into men's lives. I have exaggerated nothing. Now let me extenuate nothing. It is true on the other side that far from there being a decrease there has been a steady and persistent increase in boycotting. The hon. Member stated that when the right hon. Member for Montrose Burghs came into the office of Chief Secretary there was more agrarian crime than at the present moment. Yes, that is true. But how much less boycotting? In the year when the right hon. Gentleman became Chief Secretary, in 1892, there were but three cases of boycotting in Ireland. When he left office in 1895 there were but eight cases. I pass to 1897. In 1897 there were ten cases, in 1898 twelve cases, in 1899 nineteen cases, and in 1900 thirty-three cases. In June last year, when I spoke, there had been an apparent decrease in this offence, and there were twenty-five cases. For that very reason I advised the House at that moment not to take the steps which I now advise them to take. But that dip was not maintained. During the month in which I spoke—June last—there were thirty-three cases of boycotting. In January last there were thirty-seven, in February there were forty-two, including, I think, 265 persons, and in March last—and these are the last figures I have—there were fifty-one cases, involving 301 persons.
§ MR. DILLON
Will the right hon. Gentleman kindly let us know how many were totally and how many were partially-boycotted?
§ * MR. SPEAKER
The hon. Member has no right to persist if the right hon. Gentleman does not give way.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I do not refuse to give way out of any feeling of disrespect for the hon. Member, but a very important impeachment has been preferred by the Leader of the Nationalist Party, and I am endeavouring to deal with it, and it would destroy the efficacy of the debate in which we are all interested if I were to be continually interrupted. Well, the number of persons totally boycotted in Ireland now, as ever, is not large. It is some seven or eight. Yes, Sir, but let the House realise what being totally boycotted means. I have not the figure with me, and therefore, to be on the safe side, I will say that there are not more than perhaps five families who are absolutely unable to get the necessaries of life in their own neighbourhood. But the question asked of me I understood to be—Am I speaking from figures gathered on the same standard? I am.
§ MR. DILLON
That is to say, we may take it that seven or eight people in Ireland are totally boycotted.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
The number of persons totally boycotted in Ireland is not now large, and never was large in the worst time—the number of people who were unable to get food unless it was given them by the police. But the number of persons who have difficulty in getting the necessaries of life, who suffer material loss, and live in an atmosphere of threat—that is the number of persons we have to consider. The number of such cases is fifty-one, involving 301 persons. Those figures are based upon the standard which has uniformly been applied throughout the whole of these statistics. If I am asked how many cases there are in Ireland of persons whose welfare and happiness are in any degree affected by such measures of oppression, I should have to say there was something nearer 318 cases of boycotting, involving, I suppose, some 1,500 to 1,900 persons. But I am not urging that except as an additional argument. I confine myself to the facts collected on a standard with which the House has been familiar for years; and I say not so much 575 the number, though that is grave, but the steady and persistent increase through these months of this evil, so insidious, threatening so surely the welfare of the community, is a reason to justify the action which the Government has taken. What have we done? Under the part of Section 2 of the Crimes Act, which we recently employed, we proceeded against persons who produced these evil results by openly denouncing individuals in Ireland. Well, we have taken powers to employ the remaining provisions of the section. Persons who have been guilty of open denunciation have been punished. Persons who produce the same results, either by isolated action on their part or by secret association, will now, under the remaining provisions of section 2, be punished. The hon. Member asked me for the districts in which the Section is in operation. I do not know whether the hon. Member wishes me to read them now.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
They are the rural districts of Enniskillen (No. 2) in County Cavan; the rural districts of Corofin, Ennistymon, Kilrush, Kildysart, Ennis, and Tulla, and the urban districts of Kilrush and Ennis, in County Clare; the rural districts of Millstreet, Mitchelstown (No. 1), Fermoy, Midleton, and Youghal (No. 1), and the urban districts of Fermoy, Midleton, and Youghal, in County Cork; the rural districts of Manorhamilton and Ballyshannan (No. 3), in County Leitrim; the rural districts of Swinford, Claremorris, and Ballinrobe, in County Mayo: the rural district of Castlerea, in County Roscommon; the urban districts of Sligo and rural districts of Sligo, Dromore West, Tubbercurry and Boyle (No. 2), in County Sligo; the rural districts of Roscrea (No. 1) and Thurles, and the urban districts of Templemore and Thurles, in County Tipperary; the rural districts of Listnore and Youghal (No. 2), in County Waterford, and in the city of Waterford, and the city of Cork. That is information for which the hon. Member is entitled to ask.
Now, I do not disguise from the House that this section is a drastic section. I 576 never attempted to disguise that. Boycotting, intimidation, criminal conspiracy, can be tried under that section without a jury. But I may be asked why we have als employed Sections 3 and 4 of the Crimes Act, and why we have applied them to whole counties and not only to the districts which we consider to be in an acute state of disturbance. Sir, as the hon. and learned Member has himself admitted, those provisions are of a far less drastic character than the provisions of Section 2. They can now be employed in civil suits. But we have applied them to whole counties because they must be applied to whole counties. We could not apply them to parts proclaimed under Section 2 unless we also applied them to whole counties. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford said that it rested entirely with the Attorney General for Ireland to secure a change of venue, and that his discretion was unlimited. That is not so. Under the Act the defendant may appeal against the action of the Attorney General, the Court may vary or discharge that action, and if it does so, it may give costs to the defendant.
I have indicated the reasons which have prompted the action we have taken, but I feel also that the action or the inaction of the Irish Government would be open to misconstruction if I did not explain why we employ these particular sections, and not Sections 6 and 7 of the Crimes Act, which enable the Government to declare any association illegal. In the first place, we feel that there is a very great and marked distinction between the trying of persons believed by us to be guilty of crimes—though, of course, they are held to be innocent until they are convicted—and the proclamation of an association, thus making an enormous; number of persons potential criminals, and then taking proceedings against them. If hon. Members agree with the Government in thinking that there was such a distinction to be drawn, they will also hold that the Government is acting rightly in proceeding gradually by steps rather than having recourse at once to what may be called the last resources of civilisation when the condition of Ireland at present does not justify such action in our opinion. So much is said and written in this country about the United 577 Irish League that I feel bound to state to the House the views of the Government in regard to it. The hon. and learned Member for Waterford made a violent attack upon a section of the Press in this country, and attributed the worst motives to those who write in these newspapers about, Ireland. I do not think he is justified in imputing such motives. I believe these statements about Ireland are published in good faith; that those who publish them are actuated by real concern for persons whom they believe to be oppressed in Ireland. But I also believe—indeed. I may say I know—that the picture painted of Ireland is, in many cases, exaggerated. I join with the hon. and learned Gentleman in condemning the publication of a large cartoon showing masked ruffians perpetrating crime, when, as a matter of fact, no such crime had been committed. That I regard as a grave abuse, almost an infamous abuse, of the Press of this country. But there is a great difference between such things and some of the articles in the Press of this country, articles which I believe to be inspired by genuine anxiety and true compassion for people whom the writers regard as oppressed. All the more on this account is it our duty to examine the facts very accurately, and to state them to the House. Is there any reason why we should be alarmed at the United Irish League as a political instrument? It has organised the Party which the hon. and learned Member for Waterford leads. I quite agree that it makes use of many imposing titles, such, for instance, as "National Directory." But the power of organisation for political purposes is far less in Ireland than in this country. There is a large number of people in this country whom you may hope to convert to your views. But in Ireland there are none. The two sides are in watertight compartments, and vary only with the birth-rate. Taking the United Irish League as a political instrument, it does not add either to the numbers or to the work of those who are politically opposed to us; it adds only to their war-paint.
It is said also that the United Irish League does grave social evil in Ireland. It is not for me to say it does not. I 578 believe it to be a mischievous organisation, but that is no reason why we should exaggerate its influence, or attribute to the League all the crimes which are committed, sometimes by people who belong to the organisation, and sometimes by people who are not members of it. Take the question of the social effect of the League. Again let me give an illustration. In an article which appeared in a number of English newspapers, we were told that, when the Lenten pastoral of the Bishop of Elphin condemning boycotting was read in one of the churches, so strong was the influence of the United Irish League that the whole congregation rose and left the church. I confess that did impress me. I should consider that such an incident indicated a grave social evil. But it is not what happened. What actually took place was that one man, who is now in prison because he was guilty of unlawful assembly, rose from his seat as if he was going; he was called upon by name by the officiating priest to resume his seat, which he did, and nobody left the church.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I take up that challenge. I believed that story myself for a fortnight, and I feel certain that the persons who published it in responsible newspapers believed it to be true, and gave it, as they were entitled and indeed bound to do, as a piece of information. Do not suppose that I wish to minimise the social effects of the United Irish League. What I deprecate is that the evils should be exaggerated, that public feeling in this country should be whipped up to a state of panic and exacerbation, when we ought to keep cool, when it is the duty of the Irish Executive to act impartially, and when we have one of the most solemn offices of Government and of a strong political party to perform.
I take another point. I read in an article which appeared in a most influential newspaper an account of a very grave disturbance in Ireland. Let me trace the origin of that report. A local agitator who wished to frighten 579 the British people wrote a highly-coloured account for a local newspaper of a torch being lit and a demonstration being held in favour of the Boers, which a force of twenty-two policemen could not prevent. That account is reproduced verbatim in an article which goes the round of a dozen or two dozen provincial newspapers in this country, to lead up to the conclusion that we shall have, if not Home Rule, separation, and a general collapse of society, unless the United Irish League is put an end to. I again examined the facts. It was a case of a few boys who poured paraffin on a rag, lit it, and then cheered for the Boers, but the whole thing was put out in two minutes, and the children ran away. I am sorry that children in Ireland should be taught to cheer the Boers. I do not think it is a laughing matter. But if we knew the facts as they were, should we feel so anxious as some undoubtedly do feel because they have read the fact as presented to us?
Again, take the economic influences attributed to the League. I read, also in a very influential newspaper, that in Sligo, Leitrim, and Roscommon some time ago there were seventy-one derelict farms. The latest information, Galway being included, brought the number up to 120. That sounded alarming. One would assume that the number of derelict farms was increasing by leaps and bounds in these counties. As a matter of fact, the number is 124. But in March 1898, when the United Irish League was founded, they numbered 226 in these counties. Many people believe that vast tracts of land in Ireland are going out of cultivation owing to the widespread influence of this disorder which the Government has dealt with so negligently, and in so tentative a manner. That is not true. In 1892 there were 1,687 derelict farms in Ireland, in 1895 1,138, in 1897 1,191, in 1898 1,087, in 1899 1,079, in 1900 1,021, in 1901 928, and this year there are only 807. When I am put on my trial, as I often am, for the neglect of the Irish Government to deal with disorder in Ireland, I think I may claim these facts in support of the course we have taken, and I may beg hon. Members to believe that in view of such 580 facts we were right in advancing step by step, and in addressing ourselves to an evil which has been growing, instead of to an evil which has been diminishing.
The evil that has been growing is the evil of boycotting. I cannot accept any of the pleas put forward by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford in palliation of this offence. We are told that the grazing question is a burning question; that this is a campaign between the landlords and tenants. In the majority of cases the boycotting is not directed against the landlord, who often is not there; nor against the large grazier who sometimes takes seventeen or eighteen farms, and, of course, resides only on one. The direct attack is upon the labourer, upon the herd, who works for him, who perhaps has worked for him for six or seven years, and who knows nothing, who cares nothing for your economic theories, even if they were sound, and who ought not to be asked to enter into these debatable matters. The attack is upon the peasant, and the man or woman who supplies him with the smaller necessaries of life. The attack is brought into the schools, and those who ought to be playmates are taught to meet each other in silence or to jeer at each other. These effects are evil, and hon. Members from Ireland know they are evil. I do not believe that when an agitation is launched the man who launches it realises what its effect will be when it has proceeded for several years. The agitator himself, the professional agitator, knows nothing of and cares less for the doctrines of political economy which, whether they be sound or unsound, are put forward. He hears of a feud, of a family squabble—two brothers each saying that a plot of land belongs to him—or he hears of a village-feud between the town party, with their dilapidated houses, who have had so little notice from this House or from the Irish Members, and the country party alongside, who have secured so much of their attention and of the attention of the Government. The agitator swoops down with the instinct of the blue-bottle for the rotten spot in the joint, and takes one side or the other; it is often a toss up which side he takes. He then proceeds to organise, and the gloom of apprehension falls upon that district.
581 People are condemned to misery and material loss, and all the pleasure in life is eliminated. I do not think these sordid pains and penalties ought to be lightly regarded by any one who considers how bitterly they affect the whole life of the community. It is our duty to put an end to this boycotting by any proper means in our power. I would, Sir, yes, I would that we could avoid the risk of confirming some of those who have been oppressed in their lack of self-reliance. There is a risk in coming to their aid with the use of an exceptional law, but we must take things as they are, and things as they are in some parts of Ireland make it our duty to aid these people, even by these exceptional means. It is our duty to encourage them. It is our duty, if we can, to dispel this brooding oppression which blights all good fellowship, which dulls all initiative, which clouds every prospect to which they might aspire of advancing their conditions by honest toil. We are bound, if we can, to suppress boycotting, and tonight I ask the Mouse to support the Government in the steps they are taking for that purpose. I have not exaggerated the case of the Irish Government at the instance of those who, I believe, moved by genuine feelings of concern and compassion for the distressed, advised the immediate employment of more drastic measures; but I will not minimise it at the instance of those who may be prepared to palliate boycotting on various pleas of economic distress or historic misfortune. We do not need to be taught on this side of the House that the lot of the peasant in the West of Ireland is of ten a hard one; we do not need to be taught that he is descended from men who fared ill in the ruder struggles of earlier ages; but on these very counts, and even apart from our first imperative duty of upholding the law, I say, Sir, for these men there can be no true political development, no sound social regeneration, if now in the 20th century, the weapon of fear is brandished ever before them to cow their spirit and to break their hearts. (8.21.)
§ (8.53.) MR. SHEEHAN (Cork Co., Mid)
As the representative of one of the districts marked out for special distinction by the proclamation which has 582 been issued by the Irish Government, I wish to make a few remarks on the subject. The Chief Secretary in his speech made more a defence of the League than an argument for its suppression. From beginning to end his statements seemed to me rather to show that the League was not guilty of any conduct or action which could he construed into incitement either to crime or intimidation in Ireland. On the other hand, the speech was an apology for the intolerant bigots who always howl for coercion in Ireland, and for the government of that country by force. The Chief Secretary justified the attack of the hon. Member for Waterford on a portion of the English Press for the reports they published giving a gross exaggeration of the situation in Ireland. We who know the condition of affairs in Ireland know how the people suffer under a system of oppressive government which is directed from Dublin Castle, and we know that invariably the reports that are furnished to the English Press are more or less the production of fertile imaginations rather than true statements of the facts as they exist. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the usefulness of an exhibition of force to prevent meetings in Ireland. Well, the experience of Members sitting on these Benches has always been that an exhibition of force, instead of preventing meetings in Ireland has always led to the holding of a dozen or more meetings when only one was originally intended. Under the existing forms of the law, the members of the Irish Parliamentary Party are being treated as common criminals in your Irish gaols. That would have appeared to us to have been a sufficiently drastic form of treatment to mete out to the selected representatives of the Irish people, but it seems that the Cabinet Council do not think so, because they are now applying the exceptional forms of the law which have been so long held in abeyance. The right hon. Gentleman made an attempt to defend the Government in this latest action which has been taken, but his defence appeared to be rather a half-humorous exposition of the way in which the English newspapers misrepresent opponents and treat the Irish people, than a justification of his colleagues. He stated that the reason it has been determined to proclaim the United Irish League is the information supplied from various 583 sources in Ireland. Well, I should like to know the sources of information which led to the partial proclamation of the national movement. Where docs the information come from? I say that it comes from poisoned, prejudiced sources. It comes from Sergeant Sheridans of the Royal Irish Constabulary, or the unscrupulous and contemptible minions of the secret service of the British Government, Trial by jury, which is our only charter of liberty, is to be suspended in Ireland. We are not even to have the forms of constitutional government. These are to be taken from us, although we know that in many instances these forms were only mere shadows as far as the securing of justice and fair play in Ireland was concerned. What are we to have instead? We are to have a whole travesty of the forms of constitutional government. We are to have "justice" meted out to us under a cloak and a mockery. It will be a delusion and a snare in Ireland. It will be a system not respected by the Irish people. It will be a system to which the Irish people will give no allegiance, because they know absolutely that it does not secure to them right and justice. The Chief Secretary spoke of a conspiracy, and said that it should be put down. If conspiracy is to be put down it should be that of the landlords, their agents, and their understrappers, which has resulted in the revival of Coercion and may lead to a recrudescence of crime.
The Chief Secretary may think that he is furthering the interests of peace and order in Ireland, but I am quite confident he will find his mistake before very long. Why are we discontented in Ireland? It is because we are ruled unjustly by the Irish Executive, and that we have an impossible system of land tenure. There can be no security or prosperity in Ireland until landlordism is abolished root and branch. I really think that the reason the United Irish League has been proclaimed is that the Government want an excuse to drop their latest Land Bill. Now I should like to know why Millstreet in my own constituency has been proclaimed. I challenge any hon. Member to produce a single atom of evidence to justify Mill street being proclaimed, or to show that there is a single case of intimidation 584 or of boycotting there. From my knowledge of it, it is one of the most peaceful and crimeless districts in Ireland. It may have given some trouble to the Irish Executive in the past, but that should not be urged as an excuse for its present proclamation. As my hon. friend the Member for Waterford said, the action of the Government in proclaiming the United Irish League will have the effect of extending and not retarding its influence. Does the right hon. Gentleman imagine for a moment that he can suppress the Irish national movement? Experience shows that for every meeting attempted to be suppressed several meetings will be held. I am quite certain that this revival of coercion will end in failure as every other previous revival has ended. You may break up one or two meetings, you may baton our people, and imprison our representatives, but you cannot suppress the Irish nation, and the sooner England realises that she cannot govern Ireland by force, the better it will be for her own prestige and the safety of her Empire.
§ (9.4.) MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)
We have listened to a long and somewhat eloquent speech from the Chief Secretary, but I think the right hon. Gentleman answered the first part of that speech in the second part, and he seemed to me, to justify the action of the League be has suppressed. He told us he did not believe in the exaggerated reports that have appeared in the London Press with regard to Ireland. I hope the English people will give ear to those words which fell from the Chief Secretary, and take with a grain of salt a great deal of the stories told by the English Press. As long as I have been in political life, the English Press has done its best to misrepresent the Irish people, and is never satisfied until it has hounded the Government of the day to resort to coercion. On previous occasions, when coercion was applied in Ireland, the Government were generally able to prove that Ireland was at the time in a turbulent state. We have always maintained that any turbulence which exists in Ireland springs from the poverty of the people, and the neglect of the Government to bring in proper land 585 legislation. But, be that as it may, I do not think that any student of the Irish question will be able to find that any Government ever asked for exceptional powers in Ireland without being able to prove from their own point of view that there was turbulence in Ireland. Unfortunately the Coercion Act which has just been revived differs from every other Act in that it is an Act in perpetuity. That Act, which was the making of the First Lord of the Treasury, can be revived whenever the Executive wishes, without any regard whetever to the state of Ireland, and merely in the interests of a small knot of landlords in that country.
What is the present position of affairs? The Chief Secretary candidly acknowledged that from a criminal point of view Ireland could compare favourably with any part of the United Kingdom. I think everyone will acknowledge that so far as ordinary crime is concerned Ireland can compare favourably with any part of the United Kingdom, and I will go further, and say that with regard to ordinary crime it is easier to get convictions by juries in Ireland than in any other part of the United Kingdom. We are told, however, that that only applies to ordinary crime, and that the national organisation promotes agrarian agitation and agrarian crime. Let us see what justification the Government have for reviving this Coercion Act. I have in my hand a Return issued a few days ago of the number of agrarian outrages committed in Ireland which were reported to the Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary during the quarter ended 31st of December, 1901, being the last available figures. What tale does this Return tell? During these three months in Ireland there had been no case of murder, no case of manslaughter, no case at firing at the person, no case of attempt to murder, no case of administering poison, no case of conspiracy to murder, no case of assaulting the police, no case of aggravated assault, no case of assault endangering life, and even no case of assault on bailiffs and process servers, and certainly if any people deserved a reminder now and again I think it would be these gentlemen. The only column with 586 double figures is the column headed "intimidation," from which it appears that there were twenty-six threatening letters written in Ireland during the three months. There is no column in the English statistics of crime corresponding to that. As a rule a man who writes a threatening letter is not a courageous man; and allow me to say, that if the Irish Members were to prattle about every threatening letter they get at the Post Office in the lobby, the criminal statistics of England would be considerably increased. That column should be omitted altogether. It is quite competent for a man to write to himself half-a-dozen threatening letters, and we who know the action of the police in Ireland are not surprised that many of these letters are attributed to them. English gentlemen who know little or nothing of things in Ireland are surprised that we should make charges of that description against the Executive in Ireland; but, for my part, I can never forget a case that occurred in my childhood, and which is indicative of the whole spirit of Irish administration. In the little church at Carrickbeg, where my father and myself were in the habit of attending mass, a stranger turned up, and was recognised as a very advanced Nationalist. He went under the name of Kelly, and all the advanced Nationalists in my district associated with him, and he swore every one of them into the Fenian organisation. Kelly disappeared suddenly, and the next we saw of him was in the witness-box, prosecuting young men he had duped. He turned out to be the notorious Constable Talbot. He got short shrift himself, and was sent to his long account with very little notice. The Government of that day were aware of his proceedings, and they were more accountable for the infamy of that unfortunate man than he was himself.
Sir, our contention is that this Coercion Act is not aimed at crimes and criminals in the ordinary acceptation of the phrase, but at political opponents. Its main object is to break down the national organisation that was found absolutely necessary to preserve the lives of the people in Ireland. It is all very well to deprecate agitation. If those who speak about the life of an Irish Member knew something of the wear and tear of it, they would not so glibly speak of the 587 luxurious lives we are supposed to lead. But we would be craven cowards if we did not do something to protect the people whom the law had failed to protect. What has been the cause of organisation in Ireland in the past as in the present? What produced the Land Act of 1881? That Act was the result of Land League agitation. What enabled leaseholders in Ireland to enter the Land Courts? Lord Salisbury said that it would be unjust to allow leaseholders to enter the Land Courts; but he and others changed their tune after the Plan of Campaign had brought them to their senses. You yourselves have acknowledged that the dual ownership in land is a failure, and that the only solution is to sell the land to the occupiers and enable them to live and thrive on the holdings their forefathers reclaimed. That is what you are now endeavouring to suppress. I will acknowledge, and no one who knows Ireland can deny it, that the land grabber in Ireland is unpopular and will always remain so. I do not stand here to defend Irish landlords, who, as a class, have never deserved anything of their country. They have identified themselves with the coercion of the people, and for my part I think they can expect nothing from Irishmen. They have always regarded themselves as the English garrison. When Lord Waterford broke up his hunting stud and went away, the cry was, "Do not go, you further reduce the English garrison." But, while saying that of Irish landlords, I must say that they have been encouraged to some extent in their bad work by the people themselves. You crush the Irish industries. In the speech the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary made at Dover he drew attention to the fact that the industries of Ireland had been killed by English legislation, and in corroboration of the attitude he then took he read an eloquent passage from one of the works of the great Irishman Lord Dufferin But this brings me to the point I was endeavouring to make, that Irish landlords are bad as a class, or they could not revel in the sufferings of the people as they do, but if it had not been for the Irish people themselves going behind each other's backs and offering to take farms from which the occupiers had been evicted, the landlords might not 588 have been so bad as they are It is the land grabber who has been the stay of the landlords in Ireland, and consequently land grabbers must be unpopular, and there is no doubt that where a man adopts that line in life he is persecuted. It may be said that nobody in Ireland need fear coercion except, the law breakers, but I believe this Coercion Act was aimed at political opponents and political organisations, and particularly the organisation the people have started.
We have always complained of the Coercion Acts, but in this particular case we have a greater right to complain than any in the past. I was in the House when the First Lord of the Treasury promised the House that an appeal would lie, under these Acts, against the decisions of the removable magistrates. On the strength of that promise the Coercion Acts were largely obtained. How has that worked out? There was no kind of appeal on comparatively short terms of imprisonment, but appeals were taken on long sentences. The First Lord delivered a speech at Birmingham in which he said that these appeals were very inconvenient, and what was the result? That reached the cars of the removable magistrates, who took their cue from what was said by the First Lord. They had been in the habit of giving about two months imprisonment for certain offences, against which there could be an appeal, but after those remarks of the First Lord they made two or three cases out of one and gave a month's imprisonment in each case. Now I wish to know what course the Government intend to take with regard to the future. One would think they had opportunities enough for punishing men for attending these meetings. They can take them before these removable magistrates, who will do exactly whatever the Executive wishes, but the Government are not satisfied with that, they not only imprison men for making speeches but they baton people for listening to them. The action of the Government is inexplicable; they have failed to make out a case for coercion, and I venture to say that alter there has been much suffering in Ireland, after they have imprisoned men for being members of the Irish United League, 589 they will come down here and do what the League is now asking them to do. I believe that although the people are suffering now good will come of this action. When the League was suppressed before, a man in my constituency who was not popular in the neighbourhood asked me if I could get him into the League. I said the League was suppressed and asked him why he wished to get into it, and he said—It never became active until it was suppressed, and this is the time to get in.I end, Sir, as I began, in saying that this Coercion Rill, like every other, is aimed not at crime but at the political opponents of the Executive and the political organisations of the people. The state of Ireland today is a scandal to this country. In no country of the world is there so much poverty and misery.
§ (9.30.) MR. ARCHDALE (Fermanagh, N.)
I am opposed to coercion as much as any hon. Member in this House, but the coercion that I am opposed to is the coercion of irresponsible people who do not allow others to carry on their own business without their consent. I think the action of the Government in putting into force this Act is not coercion at all. Hon. Gentleman opposite talk about coercion in a curious way. The only part of my county in which there was any boycotting was at a farm which I know very well on the borders of Leitrim. For the last six years this farm has been boycotted, but the person who suffers is not the landlord. The people who suffered were the dealers and graziers who put their cattle on the farm to graze. With the exception of one man these unfortunate people were intimidated, with the result that they took their cattle away and the landlord had their money and his land as well. I do not believe it is altogether a religious question, because a Roman Catholic clergyman took the shooting on this farm, and I myself was shooting next to him on the day he was out. I did not hear him fire a shot, because these gentlemen had been before him and driven off the birds, and put their loot into every nest they could find. I think that some of the things they do are not creditable to any man. Take for instance some of the apologies which men had to come 590 before this "Court" to make. [The hon. Gentleman here read some of the apologies in question.] These people then passed resolutions by which all householders of their parish were to join the organisation by a certain date, or were to be put under the forty-foot pole régime. I am sure if I lived in the neighbourhood I should be intimidated and as much afraid as my humbler neighbours. This is the manner by which the League obtains power and importance in Ireland.
The hon. Member for Waterford spoke of the agitation in Ireland being like Trade Unions in England. He is entirely mistaken. There is about as much likeness between the two movements as between a crocodile and a kangaroo. Mr. Arthur O'Connor, now a County Court Judge, speaking a few years ago, said—The land agitation is only a means to an end.The hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Irish Party, speaking at Bradford this year, said—In every movement set on foot for the amelioration of the material condition of their country, the Irish had an ulterior object in view, and that object was to obtain self-government".I do not see much resemblance between an agitation for ob aining self-government and the Trade Union movement in England, and I cannot understand how any Member of this House can be led away by such a statement. I was also astonished to hear the hon. Member say that at the Coronation, when there would be much talk about the "Sons of the Empire," there would be no response from Ireland. I would not like to belittle my country in that way. I believe there will be a greater response from Ireland than from almost any other part of the Empire. The Dublin Fusiliers, the Inniskilling Fusiliers, and the Connaught Rangers have won for themselves imperishable renown in South Africa. These men may be some of the greatest rebels in the world before they enlist, but once they have enlisted there are no stauncher or truer servants of His Majesty than his Irish soldiers. These men will be represented at the Coronation, and will show that "Sons of the Empire" are not altogether wanting in Ireland. I do not believe there is so much bigotry there as some people try to make out. In my own 591 county there is the greatest good fellowship amongst us. There are three hon. Gentlemen from that county sitting on the other side of the House, and they will bear me out in that statement. I think there will not be the result in the County Council elections which some anticipate. The old elections were run entirely on political lines. No Nationalist would vote for a Unionist—unless there was an enormous majority against him, when perhaps he would make the best of a bad bargain and vote for the best Unionist—on the other hand, no Unionist would vote for a Nationalist; they were as bad on the one side as on the other. But I do not think the putting into force of these sections of the Crimes Act will do any harm; on the contrary, they will be of the greatest assistance to the law-abiding subjects of His Majesty.
§ (9.40.) MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone. S.)
I am not a bit astonished at the course taken by the Government. Over and over again (luring the last few months I have stated that we were heading towards a crisis that would produce disaster. But the Government, the responsible persons, having made up their minds that this great change is necessary for the preservation of law and order in Ireland, 1, for one, will not vote against them having that power. Whilst I say that, however, I must admit, after having sat in this House for seventeen years and heard many discussions upon Crimes Acts and matters of this kind, that I have never known such a step to be taken with apparently so little cause. But the responsibility is on the Government, and I will be no party to shifting that responsibility.
Let me take the case as it was put by the Chief Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman frankly admitted that so far as ordinary crime was concerned, the position of Ireland stood as when he spoke last—ordinary crime was practically a nullity in the country. He admitted also that agrarian crime was at a lower point than it had been at almost any time during the last century; that there was no repudiation of contracts on a large scale; that there was a decrease of open denunciation from platforms, and also a decrease of what I call newspaper incitement. That is a pretty clean bill of health for any country. He then 592 went on to say there had been a steady increase of boycotting. When the Crimes Bill of 1887 was introduced into this House the number of persons boycotted, wholly or partially, ran into not hundreds, but thousands. I have not the exact figures, but at one time I have a distinct recollection that the number was over 3,000. I know personally that some of the boycotting at that time was absolutely savage in character. I have lived with boycotted people in the south of Ireland; I have gone with relief to them, and I say now as I said a few nights ago when the Chief Secretary was absent through illness, that there is hardly anything I would not consent to to stop that criminal and remorseless treatment of people with whom you disagreed. Hut what is the case put by the Chief Secretary tonight? He states that in March last there were not 3,000 persons boycotted as in 1887, but 301, and of these only five or seven were wholly boycotted. That is a very-slender platform on which to erect so large a building. This movement on the part of the Government is a movement of pure coercion. The right hon. Gentleman talks about English newspapers publishing exaggerated articles about Ireland, and he very properly condemns them. But from where do these English newspapers get their information? The main factor in this huge erection of false information has been the Daily Express in Dublin, owned, by Lord Ardilaun, one of the landlords who have been pressing this very tiling on the attention of the Government. Everybody who knows anything about Irish public life knows that there has been an agitation on foot to bring this about—an agitation on the part of the extreme section of Irish landlords, and nobody else. I represent a purely agricultural constituency, and what are the facts there? The County Council elections are coming on; the nominations in my Division are over. I do not believe there will be a single landlord returned at those elections in the whole of South Tyrone. In fact, two of those who are retiring are not standing again, and their places will be taken by tenant farmers. There has not been a single meeting held in my division at which a 593 resolution has been passed and forwarded to me calling upon me to support anything of this kind.
The Chief Secretary rather implied that this was not a matter between landlord and tenant. That is always the case in regard to boycotting But let me ask for information; I have not the local knowledge to be certain on this point. There is a part of Ulster proclaimed—County Cavan. Does that comprise the district of Dowra, where the Morley estate is situated? [An IRISH MEMBER: Yes.] I thought it did but I was not certain. What does this mean? This is the only district proclaimed in Ulster, and what are the facts? Lord Morley—a most estimable and able gentleman, whom I have known for many years, and whom I believe to be incapable of doing anything harsh or wrong—was asked by his tenants to sell his estate. The negotiations went on, as these negotiations generally do, for a long lime, and the tenants woke up one morning to find that the estate had been sold not to them, but to a syndicate of land agents. The tenants had offered sixteen or seventeen years purchase of the rents under the Land Purchase Act, but the estate was sold to this syndicate for nine years purchase. [An IRISH MEMBER: Eight and a half years.] I will not go into fractions. The syndicate carried with it all the arrears; the neighbourhood is a very poor one, and the tenants are largely in arrear. Those arrears, spreading over six or seven years, are now being enforced, and there is war on that estate. This proclamation, in that instance, is not intended to deal with a herd or anybody who is boycotted; it is intended to intervene on behalf of this syndicate, to take by the throat tenants who were willing to give seventeen years purchase for an estate sold for nine. One story is good until another is told, and I am bound to say that the inclusion of that property in this proclamation will be looked upon by the tenant-farmer class in Ulster, whom I know as well as any man in this House, as an act of war against land purchase. It is an act of war against land purchase.
I will not go in to the case of the Associated Estates. Those districts are proclaimed, and this is nothing less nor more than a 594 direct intervention between the landlords of these estates and the tenants. These tenants, be it remembered, are not contending under a "No Rent" manifesto. The case differs from that of 1887, because the "No Rent" campaign was then going on. This is a case in which an effort is being made to force land purchase on landlords under a given set of circumstances. Though I think it a mistaken effort, yet I agree with the Attorney General for Ireland that it is a natural one. This proclamation is undoubtedly an intervention between the landlords and the tenants who are willing to buy under the Purchase Acts, just as their neighbours have been permitted, not by the landlords, but by the Government, to do. The Government are directly responsible for all the trouble that has taken place on the Associated Estates. They bought the Dillon Estate; they, and not Lord Dillon, set up the conditions there existing; the people round about wish and are contending for the same terms, and now this proclamation is brought to the aid of the landlords against the would-be purchasers. As regards boycotting, I wish to ask—How does the case stand? The right hon. Gentleman says that he has been able to deal with direct incitement and intimidation from platforms. He says that he has prosecuted in fifty-four cases and he has succeeded in every single case. Therefore he does not require these powers for the intimidation and incitement to boycotting that comes from public platforms. He has already in his hand a weapon quite sufficient for that purpose. The Chief Secretary holds, and I daresay rightly, that there are secret conspiracies and secret meetings where this boycotting is arranged, and where people are incited to boycott persons. Everybody knows that the mere act of boycotting in itself is not an offence, and cannot be made so. To incite to boycotting and to join a conspiracy to boycott are offences, but they entirely depend upon evidence. This is a matter of evidence, and the whole case for this proclamation depends upon whether you can get at the evidence behind the scenes which the Chief Secretary admits to be secret. That is his position, and I venture to say that, looking at the debates in this House over the past seventeen 595 years, I have never seen such large powers asked for upon such slender grounds.
I have already referred to the case of 1887, when there were more than 3,000 cases of boycotting. In that year the very best results followed the adoption of the Coercion Act. But what came with it? There was something else than the Crimes Act during that session, for there was a Land Act. What was the nature of it? It enfranchised some 33,000 leaseholders and opened the door of the Laud Court to these men. It made the tremendous admission that the rents fixed by the Land Commission up to that date, from 1881 to 1887, had been fixed upon a false basis, and it automatically reduced these rents for three years. It plugged up a number of holes which had been driven into the Land Act. That Act went along with the Crimes Act. I admit that the Crimes Act was a great measure, and I admit the good it did and the tyranny it put down. All I can say is that if the measure now proposed had behind it anything like the amount of crime and disorder which there was behind the Act of 1887, there would have been no cause for questioning the adoption of this Act at the present time. But here we have, on the basis of fifty-one cases of boycotting, a proclamation levelled not against boycotting—because there is none in County Cavan—but against intimidation and incitement to boycotting. This proposal is in the main an intervention between the landlords and the tenants in certain cases.
I have received no mandate from South Tyrone to support coercion, although this agitation has been going on for the last month or two. One landlord in Omagh said that there could be no Land Act passed, nor any legislation brought forward that could do a bit of good, until the United Irish League was suppressed. But the agricultural section of my constituency has never asked me to support this proposal, and the responsibility for the measure lies with the Government. I believe there is no real basis for the action of the Government, and I believe there is danger in it. Just as you shut up an organisation that stands on the public platform, you let loose other agencies you cannot control. I am not very sure that the right hon. Gentleman 596 will not be asked to suppress the Farmers' Union of Ulster, but I can assure him that would be a tough job. I know and represent the opinions of tens of thousands of Ulster farmers, members of an organisation ready and willing to support the Government in the administration of law and the preservation of order, but not willing that a weapon should be put into the hands of landlords to interfere with a settlement by purchase. If people were half as willing to reconcile differences in Ireland as they are to accentuate them, much of the difficulty would be removed. My position is more difficult in the House than it is among the Protestant farmers of Ulster but I confess to a sickening feeling as these cases are made as years go on.
Some of my hon. friends protested because I cheered the hon. and learned Member for Waterford when he gave a picture of what was coming. Do my hon. friends deny history? There has never been a Land Bill in modern times—except, perhaps, that of 1890 which came without violent agitation. I cheered that historic fact, which nobody with the slightest knowledge of Irish history can deny. I represent tens of thousands of men upon this question, not constitutionally as their Member, but I know their opinions, and I represent them here, and I can tell the right hon. Gentleman they are getting tired of this oscillation between coercion and conciliation. Surely it is possible for this great Empire, with its enormous power and influence, to take this Irish question resolutely in hand and make an end of it It is a purely agrarian question, it is far more economic than political. How long are we to wait? How many Coercion Bills have there been?
§ * MR. T. W. RUSSELL
How many I have supported from a stern sense of duty, I do not know; but I beg, I entreat hon. Members on this side of the House not to turn away from other remedies altogether. If Coercion Bills could cure this Irish wrong, it would have been 597 cured long ago. To those who declare the Irish people irreconcilable. I reply in John Bright's words—I have a belief in justice that cannot be shaken.So have I. I beg hon. Gentlemen here to study this Irish question, even during the nineteenth century, and they will find Irish Members over and over again have been constantly bringing forward Irish grievances. They have brought forward Irish Land Bills and other measures of the most moderate character, and they have been thrown out. We have suited the Irish case over and over again, and little was done until the Irish people commenced an agitation, and then the English Parliament rushed to do in a hurry what they ought to have done at their leisure. In saying this, I am not an enemy of the Union. I believe in the Union as thoroughly as any man on this side of the House, and I think I have done more than most hon. Members to maintain it. When some hon. Members dared not put this question forward on the platform, I was pleading for it; and I plead for it as strongly today as ever I did in my life. I do feel, however, that this House ought to face this agrarian problem in solemn earnest. I ask the House to look the question in the face, to see how little it would Cost to settle it, and by settling it thus rid the country of half the trouble that is now involved in the government of Ireland. I am speaking as a Unionist and as the representative of an Ulster constituency whom I am not afraid to face. They have heard from me those words long ago, and they agree with me; and I beg and entreat—not the Government, because my words will have no weight with them, but the House of Commons, this great assembly which is master of the Government and everything else; I entreat this House of Commons not to allow this question to simmer on until you get into another land war and land agitation and until you are compelled to do in haste what you might well do, and do much better, at leisure.
§ (10.10.) MR. DILLON
Anyone who has followed with closeness and attention the history of the last six months in Ireland knows that the policy adopted by the Government yesterday in Ireland 598 is not the policy of the Irish Government, but the policy of Lord Londonderry, Lord Ardilaun, and the gang who, with the aid of The Times, have driven the Irish Government into a course which is against their own judgment. Ireland is now reduced to this position—that, although one would suppose it was bad enough to be governed for 100 years by strangers who came to our country ignorant of our history and the peculiarities of our social condition, we have reached on this occasion a lower depth still because we are now governed not by the responsible and nominal governors of Ireland, but by a clique who sit behind that Government, which has driven and forced them into a policy of coercion against their own judgment and against their own will. Anyone who listened to the Chief Secretary tonight could easily have seen by the tone of his speech and its character that he was associating himself with a policy simply from a sense of duty to his colleagues in the Cabinet, and it was evident that his heart was not in the defence of his ease. I have had a longer experience than the hon. Member for South Tyrone of coercion in this House, and I have never heard a Chief Secretary make such a feeble, half-hearted, faint, and unreal defence of a Coercion Act as we have listened to this evening. I do not know whether any hon. Members who are present have taken the trouble to read the proclamation which appeared in the Dublin Gazette last night. These proclamations, applying provisions of the Coercion Act, which the Chief Secretary concedes constitutes a very serious departure of policy, are signed by whom? They are signed by Lord Ashbourne, Lord Powerscourt, Lord Clonbrock, and by Mr. Smith-Barry. I say that if any sense of decency remained in the Government of Ireland, the names of Lord Clonbrock and Mr. Smith-Barry should not be signed to a proclamation suspending the Constitution.
§ MR. DILLON
It would not be a bit more indecent These proclamations are signed by the Lord Chancellor and three of the great Irish landlords, all of whom have been associated with this whole campaign of blackening the 599 character of their own people in the eyes of the people of this country by every conceivable system of misrepresentation and falsehood, and have been associated throughout with the policy of the extreme landlords and coercion party in Ireland. We know perfectly well whose policy this is. It is the policy, not of the Government, nor even of the whole Unionist minority in Ireland—it is the policy supported only by a small minority of the Unionist minority itself. They are the lineal descendants of that Orange gang who have been equally the curse of Ireland and of your Government. I regret that the hon. Member for South Belfast, for whom we have a sort of affection, was not allowed to quote from a speech—a speech which if I delivered in Ireland I would be put in prison for, for we are blamed for being disloyal, and told on high authority someone of the eminence of Lord Londonderry or Lord Ardilaun—that we can never get home government by a statesman, who formerly advocated it when we were equally disloyal, until we are loyal. Well, for fear there might be any mistake about it, I take the opportunity of admitting in this House that I am intensely disloyal; and the Chief Secretary himself knows that in making that admission I am giving the best and most adequate expression I could give to the sentiments of more than three-fourths of the Irish nation. Why should we be loyal? I read the other day the speech of a great lawyer, one of the extreme gang responsible for this policy, in which he said—Loyalty is a compact between the subject and the Crown, and loyalty ceases to bind the moment your property and your liberty is not protected by the Government.In other words, they will cease to be loyal as soon as they are not supported by the full forces of the Government in levying their rack-rents from the starving people of Ireland, people over whose homes, by the tens of thousands, the ploughshare of ruin has been driven by your Government and your soldiers. Loyalty to a Government whom we know only in the shape of your armed forces, protecting bailiffs, and the agents of landlords, who have laid waste our country and levelled more homes than ever have been levelled by invading armies on the Continent of Europe! 600 Loyalty from a nation which has been reduced by the devastating policy of your Government from 8,500,000 to 4,250,000! I heard an hon. Member talk of the Inniskilling Fusiliers. I am proud to see Irish men behave bravely, even when fighting in a bad cause. The Dublin Fusiliers left Dublin a thousand strong. They came back the other day, but only 300 of them. Although I think the cause was bad, I am proud of them. Last week I received a letter, which any hon. Member can see, from a colour-sergeant in an English regiment in South Africa. He was a Mayo man, from my constituency, and he said in effect, "You Irish Members are very often hard upon Irish soldiers. I come from a ten-acre farm. My father and I were in Yorkshire working to try to earn the arrears of rent, and while there the farm was evicted and grabbed." And then be went on to say that he was obliged to enlist; but he wished to know if I could get anything done with the grabber, so that he might come back to the old place. In hundreds of cases there are men driven out by the tyranny of landlords who are spilling their blood fighting your battles.
Now I come to the case made out for this dreadful departure. I know the course this thing will take. I warned the Irish Secretary, who tried to get us to believe that it was a small matter which would blow over, that coercion in Ireland never blows over. You can never tell where it will end, once you start. I read long ago the life of the late Mr. W. E. Forster. I was in prison—it was smuggled in to me, and I kept it concealed under the mattress, hiding it when any prison officials came in, for I was not allowed to read anything. Mr. Forster went to Ireland full of sympathy and good feeling for the Irish people, and without an atom of sympathy with the landlord class—he went, as he believed, to scatter blessings over the Irish people; and when he was obliged to bring in a Coercion Act, he did not treat it in the way we heard it treated tonight, although he had an extensive record of crime—murders, and other crimes of violence—and undoubtedly a condition of things very serious. Again, in 1887, although the case was weaker than in 601 Mr. Forster's time, the then Chief Secretary had a long catalogue of really serious cases of boycotting before him, and a most powerful combination in all parts of the country to deal with. In the speech then of the present First Lord of the Treasury introducing coercion, he said his justification for it was that there was a steady and alarming increase of boycotting, and refusing to pay rent. I do not say that the grounds for the coercion of 1887 were sufficient, but these were infinitely stronger than any grounds attempted to be put forward for the present action of the Government. At the very outset of the Chief Secretary's speech, he made a statement which. I think, I am bound to describe as most astonishing. He said that if there was one person boycotted in Ireland, the Government would be bound to protect that person by all the means at their disposal. But are we to take it that the boycotting of one person would be ground enough for the suspension of the Constitution in Ireland?
§ MR. WYNDHAM
When I made the statement to which the hon. Member refers, I was asking the House to revert to what I said in June last. I then stated that if one person was boycotted it would be the duty of the Government to protect that person.
§ MR. DILLON
There must be some relation between the extent of the evil and the extent of the remedy, and to tell me that boycotting is to be held as justifying the destruction of liberty is nonsense. This policy involves dark and unfathomable dangers in the future. In the worst old days all English Ministers felt themselves bound to make out a great case before they applied coercion and took away the vital right of trial by jury, Even in the days of the Duke of Wellington, Lord Peel, and Lord Russell, before any Reform Bill was passed, none of these great statesmen would have dreamt of proposing coercion for Ireland on such a miserable case as has been made to-night. I ask what has taken place in Ireland to justify this sudden and extraordinary change of policy on the part of the Chief Secretary? We 602 were referred in his speech to four facts only—the action of the Associated. Estates, an increase in the number of meetings to denounce individuals, matter published in newspapers intended to bring terror into men's minds, and a small growth in boycotting. I will deal with these one by one. The action of the Associated Estates—we have it on the words of Judge O'Connor Morris—was the direct and natural outcome of the action of the Government itself. It is not a strike against rents nor an attempt to defraud any man of his just rights, It was a natural offer on the part of the people to buy their farms at the same-price as fixed by the Government after a bargain with Lord Dillon. That is not a very grievous crime. The agitation and discontent were gravely increased by the fact that there is on the De Freyne estate an agent—Mr. Flanagan—who has treated the people very harshly and unjustly. Only yesterday, at French-park, a number of actions taken against the tenants by this agent were dismissed by the mag strate owing to their harshness and injustice. Doubtless those disturbances had been brought about by the action of the Government, and by the harsh and cruel action of the agent on the De Freyne estate. The whole of this agitation has been characterised by the greatest peacefulness. No crime and no intimidation is alleged, and so far as the Associated Estates are concerned, there is not a shadow of ground for coercion.
Let me come now to the increase in the number of meetings. Can there be anything more vague alleged as a ground for coercion than the holding of meetings to denounce individuals? Is it a crime to denounce individuals? Is that unknown in this country? If the Chief Secretary was at Blenheim last year, he would have heard some pretty lively denunciations of individuals. I don't think I ever read a meeting which the Colonial Secretary attended at which he did not denounce some individual, and sometimes this is emphasised by the danger of paving-stones and brickbats and bludgeons. I have denounced the Chief Secretary at several meetings. Is that a crime? I admit that if your language is an incitement to violence 603 against an individual, it is a crime, and you should be properly tried for it. But the Chief Secretary did not say that at these meetings individuals were denounced with a view to violence being used towards them. We have his word that no violence exists in Ireland. As to the matter put in newspapers for the purpose of bringing fear into men's minds, that is a most extraordinary charge to make, in view of what has been said in English newspapers. When three-fourths of the Press of England has been engaged in inciting mobs to hunt and injure those whom they are pleased to call pro-Boers, it appears to me this is rather a cool proposition on the part of the right hon. Gentleman. The law should be the same for newspapers in Ireland as it is for Great Britain, and Irish newspapers charged with intimidating individuals ought to get the same fair play as English newspapers.
Then I come to the last ground on which the right hon. Gentleman bases his change of policy—the increase in boycotting. Anything more flimsy and preposterous than the case made by the Chief Secretary on this point I have never listened to. I noticed that the right hon. Gentleman was reluctant to make any distinction between the cases of totally and partially boycotted persons, and yet it would be impossible to exaggerate the importance of the distinction. The right hon. Gentleman says there are fifty-one eases altogether of boycotting, including all classes of persons, and on that basis alone he justifies this policy of coercion. When I asked him how many were totally boycotted, and how many partially, he said there were between five and seven totally, and the remainder partially boycotted. I admit that total boycotting is a serious thing, but let the House recall the extent to which it exists in this country on the occasion, for instance, of great strikes. Let hon. Members recall the incidents of the coal strike or the great dock strike in London. Workmen were imported, and elaborate police protection had to be organised, and yet there was no question of coercion, and as long as the strikers abstained from physical violence, there was no question 604 of putting the law in force against them. Yet Ireland is to lose whatever liberties she possesses under the Constitution because there are four or five cases of complete boycotting in the country.
As regards partial boycotting, are hon. Members familiar with its meaning? Partial boycotting is a mere question of opinion. I know some Members of this House who are partially boycotted and who would be returned by the police in Ireland as partially boycotted. When I used to do electioneering work in this country in the days of the Home Rule movement in 1885 and 1886, I never went into a constituency without being met with bitter complaints from the Radical voters of the systematic boycotting to which they were subjected. What is partial boycotting? If a man drives his cattle into the fair, and they are not sold, he would be partially boycotted. An Irish policeman would return a man as partially boycotted if his neighbours refused to speak to him at a fair, or if he noticed anything indicating that the man was in any way unpopular.
§ MR. WYNDHAM
I was very careful to draw a distinction between those eases and others. If I had taken account of such cases as the hon. Member now refers to, the figures I gave would have been much larger, involving between 1,500 and 1,900 persons.
§ MR. DILLON
The right hon. Gentleman has given no definition whatever of what he means by partial boycotting. My case remains unaffected. Partial boycotting is in Ireland merely what the police choose to describe as such. What, after all, do fifty-one cases signify, when there; is not a single case alleged in which the supposed boycotting is accompanied with violence? Are these, I ask, sufficient grounds for robbing our country of its rights, and for embarking upon a fresh war against the people of Ireland? I was sorry to hear the Chief Secretary, who in some of his speeches showed considerable feeling for the Irish people, and some desire to get into touch with their real wants, describing this agitation as artificial, and gotten up by professional agitators, whom he likened 605 to blue-bottle flies settling down on corruption, and going round the country seeking where they might ply their mischievous trade. The right hon. Gentleman looks upon us, who are the elected representatives of the people of Ireland, who have nothing to offer the people to induce them to elect us who are debarred from those means of influence familiar to other Members of the House—he looks upon us simply as self-seeking men, animated by the vilest conceivable motives, and going about our country with the one object of finding out some sordid local quarrel on which to fasten in order to fan the embers of disturbance into a flame.
§ MR. DILLON
I tell the right hon. Gentleman that if that is all he has learned of Ireland, his administration of it will not be very successful. We may be very objectionable to some people in this House, but they must know they cannot dislodge us from our constituencies. Whether you practise coercion in Ireland, or whether you try to "kill Home Rule with, kindness," you cannot dislodge us from our constituencies. We remain here, and we intend to remain here until you restore to Ireland the right of managing her own affairs. If the Chief Secretary really holds the view he expressed in his offensive observation tonight, say he is very poorly qualified to govern the Irish people, and he will find he has formed a very poor opinion of the Irish people in thinking that he can serve his own position by thus grossly insulting their representatives in this House.
§ (10.54). MR. BRYCE (Aberdeen, S.)
As there was an arrangement made early in the evening that a little time should be given in which to deal with one or two of the non-controversial Budget Resolutions, I shall be very brief in the remarks I shall make tonight, but this question is of too much gravity to pass unnoticed by English and Scotch Members. There 606 is indeed, a dry monotony about these Irish coercion debates. To those of us whose recollection goes back twenty years, we seem to be hearing the melancholy echoes of past controversies, with the same promises in favour of coercion, and the same warnings against it. By this debate I am reminded of what was said by the First Lord of the Treasury when he brought forward his first Coercion Act of 1887. But the case he made out then was very different to the case made out now. This is the eighty-seventh Coercion Act which has been passed since the Union, and on every previous occasion. I venture to say, the ease made out by the Government for demanding exceptional legislation was entirely unlike the case we have had tonight. What sort of a case have we had tonight? The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary in defending the exceptional action which has been taken by the Government appeared to be discharging what to him personally was a very unpleasant task in putting into force coercive legislation, because the right hon. Gentleman is attached to freedom. I do not suggest that his task was the more unwelcome because he had not a good ease. Let hon. Members who were here in 1880 recollect what case there was then. Let them think of the case in 1881; think of the case in 1882, after the Phoenix Park murders; think of the case in 1887, when the right hon. Gentleman the First Lord of the Treasury cited to us charge after charge from the assizes in Ireland, and piled up case after case, tending to show that over two-thirds of Ireland there was a conspiracy not to pay rent. We opposed that Coercion Bill then, as we should oppose it now; but everybody who remembers the magnitude and gravity of the case then must compare it with the flimsiness and unsubstantiality of the case presented tonight.
What is the case made tonight? That boycotting has risen from thirty-seven cases in January to fifty-one cases in March, and even those cases are only what is called partial boycott. What is the meaning of "partial boycott"? It means that the police could establish a case perhaps of intimidation. We should 607 make quite sure of what these cases are before we resort to exceptional legislation. We have reason to believe that in many of these cases the interference with the freedom and liberty of the subject may be very small indeed. There were only five cases of complete boycott—five eases out of 5,000,000 people. What did the right hon. Gentleman say as to the condition of Ireland? He said Ireland was admitted to be exceptionally free from crime. If we look at the last ten years, I think we should find in the long and melancholy annals of Irish crime that there has hardly been a period so free from serious offences; even the agrarian offences have been slight. Yet what has been the history of those ten years? We had the Coercion Act enacted in 1887, when, no doubt, there was a great deal of crime, but not of the gravest order, not nearly so grave as the crime of 1881 and 1882. From 1887 to 1892 the Act was in force, although, if my recollection is right, one or two of its provisions were dropped before the change of Government in 1892. In 1892 there was a change of Government, and the right hon. Member for Montrose became Chief Secretary. He put into force no clauses of the Act, although he was pressed week after week by the landlord party to put the Act into force. My right hon. friend preferred the ordinary law, and the proclamations issued by the previous Government were revoked. He went on, during the three years that that Government was in existence, without resort to any exceptional legislation, and the condition of Ireland became better and better, crime steadily diminished, the minds of the people became tranquilised, and the idea grew in Ireland that a change had come about, and that idea brought about a change in the attitude of the people towards the law and towards the British Government. Then a change of Government took place in 1895, and the present President of the Board of Trade came into office as Chief Secretary for Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman did not put into force these exceptional powers. Speaking from memory, I am not quite certain whether any of these exceptional powers were used. [Mr. GERALD BALFOUR: No.] The right hon. Gentleman went on during 608 his five years of administration without those exceptional powers. There was no increase of crime; on the contrary, the condition of the country, speaking broadly, although there were disturbed areas here and there, remained peaceful and tranquil, and the good results of 1892 were not lost. The landlord party then, as now, were continually trying to induce the right hon. Gentleman to put the Crimes Act into force. There were debates in this House, and the customary articles in English newspapers; there were exaggerated statements like those which the Chief Secretary tonight, with honest indignation, has condemned articles intended to inflame and exasperate England against Ireland. But the right hon. Gentleman, with the courage and wisdom for which, I hope, we shall always honour him refused to give way to that pressure; he continued to administer Ireland under the ordinary law; he set himself to the better policy of looking into the economic condition of the country, endeavouring to benefit her, and to turn the minds of her people out of the paths of political agitation into the paths of industry. He was strengthened in that work by a former Member of this House, whom this very ascendancy Party will not allow to return, and to whom Ireland owes a deep and lasting debt of gratitude—I mean Mr. Horace Plunkett.
§ MR. BRYCE
He does not belong to the Nationalist Party. Does the light hon. Gentleman wish that he should join the Nationalist Party? Is the right hon. Gentleman so bad an Irishman that he does not admit that a man may be anxious for the economic welfare of Ireland without, becoming a Nationalist? Does he not think that such a course of conduct, consistently and honestly pursued, is the very course of conduct which ought to receive the cordial recognition of the 609 Unionist Party in Ireland? The right hon. Gentleman the present President of the Board of Trade went out of office in 1900, and was succeeded by the present Chief Secretary. The right hon. Gentleman opposite would, I am sure, like to walk in the paths of his predecessor. There were evident signs in the way in which he presented this exceptionally and unprecedentedly weak case tonight that he was not acting on his own better judgment, but that the pressure of which we have seen and heard so much during the last few months, and the origin of which we all know, had at last proved too strong for him.
There was another point in the presentation of his case which struck me. The right hon. Gentleman did not show how these exceptional powers will enable him to put down boycotting. I think we all agree with him about the injury boycotting does; there is no difference of opinion on that point. It is one of the most difficult offences to deal with. Some Members will doubtless remember the historic speech delivered by the present Prime Minister in 1885, in which he pointed out with much force that of all offences boycotting was the most impalpable to deal with, and the one in which it was hardest to single out a particular person for indictment. Those difficulties have not disappeared; they are the same now as in 1885; and the right hon. Gentleman, in proposing to put into force these provisions, ought to have shown, as some compensation for the unquestionable evils which recourse to the Act will bring about, that there was some prospect of boycotting being put down.
There was also another admission from his statement. The right hon. Gentleman is going to use Sections 3 and 4. Section 3 compels the High Court to grant a special jury, and Section 4 is the section under which the venue may be changed. But the House knows perfectly well that boycotting is not an offence which is proceeded against by way either of special jury or of changing the venue. It is proceeded against in a summary way. Why, then, does the right hon. Gentleman propose to put these sections into force? He offered no explanation. The only explanation winch occurs to me is that, as these two sections are intended to deal with graver crimes, to 610 enable convictions to be better secured where the crime is one of darker dye, the right hon. Gentleman contemplates a recrudescence of more serious crime, that he thinks the result of the campaign he is entering upon against boycotting under Section 2 will be to induce graver crimes than have, happily, lately existed in Ireland. ["No!"] I hope that is not his belief; but, if not, why is it necessary to put into force these two sections, which confessedly are useless as regards boycotting?
I have no wish to prolong this debate. I will not remind the House that there is, as we think, a better way of dealing with Irish discontent, that the true way-is to satisfy the feeling in Ireland, to bring about tranquility and contentment, to produce social order, and to surround the law there with the same respect and confidence which happily obtains in this country. The way to do that is not by coercion, but by extension of local self-government. That topic is one with which the House is perfectly familiar; I will, therefore, say only one word in parting with it. Would it not have been far better, even if you are not prepared to enter upon the path of extending—slowly and by degrees, if you like—the powers of local self-government, not to interfere with the experiment in self-government which you made by the Act of four years ago, but to bear for a little longer the confessedly slight evils now existing, to trust a little more to patience and the operation of remedial measures to cure the ills of Ireland, to endeavour to conciliate Irish tenants by extending, even gradually, the system of land purchase, than to launch once more into this vicious circle of coercion—a course which will produce more agitation, more crime, and more trouble and difficulty for Ireland? These are melancholy days in the history of this House when we are called upon either to pass Coercion Acts or to sanction their re-enforcement. These are melancholy days, because they have no hope for the future; they are but repeating the course which England has unhappily followed for so many years; and I cannot but fear that in taking the course the Government are adopting today they 611 are laying the foundation of a host of new troubles for Ireland and of new difficulties for England.
§ (11.17.) MR. MACARTNEY
As I have on one or two occasions called attention to the condition of Ireland. I wish to say a few words on this occasion, not for the purpose of reviving any controversies that I have had with the Irish Government, or of dwelling on the fact that the action they have now taken to a large extent justifies the arguments I have brought before the House, but for the purpose of repudiating the insinuation that those who were in favour of seeing the full protection of British law given to Irish subjects took up that position on behalf of one special class of the Irish population. I have never based my application for a more stringent application of the law upon the landlords question. So far as I know, the situation is not complicated by the landlords question in any part of Ireland except on one particular estate, but I have never used the De Freyne question as an argument in favour of the course I have urged upon the Government. I have always spoken on behalf of those who are not landlords—those who occupy their own farms, or are engaged, either as labourers, artisans, or shopkeepers, in the West and South of Ireland, the great majority of whom do not belong to my religion, or profess my political faith. These are the men who have suffered from the condition which has obtained for so many months in those portions of Ireland. The hon. Member for East Mayo said they were deservedly boycotted.
§ Mr. MACARTNEY
I thought it was the hon. Member. At any rate, one of his colleagues said that these men who were suffering from the illegal intimidation produced generally by the United Irish League were deservedly boycotted. Why are they deservedly boycotted? Because they have attempted to stand out for the privileges and liberty which 612 under the constitution they are entitled to exercise. On behalf of this class of the population, who, in my opinion, are as worthy of the sympathy of this House and the consideration of the Government as any other class, I desire to express my satisfaction that the Irish Executive have at last awakened to their responsibilities, and are now prepared, I hope, to give the people the additional protection which will secure to them the liberty of action of which they have been deprived for so many months. We have heard tonight many dismal prophecies of what may take place if the Government persist in this course. Many of us heard those prophecies fifteen years ago, and we can afford to disregard them. We know that whenever the Irish Government have made up their minds to put the law into force and to ensure that justice should be done, there has been a gradual but steady diminution of crime, the condition of Ireland has improved, and the material resources of the country have been increased.
§ (11.22.) LORD HUGH CECIL (Greenwich)
I have great diffidence in intervening in this discussion, and I do so only because the subject-matter appears to be one of great gravity, and also one not of great complexity, but of such simplicity that those who claim no special acquaintance with Irish affairs may yet form, and without presumption express, an opinion on the matter. We have had matters introduced into this discussion, no doubt cursorily, but which nevertheless seem to me to be irrevelant to the main subject. For example, we have had a very able and eloquent criticism of the minority in Ireland from the hon. and learned Member for Waterford. I have no admiration for the minority—for what is called the "Ascendancy" Party in Ireland. I think they are often hysterical, singularly incapable of helping themselves, and singularly unreasonable in the criticisms they make against the Government. But that really is not the point. It does not matter whether the minority in Ireland are reasonable or unreasonable. That is no justification for breaking the law, and it is no reason why 613 the Government should not enforce the law. This really has no hearing whatever upon the point, which is, whether people, under the existing circumstances of the case, should be allowed to commit criminal acts or not. In the present controversy, with regard to Home Rule, it is, at any rate, certain that a Home Rule Government would not enforce the law, and, therefore, the return of such a Government would mean the ascendancy of criminality. We approach, therefore, what is really a simple matter. I heard with amazement the doctrine of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, that experience goes to show that whenever coercion, as he calls it, was adopted, and whenever a certain number of prominent agitators are shut up in prison, then crime begins to be prevalent, and the forces of constitutional authority are nullified. I believe the contrary to be the case. The statistics, I think, prove quite overwhelmingly that whenever agitation has been allowed a free hand, crime has tended to grow, and that, whenever what the hon. and learned Member calls coercion has been adopted, crime has promptly and most remarkably diminished. I will quote from the table of statistics which was presented to the Special Commission. [Nationalist cries of "Oh, oh!"] Hon. Members opposite seem to have a certain criterion of evidence. Everything that tells against them is false, and everything that tells in their favour is true. This table of statistics, which I am about to quote, was judicially proved—[An HON. MEMBER: So was Pigott's letter.]—and, therefore, is deserving of attention. This table shows that the number of crimes in 1888 were only 301, in 1879 they were 863, in 1880, 2,587, and in 1881, when the Land League was rising in power, there were 4,439 crimes. The result was, that in the year 1882, after the passing of the Coercion Act in the previous year, the number of crimes fell to no less than 870.
§ LORD HUGH CECIL
This table shows that, so far from its being true that the policy of coercion stimulates crime, it reduced it by no less a proportion than striking off four-fifths of the amount. And the House is very well aware that this statistical array, among other things, induced the Commission to find that no other cause could be properly adduced as the true cause of crime except the agitation of the National League. When we are told, "Oh, you are going back to your old coercion." that is saying nothing more sensible than to say to a person suffering from a recurrent malaria, "Oh, you are going back to your old quinine." This is a remedy that has constantly succeeded; and, though this is a milder attack of the malady than before, it bears the well-known marks of the old disease, and, being applied at an earlier stage, we have every confidence that it will have even happier results.
We have had a great deal of discussion this evening upon this subject, but let me ask whether the House really carries in its mind what is meant by boycotting. A great many people seem to think that boycotting is simply an exhibition of organised opinion by legitimate methods, and that a boycotted person really is in no worse position than an unpopular person must always be. It is perfectly true that if boycotting amounted to nothing more than unpopularity, it would be a very difficult thing to put down, and we should, in fact, have often to submit to it.
[The Noble Lord quoted a passage from the Report of the Special Commission, and continued—]
He found among the names of those who were convicted in this passage of this surely very terrible conspiracy, the name of the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, who, nevertheless, thinks it not unfit to come down to the House, and, himself having been declared guilty of this offence, to advise the House, with an air of statesmanlike moderation, on what is and what is not a legitimate form of boycotting. We hear a good deal of the suspension of juries, and the interference with the British Constitution. Are we so stupid as not to realise 615 that all Constitutions have for their object one supreme purpose—the happiness of the governed? If it appears that any part of the Constitution is no longer the minister of liberty, but the shelter of tyranny, the sooner that part of the Constitution is suspended or set aside the better, in the interests of the governed.
I was astonished at listening to the use of the word "coercion." It is, of course, true that no system of law can be altogether without an element of coercion. No one, voluntarily, is put in the dock, or sent to prison, or the gallows, or to penal servitude. An element of coercion there must be. But the true and harmful coercion is not that which is exercised in the light of day, and before a responsible tribunal. The true coercion, against which the lovers of liberty ought to fight as long as they are able, is the coercion which is exercised secretly, and without a sense of responsibility, in the tumult of popular passion, and at the incitement of unscrupulous agitators. If there are any coercionists in this House, there they sit [pointing to the Irish Benches]. Theirs it is to play the part of oppressors, and when the Government intervene and set in motion a form of criminal procedure—and it is no more than that—under which those who are notoriously guilty; those whose guilt it is hardly thought worth while to dispute, may be brought to the justice they deserve, they are the true friends of liberty, and it is as the friends of liberty, that the great majority of this House will support the Government in the course they are taking.
§ (11.35.) MR. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)
said that he could not 616 allow the speech of the noble Lord to go without some observations from the Nationalist Benches. If there was anything to justify the position which his colleagues had taken up upon this question, and which would tend to intensify the feelings of disloyalty in the hearts of the Irish people, it was speeches of the character as that to which they had just listened. There was no crime in the noble Lord's imagination which was too foul to attribute to the Irish people, and there was no charge made against Ireland which he was not willing to accept. The noble Lord knew nothing of the people of Ireland, and yet he had only just stopped short of the result which his noble father offered to the Irish people in not designating them as Hottentots. Irishmen abhorred crime just as much as the noble Lord, and the Irish representatives had as high a character amongst their own people as he had, and when they returned to their constituencies they had not to make false promises or use money for corrupt; purposes, in order to get returned. He appealed to the House on behalf of the millions of Irish people who were being driven out of the country by the wretched policy of the present Government, and by this wretched policy of coercion which had been entered upon by the Chief Secretary with as light a heart as any of his predecessors.
What was the good of a measure like this, which was intended simply to endeavour to protect a very few people who were boycotted? This Coercion Act would only intensify the feeling of bitterness against those who were boycotted, and those hon. Gentlemen opposite who had any influence upon the policy of the Government, ought to 617 appeal to the right hon. Gentlemen not to make the position of these people any more unpleasant. The whole mass of the people would detest the policy initiated by the Irish Government. The noble Lord would have them think that he knew the history of their country better than they did, but that was an ignorant assumption which had left them this Irish problem as an heirloom. The noble Lord gravely announced that the diminution of crime in Ireland in 1882 was due to the Coercion Act. Was he so ignorant as not to know that the reason for that diminution was the great Land Bill passed in 1881? Surely the noble Lord knew the greatest Land Act ever given to Ireland was passed in 1881. Therefore it was not coercion but the operation of the Land Act which caused the diminution of crime. The Irish tenant was able to go into the land court to have the rent fixed for his farm under the Land Act, and the noble Lord had evidently forgotten the healing effect of the operation of that Act, and thought it was now necessary to resort to a further period of coercion. All I can say is that I pity the English people in their endeavour to settle the Irish question if their cabinets and councils are to be dominated by men of the
§ character and standing of the noble Lord. That is what lies at the root of the entire evil. It is the fact there is not one touch of sympathy in their dealings with the people of Ireland, and that the policy of right hon. Gentlemen opposite is not dominated by sympathy and kindness. Those who have been through the mill in Ireland know something of the conditions of the country, but the noble Lord seems to think that he knows the entire thing better than anybody who has been there. The Government are going to harass and coerce the people in everyway they can devise. I make the noble Lord a present of all he can gain by this coercion. So far from turning the people of Ireland from the pursuit of their legal and just rights, so far from suppressing this organisation, coercion will only intensify the feelings of the people. If the noble Lord enters into that with a light spirit, he will find sufficient spirit and resolution in Ireland to despise the machinery of coercion of which he is now enamoured.
§ (11.43.) Question put.
§ House divided:—Ayes, 148; Noes, 253. (Division List No. 117.)621
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Blake, Edward||Cawley, Frederick|
|Allan, William (Gateshead)||Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Channing, Francis Allston|
|Allen, Charles P. (Glouc. Stroud||Brigg, John||Cogan, Denis J.|
|Asher, Alexander||Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Burke, E. Haviland-||Crean, Eugene|
|Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry||Burns, John||Cremer, William Randal|
|Crombie, John William|
|Bayley, Thomas (Derbyshire)||Caine, William Sproston|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Caldwell, James||Davies, Alfred (Carmarthen)|
|Bell, Richard||Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Delany, William|
|Black, Alexander William||Causton, Richard Knight||Dillon, John|
|Doogan, P. C.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roche, John|
|M'Arthur, William (Cornwall)||Runciman, Walter|
|Edwards, Frank||M'Cann, James|
|Emmott, Alfred||M'Crae, George||Samuel, S. M. (Whitecbapel)|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||M'Govern, T.||Schwann, Charles E.|
|M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Fenwick, Charles||M'Kean, John||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Field, William||M'Laren, Charles Benjamin||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Mansfield, Horace Rendall||Sinclair, John (Forfarshire)|
|Furness, Sir Christopher||Markham, Arthur Basil||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Mooney, John J.||Spencer, Rt Hn C. R. (Northants|
|Gilhooly, James||Morley, Rt. Hn. John (Montrose||Stevenson, Francis S.|
|Gladstone, Rt Hn. Herbert John||Morton, Edw. J. C. (Devenport)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Grey, Sir Edward (Berwick)||Murphy, John|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.||Thomas, David Alfred (Merthyr|
|Haldane, Richard Burdon||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)||Thomas, F. Freeman-(Hastings|
|Hammond, John||Norman, Henry||Thomas, J A (Glamorgan, Gower|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Thompson, Dr E C (Monagh'n, N|
|Harmsworth, R. Leicester||Nussey, Thomas Willans||Thomson, F. W. (York, W. R.)|
|Harrington, Timothy||Tomkinson, James|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Helme, Norval Watson||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)||Ure, Alexander|
|Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.|
|Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)||O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Humphreys-Owen, Arthur C.||O'Dowd, John||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan|
|O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N||Weir, James Galloway|
|Jameson, Major J. Eustace||O'Malley, William||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshi'e||O'Mara, James||Whitley, J. H. (Halifax)|
|Jordan, Jeremiah||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Joyce, Michael||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.|
|Palmer, George Wm. (Reading||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid.)|
|Kearley, Hudson E.||Paulton, James Mellor||Woodhouse, Sir J T (Huddersf'd|
|Kennedy, Patrick James||Pease, J. A. (Saffron Walden)|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Young, Samuel|
|Layland-Barratt, Francis||Price, Robert John|
|Leese, Sir Joseph F. (Accrington||Priestley, Arthur|
|Lewis, John Herbert|
|Lloyd-George, David||Rea, Russell||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Captain Donelan and Mr. Corrie Grant.|
|Lough, Thomas||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Lundon, W.||Reddy, M.|
|Redmond, John F. (Waterford)|
|MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Rigg, Richard|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex F.||Hartley, George C. T.||Cautley, Henry Strother|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Beach, Rt. Hn Sir Michael Hicks||Cavendish, R. F. (N. Lanes)|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Beckett, Ernest William||Cavendish, V. C. W (Derbyshire|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bhownaggree, Sir M. M.||Cayzer, Sir Charles William|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Bignold, Arthur||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Bigwood, James||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Bill, Charles||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. (Birm.|
|Arrol, Sir William||Blundeil, Colonel Henry||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc.|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith-||Chamberlayne, T. (S'thampton|
|Brassey, Albert||Chapman, Edward|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Charrington, Spencer|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Churchill, Winston Spencer|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Brotherton, Edward Allen||Clive, Captain Percy A.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Bull, William James||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (Manch'r||Bullard, Sir Harry||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W. (Leeds||Butcher, John George||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Balfour, Kenneth K. (Christen.||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. (Windsor||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Colomb, Sir John Charles Ready|
|Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole||Howard, J no. (Kent, Faversham||Pilkington, Lieut.-Col. Richard|
|Compton, Lord Alwyne||Hozier, Hon. James Henry Cecil||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Plummer, Walter R.|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge||Jackson, Rt. Hon. Wm. Lawies||Purvis, Robert|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Pym, C. Guy|
|Cripps, Charles Alfred||Jeffreys, Arthur Frederick|
|Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)||Jessel, Captain Herbert Merton||Randles, John S.|
|Crossley, Sir Saville||Johnston, William (Belfast)||Rankin, Sir James|
|Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Rattigan, Sir William Henry|
|Dalrymple, Sir Charles||Kenyon, James (Lanes, Bury)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Davenport, William Bromley-||Kenyon-Slaney, Col. W. (Salop||Renwick, George|
|Davies, Sir Horatio D. (Chatham||Keswick, William||Richards, Henry Charles|
|Dickson, Charles Scott||Ridley, Hn. M. W. (Stalybridge|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Ritchie, Rt. Hn. Chas. Thomson|
|Dorington, Sir. John Edward||Lawrence, Joseph (Monmouth)||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Doughty, George||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lawson, John Grant||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lecky, Rt. Hn. William Edw. H.||Round, James|
|Darning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham||Royds, Clement Molyneux|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn. Sir William Hart||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Rutherford, John|
|Legge, Col. Hon. Heneage|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford.|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Leveson-Gower, Frederick N. S.||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos Myles|
|Llewellyn, Evan Henry||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.||Lockwood, Lt.-Col. A. R.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ail wyn Edward||Loder, Gerald Walter Erskine||Seely, Charles Hilton (Lincoln)|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir. J (Manc'r||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Sinclair, Louis (Romford)|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lowther, C. (Cumb. Eskdale)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Flower, Ernest||Loyd, Archie Kirkman||Smith, H C (North' mb, Tynes'de|
|Forster, Henry William||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Smith, James Parker (Lanarks.)|
|Foster, Philip S (Warwick, S. W.||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Stanley, Hon Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Stanley, Lord (Lanes)|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Gardner, Ernest||Macartney, Rt Hn. W. G. Ellison||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Gibbs, Hn. A. G. H. (City of Lond.||Macdona, John Cumming||Sturt, Hon. Humphrey Napier|
|Godson, Sir Augustus Frederick||MacIver, David (Liverpool)|
|Cordon, Hn. J. F. (Elgin & Nairn||Maconochie, A. W.||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Gore, Hn G. R. C. Ormsby-(Salop||M. Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||M'Calmont, Col H. L. B. (Cambs.||Tomlinson, Wm. Edw. Murray|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||M'Calmont, Col. J. (Antrim, E.)||Tufnell, Lieut.-Col. Edward|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||M'Iver, Sir Lewis (Edinburgh W||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Graham, Henry Robert||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Malcolm, Ian||Valentia, Viscount|
|Green, Walford D (Wednesbury||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Vincent, Sir Edgar (Exeter)|
|Greene, Henry D. (Shrewsbury)||Massey-Mainwaring, Hn. W. F.|
|Greene, W. Raymond-(Cambs)||Maxwell, W J H (Dumfriesshire||Warr, Agustus Frederick|
|Grenfell, William Henry||Mitchell, William||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney|
|Gretton, John||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Webb, Colonel William George|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||More, Robt. Jasper (Shropshire)||Well by, Lt.-Col. ACE (Taunton|
|Morgan, David. J (Walthamst'w||Welby, Sir Charles G. E. (Notts|
|Hain, Edward||Morgan, Rt. Fred (Monm'thsh.)||Whiteley, H. (Ashtonund. Lyne|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Mount, William Arthur||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x||Muntz, Philip A.||Willough by de Eresby, Lord|
|Hamilton, Marq. of (L'nd'nder'y||Murray, Rt Hn A. Graham (Bute||Wilson A. Stanley (York, E. R.|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hon. Robert Wm.||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Wilson, John (Falkirk)|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Myers, William Henry||Wilson-Todd. Wm. H. (Yorks)|
|Haslett, Sir James Horner||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley||Wrightson, Sir Thomas|
|Holder, Augustus||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Wylie, Alexander|
|Henderson, Alexander||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Hermon-Hodge, Robert Trotter||Palmer, Walter (Salisbury)||Wyndham-Quin, Major W. H.|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Parker, Gilbert|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Hobhouse, Henry (Somerset, H.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlingt'n|
|Hope, J. F. (Sheffield, Brghtside||Pemberton, John S. G.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir William Walrond and Mr. Anstruther.|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Penn, John|
|Hoult, Joseph||Percy, Earl|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Pierpoint, Robert|
Resolutions agreed to.