§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum not exceeding £769,185, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1903, for the expenses of the Royal Irish Constabulary.
§ (3.5.) MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
moved the reduction of the Vote by £500,000. He said the total net cost of the Royal Irish Constabulary in the current financial year was set down as £1,369,185, being an increase of £13,564 on the cost in the previous year. The total number of the force was 11,191 men. Before dealing with the charges he had to make against the action of the Constabulary in recent years, he desired to say a few words by way of renewing the protest which had been frequently made from time to time against the constitution of this force as a military force of occupation in Ireland, and against its monstrous cost. As a matter of fact, in the case of the Royal Irish Constabulary they had a force which, under the guise of police, was really an armed Constabulary not for the purpose of discovering or preventing 1394 crime—for that was a task to which they devoted very little of their attention—but for the purpose of maintaining an evil political system in the country. It was the most expensive force per head of the population among whom it worked, of any force of a similar character in the whole civilised world, and that population was the poorest in Europe. It was nothing short of an outrage that in a poor country which was growing poorer every year, there' was wasted a sum which he estimated at at least,£800,000 in unnecessary pay to the Royal Irish Constabulary for the purpose of maintaining the landlord system in the country—an expenditure which would become instantly unnecessary if only there was a system of compulsory sale in the country in order that they might deal with the landlords. If Ireland were inhabited by a population addicted to crime he could understand a Minister standing up and making a plausible case for the maintenance of this monstrously expensive police force, but what made the case of the Irish Members infinitely stronger was the fact which could not be denied that this force was maintained in the midst of the most crimeless and most peaceable population in Europe. But the Irish police force, in addition to its costliness, was the most ineffective police force in the world. The only duty for which it was effective was the suppressing of meetings and interfering with the carrying out of political operations. This question of the ineffectiveness of the Irish police had been raised again and again in the House of Commons. In August, 1880, when a Motion to reduce the Vote for the Constabulary was before the Committee, Mr. John Bright said the protest the Irish party had made was a reasonable one, and he hoped the time would soon come when the police system of Ireland might be put on a footing as judicious and as conformable to our notions of freedom as the police systems of England and Scotland. Twenty-one years had passed and no step had been taken towards realising that anticipation of Mr. Bright. Today, with a much smaller population, they had a much more expensive police force than in 1880. The whole cost of the Irish Constabulary was thrown upon the public Exchequer in 1847 by Sir Robert Peel. It was really thrown on the Exchequer in relief of the Irish 1395 landlords—a most injudicious, and, economically, a most unsound proceeding, because so long as the cost of the police had to be levied from the landlords—who in those days paid all the rates—they had a certain interest in keeping down the cost of the police force. But, I the moment the cost was transferred to the general taxpayer, that motive disappeared altogether, and the cost went up by leaps and bounds. In the year 1859–60 the cost was £700,000 and the population at that time in round numbers was 0,000,000. The cost of the Constabulary was now £1,300,000. The population had decreased 1,500,000, but the cost of the constabulary had precisely doubled. He challenged any man to bring forward a similar state of things in the civilised world.
If they pursued those figures further in detail, they found this appalling fact, that, in Ireland alone of all civilised countries, the cost of the police had progressed proportionately to the decrease of the population. What was the explanation of that phenomenon? The only explanation was that it had been the business of the Irish police, during the last fifty years to exterminate the Irish people, and the horrible work in which they had been engaged had made the whole system of law so unpopular that the Government felt it necessary to maintain this gigantic force in the country to keep up their political power. In the year 1841 the population of Ireland was 8,170,000; in 1851 it was 6,500,000; in 1861 it was 5,700,000, in 1871 it was 5,400,000; in 1881 it was 5,174,000; in 1891 it was 4,704,000; and last year it was 4,456,000. So that in the period of 1841 to 1901 the population of Ireland had decreased by exactly one half, and the cost of the Irish Constabulary had doubled. But looking at the case from a different point of view, what was the cost per head of the police in Ireland this year and for many years past? It was, including the City of Dublin, 7s. per head. In England, taking in the boroughs—which, of course, was not really a fair basis of comparison with Ireland, because the latter was a purely rural country—the average cost, excluding the metropolis, was 2s. 4d. per head, as against 7s. in Ireland. And yet, when 1396 they turned to the criminal statistics, they found the crimes of violence in England were incomparably greater—particularly the more serious forms of crime—than in Ireland. Apart from that, they knew that a population largely urban, manufacturing and mining, required in normal conditions a much larger and more expensive police force than a rural population. But in England where the conditions of life would justify one in expecting the cost to be nearly double the rate in Ireland, it was only 2s. 4d. as against 7s. in Ireland. The case came out much more strongly when the greater towns were left out. In the county of Buckingham the cost of the police per head was Is. 5d.; in Norfolk Is. 3d.; in Lancashire 2s.; in the West Riding of Yorkshire, which was almost one continuous manufacturing and mining town, the cost was 2s. as against 7s. in rural, crimeless Ireland. In Bradford it was 2s., in Manchester 3s. 8d., and in all Scotland, including the great burghs, it was only 2s. 2½d. And what had they got to show for this? Discontent and no conceivable benefit, not even an effective detection of crime so far as that crime was divorced from agrarianism. One other circumstance. What was the number of policemen in proportion to the population? In Great Britain, eliminating the metropolis, there was one policeman to every 1,200 inhabitants, although there was there a much more difficult class to deal with than in the rural districts of Ireland. It was a good deal less in Scotland. In Ireland, eliminating the City of Dublin, there was one policeman to every 250 of the population. In other words, there were five times as many policemen in proportion to the population in Ireland as in Great Britain. Some time ago, those gentlemen who looked after Ireland discovered that they were underpaid. If they went into any village in England they would find only one policeman, with a walking stick; but if they went into a village of the same size and character in Ireland, say of 1,000 inhabitants, they would find ten or twelve armed men with rifles of the latest pattern and bayonets, and with a military officer at their head. There would, be a barrack with the windows barricaded with iron shutters and all the 1397 evidences of a blockhouse. There they were, these men, well fed, fine physically, and with all the appearance of having too much to eat and too little to do. They did discharge the function at certain seasons of the year of cracking the heads of peaceful citizens and watching the railway stations.
Sir Howard Vincent's Committee, which inquired a short time ago into the condition of the Royal Irish Constabulary, reported that the resignations owing to L injuries on duty had been happily only seven in the last ten years. This condition of affairs, continued the Report, contrasted strongly with that prevailing in any county or urban district in England, where serious assaults on the police were but too frequent. Now, he contended, it was rather remarkable that although the assaults on the police in Great Britain were far more numerous and far graver in their consequences than in Ireland, it required twice the number of policemen in proportion to the population in Ireland than in Great Britain. The Report of the Committee went on—We have now to deal with a statement that the duties of the Royal Irish Constabulary are more severe, more important, repairs more intelligence, and entail greater responsibility than those of any other police force in the United Kingdom. In disturbed localities, and at periods of exceptional excitement, the duties of the police are severe, but not necessarily more so than in England, where trade strikes J sometimes produce much disorder. Agrarian crime has steadily decreased, and sectarian excitement is confined to almost one province in Ireland. … In a large number of the Irish counties the duties of the police are not of a severe character. Political agitation keeps, and has kept, the Irish Constabulary on the alert, but it must be borne in mind that in Ireland there is no professional class.The Report then went on to say that the Committee were unable to accept the statement that the duties of the police wore more severe, more important, required more intelligence, and entailed more responsibility than those of any other police force in the United Kingdom, The contrary was the fact. Their chief duty was patrolling. In Ireland all the patrols, even in the daytime, consisted of two men. In England policemen patrolled singly both day and night. And yet these were the gentlemen who considered themselves underpaid. His purpose in referring to the Report was not to emphasise the preposterous nature of the claim for an increase of pay, but of reading 1398 that remarkable testimony of the Committee to the peaceable and crimeless character of the country, and to the fact that assaults on the police were much more frequent even in the rural districts of England than in Ireland. It would be seen that the men who formed the Royal Irish Constabulary were indeed a favoured race. He never quite understood why Irish policemen should be compensated when injured in the execution of their duty. They were bettor paid than soldiers, who were not compensated. Policemen were pensioned, and well pensioned, if injured in their duty. But in Ireland a policeman, who was well paid—very highly paid in proportion to the general average of wages—was entitled to retire from the force at an early age, very often in the prime of life, with a large pension; and in addition, if he was injured in discharge of his duty, he not only retired before his full time, but he was entitled to levy a fine on the people of the district in which he was injured, who had no more to do with his injury than the House of Commons; not a fine commensurate with his injury, but a fine levied like the blood money levied in the time of the Norman kings. He instanced the case of one policeman, who, in arresting a drunken man, was kicked on the shin, and who retired on full pension in consequence of his injury, and got £200 out of the district as compensation for his broken shin. Why should an Irish policeman who got his shin kicked be entitled to levy this heavy fine on the district, if the same privilege was not extended to English policemen? He awaited with some curiosity the answer of the Chief Secretary, and he expected the right hon. Gentleman to give an answer to that point. This power to compensate policemen for injuries, which were very often bogus injuries, was used to a ludicrous and most extravagant extent. Their chief complaint against the Irish Constabulary was the expense and unnecessary character of the force, the only use of which was to bolster up and maintain the system of landlordism, which had devastated and ruined Ireland. This enormous amount of money, £1,000,000 a year, was used not for the purpose of protecting the people but of exterminating them. This sum would pay the interest on £30,000,000, and 1399 they held that it would be wiser to devote £25,000,000 to a free grant for the purpose of purchasing the landlords' interests in Ireland, and in that way restore peace to that distracted country, and enable the people to flourish and prosper in their native land. Their second complaint was as to the spirit which prevailed in the minds of the Royal Irish Constabulary, owing to the methods of their organisation, and the duties they had to perform. They were not in reality policemen, but were analogous to the system of gendarmerie established under the Third Empire; a system which became hateful to every Empire in Europe. The first lesson that an Irish policeman had to learn was, that his first duty was not to protect the citizen, but that the business for which he would be rewarded and promoted, was the discovery and the creation of—when he could not discover it—agrarian crime, when the necessities of the Government required it. He was trained and sent out on his duty with the particular instruction that he was not going as a servant of the people, to protect them and to see that the peace was preserved, but that he was the servant of the masters of the people, and that he would be rewarded in proportion as he insulted and domineered over the people. There never had been a force, in the whole history of governments, maintained on these lines, which had not become corrupt and hateful to the people of the country.
Having made these few general remarks, he desired to draw attention to one remarkable fact. He had been for nearly twenty-five years taking an active part in Irish agitation, and throughout the whole of that time, in connection with public meetings, though the people and the police, unhappily, frequently came into collision, he could not remember a single instance where a policeman had been punished for assaulting the people, or a public enquiry held. Although thousands of complaints had been lodged of the scandalous conduct on the part of the police, he never remembered a single case in which the police were reprimanded or punished, or where a public and independent enquiry was held. If that were so, did it not confer an absolute indemnity on the police? Was it not practically telling the police they could do as they liked? It was a terrible thing, and the police would be 1400 more than human if they did not domineer over and insult and assault the people. If such a spirit were allowed to spread to the policemen of England, or any other country in the world, the result would inevitably be that the policeman would become insulting and overbearing. Every policeman in England discharged his duty under the knowledge that if he did anything cruel, or was unnecessarily rough, he would be called to account by men directly responsible to the people of the country. What happened at Birmingham the other day? In that town a condition of things existed which, if it had prevailed for a quarter of an hour in Ireland, would have been followed by a shower of bullets and a charge of bayonets. Because the police of Birmingham defended the Town Hall after it had been wrecked, after they themselves had been attacked by the mob for two hours, after a battering-ram had been drawn up before the Birmingham Town Hall for the purpose of breaking in the door in order to get inside to the meeting, the police charged the crowd. In the course of the charge one man fell down, or was knocked down, and cut his head, and subsequently died. Although that was the only man who was killed, and although ninety of the police were injured, the whole of the police were called out and submitted to a rigorous inquiry and a reprimand. In a similar case in Ireland the police, after the first ten minutes, would have fired on the people, and if that was found not to be sufficient, they would have charged with the bayonet, and no inquiry would have been granted. The police would have been defended through thick and thin, and every policeman responsible for the proceeding would have been rewarded out of a fine inflicted on the town. Was it any wonder, when this was the state of things that prevailed in Ireland, that there should be such discontent on the part of the people 1 The police in Ireland, in quiet districts, spent their time in fishing and flirting, and occasionally coursing; in what were called the disturbed districts, where the landlords had trouble in collecting their rents, the police acted as bailiffs to the landlords. It was a monstrous thing that the public funds of this country should be devoted to such a purpose, and it was a monstrous 1401 thing that such a force as the Royal Irish Constabulary should be used as bailiffs and rent collectors of the laud-lords. What had been going on in Ireland? In Roscommon, because certain landlords had difficulties with their tenants, and had some trouble in collecting their rents, an enormous force of police was drafted into the district. They patrolled the streets by night and by day, not singly but by threes and fours, spying and eliciting information for the landlord as to where his tenant's cattle were, so tha the might seize it, going into the tenants' houses and advising them that it was their duty to pay their rent. That was not the duty of policemen. Again, whenever a landlord desired to make an expedition through his estates for the purpose of seizing cattle and other goods under distress, the police were held at his disposal at any hour of the night or day. In many cases they had sallied out from the neighbouring towns at twelve o'clock at night and marched all night, as if to attack some Boer laager, for the purpose of lying in wait at some wretched farm in order to seize the cattle the first thing in the morning before the people wore up. Such a thing was an outrage and a gross abuse of public money. If strangers, innocent people, came into the district, patrols were sent after them on bicycles, or upon cars, to watch them and to try to overhear their conversation, and to spy upon them as if they were enemies of the country. How monstrous such a thing was. It was-no part of the duty of the police to constitute themselves partisans of the landlords as against the tenants. They ought to be kept strictlyaloof from all these quarrels, except so far as it was their duty to preserve the peace, which was the principle set at naught in all these cases. He urged the right lion. Gentleman to make some independent enquiry and see what was going on, and put a stop to these practices. On the 23rd of May last four of his constituents were hauled up before the Crimes Court at Frenchpark On the 13th of the previous December they had incited persons not to pay their rent, and they wore hauled up after an interval of five months, during which time no notice had been taken of the offence, on a charge of conspiracy and unlawful assembly. Why were those men left absolutely free for live months, and hauled up at this particular time? Because the agent 1402 of the landlord, Mr. Murphy, was coining down to collect the rents on a certain estate, and he gave notice that he wanted these four men, who he believed would be troublesome, removed before a certain day. As a consequence this offence was trumped up against these men, and they were hauled up three or four days before Mr. Murphy's agent came. The solicitor who was defending them had such short notice of the trial that he was compelled to ask for an adjournment, which was usually granted in such cases, but, although there had been this delay of five months, during which no process had been obtained, the Crown stepped in and insisted that there should be no adjournment, and having obtained their point, the unfortunate magistrates, being under the thumb of the Castle, had to do what they were told. Evidence was given as to what took place five months previously at the meeting; the police admitted it was a most peaceful meeting, yet the Crown persisted in pressing for a conviction, and these unfortunate men were convicted, at the request of Mr. Murphy's agent, in order to get them out of the town, and they were actually hauled off to gaol the day before he opened his rent office. These men after their conviction asked leave, which was usually accorded in cases of this kind, on their undertaking to surrender on a certain day, to go and settle their affairs, but even this was refused; So great was the injustice of this case, and so brutal in its nakedness, that he would advise the right lion. Gentleman, if he persisted in persevering in this perverse and wicked work that he had entered upon, at all events to wrap a cloak of decency round his actions. He was astonished to hear the right hon. Gentleman's statement with regard to Rosscrae. There some men were brought up before the Crimes Court in the usual way, evidence of a most illegal character was taken, no charge of brutality in the ordinary sense, or of violence, was brought against them, and they were convicted and sentenced to short terms of imprisonment. They were then told they were to be driven on an outside car to the railway station, nine miles away, and as the day was very wet they asked to be allowed to get their overcoats. This permission was refused, and they were driven through a pitiless storm 1403 of rain, and reached the station wet through, shivering with the cold, and in a condition most deplorable. A more gratuitous, unnecessary, and barbarous proceeding he could not conceive. As far as he knew there had never been a rescue of a political prisoner in Ireland, and this procedure was adopted simply for the purpose of insulting and outraging these young men. It was a case of pure savagery, which ought to be denounced by every unprejudiced man.
He came now to the case of Sergeant Sheridan, and after all these months he thought he was entitled to ask for a full and fair statement of that case. The reason he attached such vital importance to the matter was that he believed there were at present working in the Irish police force many Sergeants Sheridan. He did not say that the heads of the Government approved of the system, but he was convinced that some of their underlings had for years encouraged, patronised, and rewarded work such as that of Sergeant Sheridan, and that many policemen were under the impression that in doing such work they were carrying out the wishes of their superior officers. On 1st January, 1901, Sergeant Sheridan and Constable Mahony were dismissed from the Constabulary, and no charge whatever was alleged against them. Sergeant Sheridan asked for a public inquiry, alleging that he was the victim of a conspiracy. Questions were put in the House, but no satisfactory reply was received. An inquiry was refused, and all the Chief Secretary would say was that the men were dismissed because their evidence against a man named Ryan was conflicting and Unsatisfactory, and that the Lord Lieutenant had a right to dismiss any member of the Constabulary without inquiry if he thought it to be in the interest of the force. Eventually, from outside sources, he learnt that a police officer was making inquiries in the matter in County Leitrim, although the business for which these men were dismissed took place in County Clare. On 15th August the question was again discussed, and the Chief Secretary admitted that Sheridan was a scoundrel, and expressed his regret that Dan McGoohan had been convicted on a false charge. That was the first 1404 ray of light they had succeeded in getting in the case. On 17th August he (the hon. Member) determined to raise the matter again, and on that occasion the Chief Secretary admitted that four innocent men had been sent to gaol; and he went on to say that after examining the history of Sergeant Sheridan, he was convinced that he first invented crime and then went out to discover it. Upon such evidence, before a packed jury, that unhappy man was sent to gaol for two years, and he died in broken health a few years after his discharge from prison. In this case Sheridan not only invented the crime but practically committed it. In the case of the stabbing of an ass, Sheridan must have committed the crime or else got somebody else to do it. What happened in this case? Sheridan pounced upon a poor man for this crime, and his solicitor advised him to plead guilty to a crime of which he was absolutely innocent, and he did so, and was sentenced to six months hard labour. His solicitor advised him to take this course because he knew the case was hope-loss against this skilful Irish detective and a packed jury. In the case of Dan McGoohan Sheridan and another constable either cut off the tails of a number of cows themselves or paid somebody else to do it and then arrested McGoohan for the crime. This case was tried in 1897 before Judge Andrews and a Sligo jury. At the first trial McGoohan had been advised to plead guilty, and then the judge might let him off, but he refused to do so, declaring that he would rather go to his grave than plead guilty to a crime which he had not committed. In this case no less than sixty Roman Catholic jurors were ordered to stand out of the box and a purely Protestant jury was sworn. The constable who was concerned in this crime with Sheridan went into the box to give evidence, and when he was appealed to by the prisoner to speak the truth he broke down. The judge then told the jury that if they acquitted the prisoner they would blacken the character of Sheridan, and consequently this unhappy man was sentenced to two years penal servitude, which he had served to the last day. They had dragged all these facts out of the Chief Secretary and the Irish Government. 1405 He believed that from most Chief Secretaries they would never have got these facts at all, because they could not afford to allow their skilful detectives and packed juries to be exposed. When this poor man came out he went straight to a magistrate and swore an affidavit as to his innocence, and he understood that compensation was to be given in this case. Think of the agony and shame and loss of character which this man had undergone during his two years imprisonment, which one of the judges had described as worse than penal servitude, and all this man had been offered as compensation was,£100. [Cries of "Oh, oh!"] He would give one or two other striking facts in connection with this case. When Sheridan came to the barracks at Leitrim, at the time Dan McGoohan was convicted, the district was peaceful, but the moment Sheridan arrived there outrages commenced and were frequent while he was stationed at the barracks. Immediately Sheridan left the neighbourhood those outrages ceased. These pictures of Irish life were not frequently laid before the House, but in his opinion these crimes were going on to a large extent in Ireland at the present moment. After the outrage had been committed, and after McGoohan had been committed for trial a young farmer who was a friend of McGoohan ventured to say that he believed Sheridan had done this crime himself, because he believed that McGoohan was incapable of perpetrating such an abominable crime. Here was Sheridan, who got £5 reward and promotion for getting McGoohan convicted, and he afterwards proposed to get this young farmer convicted in order that he might get another reward and another promotion. That was a picture of Irish life which was not frequently laid before the House of Commons, but which in his opinion was only one instance of what was going on at this moment in Ireland to an enormous extent. He thought he had a right to insist upon the Chief Secretary answering the question—Why was Sheridan not prosecuted? He was told when he asked the question formerly that the Crown could not possibly prosecute Sheridan because they had no evidence.
§ MR. DILLON
said he quite agreed that it was at an earlier stage when it was stated that there was no evidence. But this fact should be remembered. The right hon. Gentleman said in the last debate that it was necessary to have a secret inquiry into the charges against Sheridan, and to give indemnity before hand to the witnesses. He admitted that there was some force in that. After the right hon. Gentleman made that statement Sheridan, with unblushing audacity, said he was the most injured man in the United Kingdom, and that he was the victim of a conspiracy. Sheridan was walking the streets of Dublin after the Government had ample evidence against him. He was defying the Government, and stating that they were afraid to prosecute him, because of the disclosures he was able to make. The Chief Secretary had said that Sheridan was such an extremely clever man that he dazzled a number of his subordinates. It was said that Sheridan was a clever detective officer who became a villain in exercising his profession. The hon. Member was afraid there were a good many more. His subordinates were dazzled with the idea that this kind of business was winked at by the Government, and they thought he was pursuing the course that would lead him to a high pinnacle of promotion. Sheridan had pursued a course of crime, and then by perjury he succeeded in getting innocent men committed to gaol. By that course he had mounted step by step in the police force. No man could tell how many members of the force bad been demoralised by his example. Where was the criminal law? When the hon. Member for North Leitrim was recently at Fall River, Massachusetts, he found Sheridan there masquerading as a patriot who had been driven from the police force because he had arrested a Government spy. It looked as if Sheridan's statement was correct, that the Government were afraid to prosecute him because of the damaging disclosures he had it in his power to make against them. He could conceive no other reason why the evidence given at the secret inquiry by the constables was not used to bring to justice one of the most infamous 1407 criminals who had disgraced Ireland for many long years. Why was Sheridan allowed He go free with all that load of crime upon his head? What had become of Sheridan's associate Reid, who was mixed up in the conviction of McGoohan? Reid must have known or suspected; what Sheridan was doing. He should have reported his suspicion to his superior officer. The hon. Member did not know whether Reid was still in the constabulary. If not, on what terms did he get away? Did he receive a gratuity to go away, or did he resign? It was rumoured that Reid had gone to America, but the whole of this business was a mystery. Were the young men who were dazzled by Sheridan retained in the police force? He held that no man who was mixed up in these transactions was fit to be a police officer. The Chief Secretary had stated more than once that no such thing as that of which Sheridan had been guilty was going on in the Irish police, and that this was a solitary instance. How did the right; hon. Gentleman know that? How long did Sheridan pursue his course before he was detected? He was at it for four or five years, and he was held up by his superior officers, the Bench, and the Government, as a model policeman. The hon. Member was convinced, though he admitted the great gravity of the charge, that Sheridan's operations were known to many men in the Irish Constabulary. It would be perfectly impossible, in view of the organisation of the police force, for such transactions as those of Sheridan to go on for five years without their coming to the knowledge of other members of the force. He was assured that there was not a barrack in Ireland where there was not a detective who reported the conversations of the men to the Castle. He had had that information over and over again from members of the force. The right hon. Gentleman therefore was on the horns of a dilemma, and he must select one or other on which to be impaled. Either his police system was not sufficient to select what had been disclosed in the case of Sheridan, or if it was sufficient, then the police force was infected by that most abominable of all systems—the employment of agents provocateurs. The Irish people believed that this 1408 policy was winked at by the Government, that it had been in force in Ireland for twenty years, and that many of the most startling and disgusting crimes had been directly or indirectly paid for by the police. There might be more than one Sheridan at work endeavouring to organise crime. The Irish people were firmly convinced, rightly or wrongly, that this abominable system was planted securely in the ranks of the Irish Constabulary, and that the Irish Government winked at the policy of manufacturing and encouraging crime, in order to pave the way for the application of coercion.
Motion made, arid Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £269,185 be granted for the said Service."—(Mr. Dillon).
§ (4.45.) Mr. WYNDHAM
said he did not propose to reply to the whole of the speech to which they had just listened. He did not wish to interfere with other Members who desired to address the Committee, but he thought it would be felt that he was entitled to reply at once while the indictment was fresh in the minds of hon. Members. He had had something to say on the subject on 17th August last year. He did not know that it would be brought before the Committee that day, but he certainly made no complaint of its having been so brought forward. He could riot thresh this out by way of question and answer, but he was quite prepared to state what the Government did and why the Government did it. I He said again today what he said on 17th August, that this was a case so distressing and to revolting in its character that there was no satisfactory solution of the problem with which he was confronted in January twelvemonth. He wished to follow the hon. Member step by step. Admitting that much which he said was quite accurate, though deprecating and repudiating most warmly the generally; unsubstantiated charges which he had flung against the police as a whole, in January last year Sergeant Sheridan,; acting with another police officer named Mahoney, came with a story and depositions against an aged tramp called Ryan. These depositions were brought 1409 before him when it would have been impossible to proceed against Ryan, because the evidence in these depositions was of the most unsatisfactory and conflicting character. He came, not to the conclusion, but to the suspicion, that these depositions of Sheridan and Mahoney showed that at the worst they had concocted the whole thing, and at best that they had improved the evidence. They stated that they had seen things from a point where it was impossible to see them. There was no evidence, in the opinion of the law officers of the Crown, to justify the prosecution of Ryan, and he was remanded from the Petty Sessions in order, if possible, to see whether further evidence could be got. But that not being forthcoming he was discharged. That was what was done in this country and in every country in the world. A man was arrested on suspicion, on evidence which was colourable; but if the Crown law officers did not think that they could procure a conviction, they do not proceed with the prosecution. The Irish Government followed the normal course. They might have prosecuted Sheridan, but if they had done so Sheridan would have gone into the dock and there would have been no evidence against him of any sort or kind. The depositions which were unsatisfactory from the point of view of the prosecution of Ryan gave as little hold in bringing a prosecution against Sheridan and the only result—he tried to form the best judgment he could—he could anticipate was that Sheridan would have been acquitted. He would have been whitewashed; and a man whose character he then deeply suspected would have then been put on a pedestal as a martyr to zeal and would have remained a distinguished member of the Royal Irish Constabulary. He was convinced that the chances of that happening were greater than of its not happening. He thought it was a risk to give this man a fresh start by dismissing him from the dock without a stain on his character, which would have been the worst course that could possibly have been pursued. Being dissatisfied with the way in which Sheridan, who had a good record, had put forward this case against the tramp, 1410 he advised the Lord Lieutenant to exercise his power to dismiss him from the force, and also Mahoney who had been with him in producing a case of so unsatisfactory a character. They were dismissed by the Lord Lieutenant acting within the privilege of the Crown. The Crown could dismiss a public servant and give no reason for it, if the Crown believed that that was in the interests of the public. That was done on this occasion. If that had been all, he submitted to the Committee that that was the best course.
He invited particular attention to this case, because this was a matter in which he stood upon his own defence. On 26th June he had referred to the dismissal of Sheridan because of his depositions against Ryan. The hon. Member for East Mayo had stated that after that he had dragged out of him other revelations in regard to Sheridan. That was not so. Sergeant Sheridan and Mahoney had been dismissed on account of their improper depositions. With regard to this tramp, it was brought to his knowledge that other men who had suffered terms of imprisonment in the past, had been convicted upon the evidence of this same sergeant; and that one of these men who had been imprisoned had, on his release, sworn an affidavit that he was innocent. It was not in consequence of a question put in this House, but prior to that question, that his attention was drawn to the case by County Inspector Urwin, who put before him the facts that this Sergeant Sheridan had secured the conviction of other persons for graver offences. He then had to make a new decision—whether they should hold a public or a secret inquiry. As to a public inquiry—assuming what he now believed to be the truth, that Sheridan had committed these revolting crimes; assuming that he had, if not accomplices, at least one or two policemen, subordinate to him, who did not tell the whole truth in this matter and were prepared to give the evidence which Sheridan suggested—at a public inquiry not one of these men could have been forced or even asked to give any evidence. Every one of them would have had to be informed that he need not incriminate himself, and a public inquiry, therefore, would have been a farce. The second decision he had to take was this; it being 1411 alleged or suggested that Sheridan had committed these revolting crimes on previous occasions—whether that inquiry should be a secret one. Rightly or wrongly, he came to the conclusion that nothing would do but a secret and searching inquiry prosecuted by two able officers, with directions to probe the whole matter to the bottom, and to give reparation to the men who had been improperly convicted. That inquiry was held. The two officers arrived at their conclusion on 10th July; at least, that is the date on which they signed their report. He had to form a conclusion on this inquiry, and he confessed that the matter which weighed most in his mind was to establish the innocence of these men who had been wrongly punished, and to make reparation to them. He came to the conclusion, and he was sure he was right, that Bray, who unfortunately had since died, Patrick Murphy and Daniel M'Goohan, were all innocent men wrongly convicted. He had been asked why more compensation had not been given. He had searched the records of the Home Office of this country and found that the highest compensation ever given had been given in this case. But he did not attach so much importance to the money. The most important thing was the clearing of the character of the men. The important thing was to make public reparation to an innocent man, and he made it now. Daniel McGoohan was an innocent man. The conclusion that he was wrongly convicted could not, in his opinion, have been arrived at if he had in the first place prosecuted Sergeant Sheridan, and if, in the second instance, he had held a public inquiry. The officers whom he entrusted with the investigation had his authority to tell the men who were suspected, if not of conniving in, at all events of not exposing, the wrong that was being done, that if they told the whole truth they would not suffer. He did not say whether this was right or wrong. He thought it right, but on this he must accept the judgment of the Committee, to authorise the full indemnity that had been given to these men. That placed him later in a position no one would envy. When he came to believe, as he had come to believe, that these men, and one of them in 1412 particular, must have known that Sheridan not only fabricated evidence, but had a hand in committing crime, that he had given an indemnity to a man whose character would shock everybody in this House, he had again to take a personal decision. Had he said, "This is so bad that I must withdraw the indemnity," he should have been guilty of breaking his word. The course he took was to tell the men that they could have the promised indemnity, but that it must be clear to them that they could be employed in no position of trust in the Royal Irish Constabulary in the future; that if they cared to languish at the depôt doing nothing and drawing regulation pay they might do so, but that his advice was that they should get out of the constabulary and seek to make good their offence against their fellows by regaining a place amongst honest men. Two men—Reed and Anderson—went. That was the painful story. He wished everybody in the House to know what he did, and that he did it with the view of preventing the recurrence of such events.
§ (5.10.) SIR ROBERT REID (Dumfries Burghs)
said he wished to say one or two words upon this matter, because he did not think any one accustomed to the consideration of law and justice could have listened without feelings of pain and astonishment to the facts that had been brought out before the Committee. He would be sorry to make any reflection upon the Chief Secretary's exercise of his discretion in a difficult position, without much fuller knowledge than he possessed; but he desired to draw attention to the extraordinary character of this case, which seemed to him to be a deplorable one, and to the circumstances which must lead any mind, without being unduly suspicious, to the strong conjecture that this was not an isolated case. The story also contained one or two morals in regard to the administration of law in Ireland. A charge was brought against a man named Ryan, for some minor offence, in the course of which it was discovered that a sergeant of police, of high standing in Ireland, had been guilty of perjury in preferring a false and unfounded charge. That was the effect of the right hon. Gentleman's 1413 statement, although the right hon. Gentleman had not said so in so many words, and he was quite right at once to desist from any further prosecution of the case. But so grave was the character of the case, that the right hon. Gentleman was only induced to refrain from prosecuting Sergeant Sheridan, because he thought he could not get sufficient evidence to convict. He was then informed by a Mr. Irwin that there were other cases. That gentleman was a County Inspector, a gentleman holding the King's commission, and he communicated to the right hon. Gentleman his belief that there were other cases. He should like to have had more information as to the communication from County Inspector Irwin and the grounds of that official's opinion that the offence of Sheridan was not an isolated case. He believed the right hon. Gentleman to have acted wisely, both in making the inquiry secret and in promising the indemnity, without which he would not have obtained the serious information now given to the Committee. Four persons, it appeared, had been in prison on the evidence of Sheridan, before this attempt to convict an innocent person had been baffled. The atrocity of that case was almost beyond belief. This man had himself committed the most foul and dastardly crime which could be perpetrated, that of torturing dumb brutes; and, having, as a trusted public servant of the Royal Irish Constabulary, burned hay ricks and committed crimes, the perpetration of which had been a favourite reproach against a section of the Irish people, he then, with the purpose apparently of currying favour with his superiors, of getting stripes, promotion, credit, and reward as a detector of these horrid crimes, fixed them upon poor innocent people whom he chanced to meet. He hoped the case was not still worse, and that he did not fix his charges upon persons against whom he had some grudge. He followed up these crimes with perjury—going into the witness-box and telling fearful falsehoods in order to deprive another man of his liberty. He did not think a blacker instance could be produced from the later history of despotic Governments in Europe to show the frightful danger of having a police force free from any public control. He 1414 entirely recognised that the Chief Secretary had made no attempt at defence or palliation in reference to the events of the past eighteen months, they were absolutely indefensible, and it was on the authority of the Government of Ireland that these cases took place. What was the result? One man died in prison; but what had struck him most in the painful story was that one of the men whom the Chief Secretary said were unjustly convicted, and who had been compensated for his unjust punishment, pleaded guilty. What frame of mind did that disclose? They were asked why the Irish were not loyal; why they were not attached to the Constitution which they were to be in common with this country. It helped realisation of the reasons why Irishmen were not attached to the Constitution under which they lived when it was found that an innocent man, brought before a packed jury, preferred to plead guilty and take a short sentence, because he utterly despaired of obtaining justice. Such a fact indicated the reason for difficulties in Ireland. Packed juries were a disgrace to the administration of justice in Ireland, and the fruit of them was found in the painful story they had heard. The fact that certain members of the police force acted together awakened suspicion that there might be other cases. Sheridan had been guilty of the foulest, most contemptible offence a man could commit, and no language should palliate the blackness and horror of the offence. It was not clear why Sheridan was not prosecuted in the end. If the Chief Secretary believed, as he did, that the man had committed these offences, he should have indicted Sheridan and put in the evidence of the men to whom an indemnity had been given, and a conviction might have been obtained, though perhaps not with a packed jury. It was a most deplorable story, and reflected the greatest possible discredit on the administration of justice in Ireland. It led every honest man to the greatest distrust of the whole system and the belief that it was rotten to the core, and he believed it could only be cured by self-government.
§ THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. ATKINSON,) Londonderry, N.
said the hon. and learned Gentleman wished to be considered as actuated by the most lofty principles and most 1415 generous sentiments. On these lofty sentiments he was to be congratulated, and still more on the admirable manner in which he controlled them while he was in office in a Government that conducted administration in Ireland under the so-called system of jury-packing with which he professed to be so horrified and astonished.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said he could only say now, as he had said before, that during the three years of that administration there was more alleged jury-packing than during the whole time the present Government had been in office. But the hon. and learned Gentleman did not refuse to be a Member of that Administration.
§ MR. ATKINSON
During that period accusations against the Irish Government of the time were repeatedly made, and he himself had challenged the colleague of the hon. and learned Gentleman to deny that on one occasion they set aside forty-one jurors out of a panel of seventy-four. But the hon. and learned Gentleman felt none of the indignation he now displayed: his principles were well restrained. He was silent when his political friends were in power. [Cries of "Oh, oh," and "Withdraw."]
§ SIR ROBERT REID
said he did not wish to attach any offensive meaning to what the right hon. Gentleman said, and hoped he would be allowed to proceed without interruption.
§ MR. ATKINSON
repeated the hon. and learned Gentleman showed no aversion to the system then. [Cries of "Oh, oh."]
§ MR. ATKINSON
said the hon. Gentleman spoke a little too soon. The Irish Nationalist papers of 1894 condemned the Administration as marked by 1416 prosecutions, secret inquiries, and jury-packing, making it indistinguishable from Tory Government. An Amendment to the Address raised the very question of jury packing.
§ *MR. ATKINSON
I was merely replying, and showing the past history of the hon. and learned Gentleman with regard to these matters.
§ *MR. ATKINSON
I presume the hon. Gentleman means why did not I advise his prosecution. I could not prosecute him.
§ *MR. ATKINSON
said that the evidence was obtained from these men under terms that made prosecution impossible. ["How?" "Why?" and "That is new."] That evidence would never have been obtained at all if these terms had not been entered into, and under those conditions it was perfectly impossible for him to have advised a prosecution with out a direct violation of the pledge given to those men.
§ MR. DILLON
What was the pledge? [Nationalist cries of "What were the terms?" and "State the terms."]
§ *MR. ATKINSON
, continuing, said the only matter that came before him was the question of the prosecution of Ryan, and he advised it should not be proceeded with, because he thought the evidence was not of such a character as would justify a prosecution.
§ SIR ROBERT REID
said ho did not think the personal observations of the right hon and learned Gentleman were worthy of notice. But let there be no misunderstanding on this. He did denounce the packing of juries, and he believed himself that there was no alternative to the continuance of jury-packing except, the giving of self-government to Ireland.
§ (5.33.) MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
said the Committee had had the singular and unprecedented spectacle of an Irish Attorney General ashamed of himself and of jury-packing. But the demeanour of the right hon. Gentleman, while so different from his usual composure and self-complacency, was not more astonishing than the character of his defence. The right hon. Gentleman was accused of jury-packing. Was his defence a denial of the accusation? Not at all. It was an admission of it, with the plea that under the present Administration the practice had not been quite so largely followed as under previous Governments. Was ever a more astounding defence given by a Minister of what was supposed to be constitutional Government? He did not intend to interfere in the quarrel between the right hon. Gentleman and his predecessor. The case put forward by the Nationalists was not that jury-packing was the act of one Administration or Party, but that it was the act, the policy, the necessity, of every English Minister who tried to govern Ireland against the wish of the people. The admission of the right hon. Gentleman established their case, and confirmed the underlying contention that the Sheridan matter was but a part of a system. New light had been thrown on the Sheridan case by the present debate. It was not until the Attorney General's speech that the Committee heard of what now appeared to be one of the main defences of the Government. The right hon. Gentleman had declared that he could not have got the evidence of the constables without giving an indemnity. That could be perfectly understood, but it was not the point. The point was that Sheridan, who had no indemnity, was not examined. The Government had the evidence of these men against him, and yet he was allowed to leave the country without hindrance. The defence was a mockery. What defence was it of the escape of 1418 Sheridan that an indemnity had been given to two others? Neither the Chief Secretary nor the Attorney General had given any answer to that question.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
asked why it did not. Did any Member suppose that if it had been the case of a National Leaguer, charged with an infinitely less serious offence, it would not have come before the Attorney General? The right hon. Gentleman ought to have seen that the case did come before him; otherwise he was not properly discharging the duty of his office. When he had before him evidence that this ruffian first committed crime, and then by perjury secured the conviction of an innocent man, thus violating all the sanctities of his office, was it not the duty of the Attorney General to see that the man was severely punished?
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR
asked whether they were to understand that the administrative life of Ireland was conducted on a system of watertight compartments, and that the Chief Secretary, who was in constant communication with the Attorney General, could know of a case like this, and the Attorney General remain in absolute ignorance of it? Really, the innocence and ignorance of the right hon. Gentleman in this question were equalled only by his innocence and ignorance with regard to the religious persuasion of the members of packed juries. It showed a singular want of chivalry and loyal co-operation between Ministers that the right hon. Gentleman should try to shift the burden of his responsibility on to the shoulders of the Chief Secretary. Again he asked, why was not Sheridan prosecuted and punished? Irish Members were accustomed to strange visitors at the House, but the strangest of all was, he thought, Mr. Sheridan. For days, if not weeks, there was scarcely a member of the Party who did not have the pleasure and honour of receiving a visitor's card from Mr. Sheridan, who desired them 1419 to hear his exposure of the conspiracy of the Chief Secretary and the Attorney General, of which he had been the unhappy and innocent victim. All that time this man was walking about, actually in the precincts of Westminster, flouting the Chief Secretary, and telling the Nationalist Members that the Government were afraid to prosecute him. He did not accept the statement of Mr. Sheridan with the same confidence as an Irish judge and a packed jury in Sligo, but when he put facts together, when he heard the Chief Secretary and the Attorney General acknowledging that this man was one of the worst and blackest of criminals, and yet saw him walking the streets of Dublin and haunting the precincts of Westminster, he began to think there must be something in his declaration as to the fear of the Government to prosecute him. The Attorney General had made a statement which threw a new light on the case. The right hon. Gentleman had said that he could not prosecute Ryan and others because he had given them an indemnity, but he never told the Committee why he could not prosecute Sheridan, to whom no indemnity had been given. They had never been told why Sheridan could not be prosecuted. The answer of the Attorney General was that the indemnity which was given to Reed and others was an indemnity of such a character as protected not only them but Sheridan. Here was a man who committed the most horrid and loathsome offences, the agent of the Government, who procured by perjury the conviction of innocent persons, who walked the streets of Dublin and haunted the precincts of Westminster, who was permitted to commit those offences because other men got an indemnity. The action of the Chief Secretary, though most blamable with regard to Sheridan, was in contrast with the action of his predecessors. The right hon. Gentleman had shown an unprecedented candour on this occasion apart from letting Sheridan go scot free. The real question was whether this was an isolated case or whether it was typical and symbolical of the Irish Government proceedings. The Attorney General said there were more such cases in three years of the preceding administration than during all 1420 the six years he had been in office. That was a very strange defence. Those cases had been brought before the House from time to time, and he believed they were not isolated but typical.
There was the case of Bryan Kilmartin, who was tried by a packed jury and convicted, although he protested his innocence up to the last moment. When they lizard of these things they thought they could only occur in Ireland, or on the stage of the Drury Lane Theatre. Kilmartin remained in prison until a man died in Boston confessing that he was the man who committed the crime for which Kilmartin suffered. There was a change of administration, there was what he regarded as an ideal Government in office, that was to say a Tory Government dependent on the Irish vote, the most satisfactory in his experience in the House during twenty-two years, and an experience which he hoped to see renewed before long. He sighed for the halcyon days when the Tory Party consulted the Irish Members as to the course of business. When the Tory administration came into power, Lord Carnarvon went to Ireland as the messenger of peace, as the bearer of a secret treaty for separate Government for Ireland. He was received with open arms, adulation, and affection by the people of Ireland. One of his first acts was to release Bryan Kilmartin, and when he went to Connemara on an outside car the driver of that car was Bryan Kilmartin, who had been unjustly sentenced to penal servitude.
In order to prove that this was not an isolated case but a system, he would mention the case of Talbot a distinguished police officer, like Sheridan, who, at the time of the Fenian movement, went to Carrick-ma-Suir swearing in members of the Irish organisation. He was a Protestant, but he attended Mass, and went through the sacrilegious scene of receiving the Sacrament of the Church—a most blasphemous and horrible proceeding—for the purpose of swearing - in men as members of the movement, and he appeared afterwards against those men, and sent them to penal servitude. If they were told of these things being done in Russia, or in France, under the Second Empire, there was not one of them who would not raise his hands 1421 in horror, and rejoice tint such things were impossible under the Pax Britannica, and yet, within three hours of tin: English shore, there were deeds of darkness done by the police, at which, lie believed, even the Government of Russia, or of the Second Empire would have quailed. Hon. Members might laugh, but was it not true? Was there a worse case than the cases of Sheridan and Talbot, and the conviction of Kilmartin? They replied that Sheridan was exposed. Yes, he was exposed, but he was able to haunt the very precincts of the Imperial Parliament, and to defy the Chief Secretary to his very face, declaring that though he had committed those crimes the Chief Secretary was afraid to prosecute him.
Now he would come back to the point to which the Attorney General practically confined his observations. First they had the police, who were not responsible to the opinion of the Irish people, and were hostile to them. The police of Ireland were not subject to the Watch Committee of Birmingham or any other large city or town, but they were governed by the Attorney General and Dublin Castle. They had the people brought into almost daily conflict with the police, and there was existing a state of hostility between the officers of the law and the police. A policeman under a despotic Government became by gradual, but by regular and almost inevitable steps, an agent provocateur. The perjurer Sheridan, however, was powerless without the Attorney General; the real criminal—of course, he spoke in a political and not in a personal sense—was the Attorney General, who prepared the packed jury. Yet the Attorney General had not uttered one word of remorse in regard to these proceedings. What did the Irish Nationalist Members care for the mean and wretched instruments of Irish government, when they had high officials whose packing of juries made such crimes possible in Ireland 1 Unionist Members might be right or wrong in thinking that Ireland was better governed from this Assembly than it would be from one of its own, but he would point out to them that during the century the present system had lasted the population of the country had been halved, while the police had been doubled 1422 or quadrupled. They must except the consequence of their policy, and unless they were prepared to have corrupt policemen and packed juries British Government in Ireland could not last.
§ *(6.5.) MR. T. W. RUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
said the Sheridan case was brought up on the Third Heading of the Appropriation Bill last session, and he thought that the hon. Member for East Mayo had done some service in recalling it to the memory of the House and the country. He did not suppose that there was the slightest hope of getting the attention of the House upon any other subject than the Sheridan case on this Vote. It appeared to him that the whole issue with regard to this case lay in a single point. Was it an isolated case or were there reasons for supposing that such cases might be general? He was not prepared to take the ground that hon. Members on the other side had taken, for he believed it was an isolated case. It was a very shocking and a very terrible case, but he did not believe that any one who knew the Royal Irish Constabulary could come to any other conclusion than that it was an isolated and not a general case. [An Irish member: What about Talbot?]. He remembered the ease of Talbot, which was on wholly different lines. He had risen chiefly to point out to the Committee that it was very little use for Members of that House to believe that it was an isolated case, as Members on his side, and, he thought, at least some Members on the other side, believed. The real question was what was the effect of a case like this upon the minds of the people of Ireland. That was the real point of the whole question, and that was the point which had not been touched upon either from the Treasury Bench or from other parts of the House. The great mass of the people of Ireland believed that this was not an isolated case, and that belief being in their minds it shook their whole belief in the just administration of the law courts. That was the real injury that was done by a case like, this. He believed the Chief Secretary's discretion up to a certain point had been admirable. He thought the Chief Secretary was right in holding a secret inquiry as against a public 1423 inquiry; but did the indemnity given to the young policemen who gave evidence against Sheridan, also protect Sheridan? That was the real point; arid, if Sheridan was not protected, he wished to ask why could not the evidence that served to convince the two officers who presided at the special private inquiry have been used in a public court to convict Sheridan. There could be no question about it that some effort should have been made to bring Sheridan to justice, and for this reason if for no other that the Irish people were suspicious to a degree by nature of everything connected with the Government of Ireland, and unquestionably they would say, and they had said, that if Sheridan was not brought to justice it was because the Government were afraid. That was the real danger and the real mischief of this whole case. He thought this was the most deplorable and the saddest case that had occurred in all his knowledge of Ireland, and he was thankful to believe that it was an isolated case.
He wished the Chief Secretary would toll him why the police were used for the purposes they were used for in the West of Ireland. Four or five weeks ago he visited the West of Ireland accompanied by the hon. Member for North West Lanark and the hon. Member for Oldham. If he had gone alone he could have understood that some little attention would have been paid to him, seeing that he had strong convictions on the land question; but, accompanied as he was by gentlemen of such spotless reputations as his companions, there could have been no suspicion with regard to the party. He believed that both of his hon. friends were followers of Lord Rosebery, and therefore they could not be accused of anything very vile or revolutionary. He should like the Committee to understand what kind of thing life was in Ireland. Here were three Members of the Imperial Parliament, just as loyal and just as law abiding as the right hon. Gentleman or any Minister on the Treasury Bench. They did not go to hold any meetings, they did not go to stir up any agitation; but simply for the purpose of seeing for themselves, of getting at the facts, and hearing what the people and the land- 1424 lord himself had to say. What happened? From the moment that they landed on the Do Freyne estate, and during the three days that they were there, until they left by train at Castlerea, they were constantly shadowed by three or four policemen wherever they went. It they took a car, the police were after them on bicycles. Whenever they stopped, the police stopped behind them. If they went out into the streets to speak to friends, the police were on the spot eavesdropping. He wanted to know why these gentlemen going to that part of the country on perfectly lawful and legitimate business, should be subjected to this surveillance by the Irish police in that manner. The hon. Member for Dews-bury had rather more attention paid to him that even ho had. He asked for no explanation for himself — he should not expect any other treatment—but he thought the Chief Secretary was bound to explain how it came about that these policemen, crowded into that place, having nothing else to do, shadowed men who were Members of the House, going there on perfectly legitimate business. Why should they have had a troop of policemen constantly on their track? If the police had got nothing else to do than that, he would vote for the reduction of the Vote by a very large sum. If that was all they had got, to do in Ireland, and they had not much else—[A NATIONALIST MEMBER: "Except put the bit on the horse."] [An HON. MEMBER on the Ministerial Benches below the gangway: "What of the election row?"] The hon. Member below him had reminded him that the police once saved him from an election row. Well, he was not going to say that Ireland should be left without police. But he wanted to know why policemen were sent to every land meeting held in the province of Ulster. Meetings were held there by the score; but why were seven or eight policemen sent to every meeting? There had never been any disturbance or an occasion, on which the services of the police were required. Why should these policemen be drawn from considerable distances to attend these meetings? Of course, it was very interesting for them; they were all farmers' sons and entirely against the landlords He would take the 1425 case of a meeting at Portadown. Two hundred policemen were drafted there lust year to attend a land meeting. Why? It was not because there was the slightest fear of disturbance. But those 200 policemen cost the town £40 or £50 in a special rate, and of course, if the towns had to pay the expense thus incurred, very few meetings would be held. [AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear.] "Hear, hear," said the son of a great Irish landlord. That was a perfectly honest confession. The hon. Member wanted no meetings, but the tenants of the country want them.
§ *(6.17). MR. LUNDON (Limerick, W.)
said that so far the debate had mainly rolled over the body of ex-Sergeant Sheridan, but he intended to go back something farther and thereby furnish proof that this villainous conduct, which had been ascribed to the constabulary force, was not confined to Sergeant Sheridan, as the right hon. the Chief Secretary would have Members of the House believe. On the conclusion of last session the right hon. Gentleman, in studied and glowing language, eloquently described Sergeant Sheridan as an able and ambitious police, officer, who, in his zeal in discharge of his duty, and with the desire of gaining promotion, had committed this grave scandal, thereby insinuating that ho alone was the only delinquent in the force, and that he hoped, so to speak, that in his dismissal "the harm of the year might go with him."
He hoped to be able to show that the contention of the right hon. Gentleman was not tenable, and that there were in the police force not dozens or scores but hundreds of the Sheridan stamp. Some of the older Members of this House would remember when in the end of the autumn, 1865, the late James Stephens was liberated from Richmond prison, where ho had been detained on probably a charge of high treason. Suspicion at first began to be attached to Messrs. Marquis and Meagher, the Governor and Deputy-Governor of the prison; but soon two of the warders, Messrs. John Byrnes and John Breslin, well-known Nationalists, obtained the honour of being marked out as being the perpetrators of what appeared to the Castle authorities this very grave offence. The house of John Byrnes was searched for incriminating documents, with the result that a very officious but a very clumsy policeman alleged that ho found 1426 in the trunk of Mr. Byrnes a document purporting to be a copy of the oath of the Irish Republic. He (Mr. Lundon) after-wards, in the Washington Hall in Jersey City in America, had the honour of a conversation with John Byrnes and James Stephens, in which the former gentleman told him that he had no knowledge whatsoever of the document, but that the policeman had dropped it from his sleeve into the trunk, and in such a clumsy fashion that the Government, fearing the disclosure of the trick, abandoned the prosecution. He was himself, throe months later, in February, 1866, almost made a victim to police trap of a more dangerous character. A policeman named McCarthy, in order to surround him, met a few of his pupils, grown-up young men, coming to school. He then kept a classical academy in the village of Kilteely, and McCarthy said to the young men that he would show them how to march in military fashion and keep the step. They came on towards the village. He heard the tramp, and forthwith on their arrival told them they should not have placed themselves in the hands of such a character and that he hoped it would not be repeated. That was the sum and substance of his connection with this youthful Sheridan, but this man proceeded to Cappamore, which was then headquarters for the district, made an information against him, and one of less consequence against twenty-five others in the parish, which, if successful, might have procured for him on a charge of treason or felony, anything to twenty years penal servitude; and for the others terms of imprisonment under the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act, this Act having been passed on the night of the 17th February, 1866. On coming home from Cappamore McCarthy took some strong drink, with the result that he communicated the nature of his nefarious mission to a friend of the hon. Member's, named Russell, and, as they say in Irish, "sceelan deoch mi-run," that is "drink lets out the evil secret," he tore open the command of his superior officer, read the copies of the informations for those around him, was put under arrest by his sergeant and another policeman, was summarily dismissed from the police force, enlisted in the cavalry, was sent to India, got sun struck there and died within two months. So much for police villainy No. 2. In March, 1867, the nototious 1427 Malachy Murphy, then stationed at New-pallas, put on worn down civilian clothes, furnished himself with a tinker's budget and wont to Templemore to endeavour to entrap Captain Joe Gleeson, whom he suspected of being concerned in the rising in Barnane. Malachy went thence to Thurles, but failed to obtain admission to the Catholic College there, in which he alleged that Captain Gleeson had been concealed, which was not the case; he then went to a Air. Mullarky, Inspector of Constabulary in Borrisoleigh, and brought about thirty policemen from the outlying stations, drilled them in the college grounds, but yet, owing to the firmness of the President and Vice-President of the college, failed to obtain an entrance to that institution. So much for No. 3 policeman. Then again, the episode in connection with the doings of Maurice O'Halloran, police sergeant in the County Clare, at the time of the O'Calhghan evictions around Bodyke and Feakle, and subsequently in the vicinity of Ennis, was yet fresh in the recollections of many of his Irish colleagues. Maurice O'Halloran, in the capacity of what the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool had termed agent provocateur, offered a £10 note to a man to get up outrages and bogus prosecutions. The man took the money, apparently about to become the willing tool of Maurice, but went before the Branch of the League and told the whole story and exploded the would-be plot, offering the money to the League Committee to put it into the funds. The Committee would not touch the polluted note, but cast it away, as in the case of Judas with the price put on the betrayal of our Lord. The money was scattered around, and only the very poor and thoughtless utilised it as a means of procuring intoxicating liquor, or, to speak more plainly, they drank out Maurice's £10 note. To come down to later times, in the year 1889 a certain informer named Cullinan, who represented himself as from Tralee, when brought up afterwards in the trials which ensued, came around to West Clare. Head Constable Whelehan of Lisdoonvarna and Cullinan planned a raid on the house of a man named Sexton, living a mile east of Lisdoonvarna. The Murphys and others from near Kilshanny were seduced into the trap—fine, honest, unsuspecting 1428 young men. The police under Whelehan were embushed in the barns round Sexton's house, and, on a given signal, made a rush for the young men, five or six of whom were arrested. A few fought for their very existence, and one powerful man, with the butt end of a musket, struck Whelehan on the head, smashed in his skull, and killed him on the spot. A few of those arrested got penal servitude. To supplement the appalling narrative given by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division, some time alter the death of that wretched man, Head Constable Talbot, he heard from Mr. Do Guernon, who was resident magistrate in Tipperary, that when he and his brother-in-law were out at the Crimean War, Talbot, then out there also as a commissariat man, gave them money to bring home to his brother, should ho (Talbot) fall in the war. Well, he did not fall in Russia, he was reserved for a more ignoble fate. After the war he came to Mr. Do Guernon, got his money from him, and seven years later on came to him offering his services as an informer, which the hon. Gentleman contemptuously refused. Talbot found a more pliable Government tool, entered as a detective, became a policeman, rose in a few years to the top rank, and was sent down as water bailiff on the river Suir from Carrick to Clonmel, to corrupt the youths around there as English ideas run, and draw them into the ways of conspiracy. How he (Talbot), although a Protestant, went to Mass in the Catholic-Church, committed the awful sacrilege described, and entrapped the men of 1867, had been ably told by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division, but he omitted, perhaps, as a matter of charity, to state that the miserable wretch, four years later on, was shot in the streets of Dublin as the consequence of his villainous doings. Such, were the lamb-like gentlemen in the Irish Constabulary force. It was only a few years since the Mulranny case turned up, in which Sergeant 0'Sullivan endeavoured to entrap the men of West Connaught by bribing them to commit outrages, so as to supply material for coercion and consigning people to imprisonment and perhaps penal servitude. His wicked efforts were nipped in the bud. Was he prosecuted by the 1429 Government of the day? No, he was not. On the contrary, the Government threw their mantle of protection over him, and Sergeant Sullivan was allowed to go scot free to pursue his congenial occupation and to entrap others at a more favourable time. He asked the House, did they think that, as the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary contended, ex-Sergt. Sheridan's case was an isolated one? No; there were dozens, scores, nay, hundreds of Sheridans in the Irish Constabulary force.
Now to come to Sheridan's case, in which he had taken a very decided part. In the spring of last session Sheridan came into the House here and claimed his protection as being the Member for East Limerick, in which he had plied his trade with such dexterity but with such calamitous results. He sent in a card by one of the officials of the House. On receipt of it the hon. Member was surprised that any policeman should want him, as he had never used any (freedom with their class. Sheridan asked him if he knew him. He replied that he had seen him among the police in either Hospital or Herberts-town, two small towns convenient to me. He then told the hon. Member of his activity as a police officer in procuring conviction against a tramp who stole a pair of shoes, and against another person whom he knew to be not a very good character. He further said that the hon. Member might remember how he had procured a conviction against Con Bray for the burning of the hay of Mrs. Quinlan of Lough. The hon. Member replied that he remembered it well, that Mrs. Quinlan, was his friend and as respectable a lady as there was in the County Limerick, but that he had his doubts about the burning of that hay, that he knew Con Bray since he was a child, that he knew his father, Jim Bray, and his mother, all honest people. Sheridan then gave him as reference the names of several respectable people in Hospital. He said in return that they could know nothing about him no more than himself. The hon. Member then asked Sheridan what did he want him to do, and he replied, to apply for an inquiry into his dismissal over the case of tramp Ryan in Mullagh, County Clare, that he 1430 was the victim of a foul conspiracy, in which Inspector Irvine, who, he alleged, had been mixed up in the French and Cornwall scandals, was the leading figure, and that not only could he prove his innocence, but that he could make some very damaging revelations. The hon. Member said he would go for the inquiry, and, if possible, saddle the right horse; also that he believed there were about 13,000 men in the Irish Constabulary force, and if every man of them was dismissed within an hour, or carried by an evil blast of wind into the Red Sea, it would not give him the slightest annoyance. Subsequently, on the Appropriation Bill, he spoke on the whole matter in this House, and on different occasions aided his friend the hon. Member for East Mayo in bringing on the inquiry in Hospital.
He now asked, why did not the right hon. the Chief Secretary place Sheridan on his trial. He had said that he had not materials on hand for his conviction, but his predecessor was not long waiting for materials to convict Con Bray. The innocent young man was watched by Sheridan and Constable Keegan when, on his return from Charleville, where he had been on business, he was escorted from Knocklong by two respectable young men, who could give evidence on his behalf. On arriving at the fair green of Hospital, between tiredness, drink, and sleep, he fell on the roadside. Sheridan went and set fire to Mrs. Quinlan's hay, came back again, roused up Bray, and took him to barracks; returned again to where he found Bray asleep, and before a witness named Butler, drew the attention of the constable and the other man to the fire, asking their opinion as to the locality of the fire. All three agreed that it must be in the direction of Mrs. Quinlan's farmhouse. On his arrival, he roused up the Quinlan family and searched around for clues as to the perpetrator, when lo! he found Con Bray's cap, which the villain had previously taken off the boy's head and bore it away as a trophy to procure conviction. He traced the buying of the cap to the house of a respectable trader in the town. The Crown behaved as scandalously as Sheridan. The alleged offence was committed on the night of the 27th of 1431 November. A Court was hurriedly summoned, outside the usual practice. Con Bray was returned for trial. He could have been bailed in the ordinary course, as there was scarcely a respectable man in the town or parish would refuse to bail him, in which eventuality he would have been returned for the Limerick January Quarter Sessions, where he could obtain a fair trial; but no, that would not do for the Crown; he was returned for the Cork Winter Assizes before a packed jury, convicted, sentenced to three years penal servitude, and all this within six days from committal of offence. Poor Con Bray died as the result. The case of Murphy later on for the stabbing and killing of Cregan's ass on the lands of Ballinamona, affords yet another instance of Sheridan's villainy. Murphy, frightened out of his wits, pleaded guilty and got six months. Keegan and Anderson were not put on trial with Sheridan, but afterwards, in order to undermine the chances of an investigation, were promoted, rewarded, and sent away, nobody knows where, from the Irish Constabulary. The Chief Secretary maintained that this case was an isolated one. He (the hon. Member) has proved differently, and he hoped that as the hon Member for South Tyrone thought Sheridan's case perhaps the only one of the kind, he might yet, when the scales fell from his eyes, think quite differently.
§ (6.44.) MR. H. C. RICHARDS (Finsbury, E.)
said he rose because of some remarks which fell from the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool, who had charged some hon. Members on the Government side with having smiled in regard to what they all agreed was a disgraceful admission in regard to the doings of Sheridan. The hon. Member had drawn a comparison with Russia, but if he only knew as much about Russia as some other hon. Gentlemen he would know that what he had said was not at all an appropriate comparison. As far as the facts were concerned, the hon. Member who had just addressed the House in an interesting and eloquent speech had quite answered the hon. Member for South Tyrone, and, as a representative of Irish opinion, he preferred the hon. Member for Limerick who had just spoken in preference to the hon. Member for South 1432 Tyrone, who, although he sat on the Ministerial side of the House, generally voted against the Government. The Chief Secretary had been denounced for not prosecuting this man Sheridan, but it was not wise to attempt a prosecution which would be bound to fail on the evidence. No one knew better than the hon. Gentleman opposite who had been Attorney General for England that no Attorney General would authorise the prosecution, nor would any judge permit the conviction, of any person simply upon the evidence of the incriminated parties. If there was other evidence, then he admitted that the case stood on quite a different basis, but the Attorney General for Ireland was quite justified in saying that it would be wrong, having given an indemnity to these constables, to put them into the witness-box, and there was no judge sitting en the English Bench who would allow any persons to be convicted on the evidence alone of confederates. He hoped that the judicial rulings in Ireland were the same. [Nationalist cries of "Oh, oh!"] He assured hon. Members opposite that hon. Members on his side of the House had every sympathy with their desire to probe this affair, but it could not have been done by starting a prosecution which was bound to fail. He asked hon. Members opposite to believe that hon. Members on the Ministerial side were as anxious as hon. Members opposite to see that the fountains of justice were kept pure. He admired the eloquence of his hon. and learned friend, although he did not agree with his conclusion that nothing but self-government would secure what they all desired to see, namely, justice in the smallest police court in the country. They were all anxious to assist hon. Members opposite to obtain justice, but was their case likely to be assisted by attacking the Attorney General in such a manner as this? There was no difficulty in getting at Sheridan, who was constantly in the precincts of the House, and any of his hon. and learned friends opposite were competent if, as they said, there was untainted evidence against this man, to lay an information and get him arrested, and once the case had gone to committal the Attorney General would be bound to take it up. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division made an 1433 appeal to the English love of fair play. Hon. Gentlemen opposite had the sympathy of many Members on this side of the House, but what prevented greater co operation with Irish Members was the way in which they presented their case.
§ MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)
could not conceive a more appalling story than that which had been laid before the Committee by his hon. friend the Member for East Mayo. The Committee heard always a good deal about law and order, but if they analysed the facts laid before them by the hon. Member for East Mayo they would find that law and order was administered in Ireland in a way in which it was not administered in any other country. The case of Sheridan was not an isolated case, and what must be the state of things when such a case as that could happen? It proved the little faith which the poor peasant had in the administration of justice when he pleaded guilty to such an offence when he was innocent, in order to get a lighter punishment. No doubt he was weak in pleading guilty as he did, but he did so in order to avoid the horrible punishment he would suffer at the hands of the packed jury who found him guilty. There was no promotion in the Irish constabulary unless the constables identified themselves with the punishment and persecution of the people. The Sheridan case showed up in a lurid light the spirit in which the law was administered. Those who knew little or nothing of Ireland thought these matters were greatly exaggerated, but the speech of the Chief Secretary proved that they were not so, and the speech of the Attorney General had also a certain value, inasmuch as it admitted that jury-packing did exist in Ireland. Of one thing the Committee might be certain, and that was that this case of Sheridan was only typical of many cases which occurred in Ireland. There was the case of Constable Talbot, who came down to his (Mr. Power's) own neighbourhood, under the name of John Kelly. This man was employed there as a water bailiff, and he even went the length, although not a Catholic, of attending Mass. Ultimately, this men Kelly was shot in the streets of Dublin, 1434 but were not the authorities who employed such men far worse than these poor creatures? The constabulary and the Government knew what line of action this man was pursuing. They had just heard the defence of the Chief Secretary, who had a bad case to defend, and he had made a bad defence. What he wanted to know was—Why was the evidence not produced in Sheridan's case? He believed, as a matter of fact, that the authorities were ashamed of what would come out, and the blatant way in which Sheridan paraded in this House, and told the Government that they were afraid of the evidence that would connect them with some of these cases, was one reason why Sheridan had been allowed to escape.
The police were called upon to do the most hideous duty in Ireland, and it was idle to deny that bad feeling did exist between the people and the police. At the present time "shadowing" prevailed wherever they went. Not long ago he was at a fair with another person, and a constable followed them about the whole of the time. Even when they went into shops the constable followed them, and his friend told him that he was being "shadowed" because he was suspected of pointing out boycotted cattle at the fairs. If that was the way in which men were treated in public life in comparatively large towns in Ireland, what must be the tyranny in the rural districts? He could give other instances, but he would not now detain the Committee. They could not blind themselves to the fact that the Irish constabulary, which cost such an enormous sum of money every ear, was not a police force in any sense of the word. It was really an armed military force which ruled Ireland, and he should like to know if the right hon. Gentleman contended that the constabulary should also be the judges as to whether public meetings should be allowed. It was notorious that the constabulary, while they allowed certain Members of Parliament to address meetings, often prevented others from doing so. Upon one occasion the Member for East Clare was allowed to address a meeting, while the Member of Parliament for the district was not allowed to speak. They were bound to protest against this sum of money spent upon the constabulary 1435 which produced ill will and bad feeling between the police and the people. English rule in Ireland was not based upon the goodwill of the people, but it was a bludgeon rule enforced by people in whom the Irish nation had no confidence.
§ *(7.10.) MR. HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)
said he was surprised to hear the Attorney General deliver in such a heated manner an attack upon his hon. colleague. The right hon. Gentleman had once again been obliged to resort to the old tu quoque argument which for the last seven years the Government had always adopted when a question of the administration of the law in Ireland was discussed in the House of Commons. With regard to jury-packing, he repudiated in the strongest manner the suggestion that the late Government resorted to jury-packing in Ireland to the extent to which the present Government had followed the practice. One of the earliest acts of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose was to issue a circular to crown solicitors, directing that no man should be challenged as a juryman on account of his religious belief. He was not going to occupy the time of the Committee discussing the question of jury packing, because the opportunity for that would probably arise at the later stage of the Estimates, but whenever it did arise he should never hesitate to say that as far as he was individually concerned he deprecated to the utmost degree the resorting to jury-packing which was peculiar to Ireland, and which had never been resorted to in England except under such limits as the administration of justice necessarily imposed. The law in England was the same in regard to juries, and there was no reason why any Government professing to administer the same law in both countries should resort to a practice so repugnant to every Englishman that occasionally some sixty or seventy jurors might be challenged on one panel.
He wished to repudiate, on behalf of the Irish administration of which he was a Member, that they over resorted to such practices as those which had been imputed to them by the right hon. Gentleman opposite. There was a case which arose very soon after the Liberal Government came into office, that led to the issuing of the circular to which he had referred, 1436 but beyond that he did not think any case of the abuse of the jury system could be brought home to the late administration. English Members must feel some qualms of conscience after hearing the debate this afternoon. The speeches made by the Chief Secretary and others, and the eloquent and earnest language of the hon. Member for Limerick, who gave so many facts showing that there was something rotten in the constabulary system, must make English members feel certain qualms of conscience in being parties to governing a country under such a system. The Chief Secretary admitted that this man Sheridan was a party to the conviction of at least four innocent men, who were sentenced to long terms of imprisonment and some to penal servitude, and when their innocence was ascertained the right hon. Gentleman felt that some reparation was due to them for the misery and suffering inflicted upon them by the conduct of Sheridan. The hon. and learned Member for East Finsbury had shown that he was not at all acquainted with criminal procedure in Ireland, for he had asked why did the hon. Member for Waterford not take up a prosecution against Sheridan himself. The hon. Member should have known that all these cases were taken up by the Crown in Ireland, and he apparently forgot the distinction that exists between the criminal procedure of the two countries. Consequently, the whole of the arguments he used were quite irrelevant and beside the question.
He differed from the hon. Member opposite who suggested that there could be no possible ground for prosecuting Sheridan, and he denied that contention altogether. According to the Chief Secretary there was an indemnity given to the men who had come forward and given evidence against Sheridan. The effect of that was to prevent them from being prosecuted for any complicity in Sheridan's offence, but that was no reason why they should not have been put into the witness box against Sheridan. A witness was bound to state the facts, and though he might sometimes incriminate himself, he would not be brought to justice, because he had been given an indemnity. A complete case might have been proved against Sheridan, because there were three or four witnesses. Even if the prosecution 1437 had miscarried, he asked why, in the name of morality and of common justice, Sergeant Sheridan was not brought into the light of a court of justice. A terrible imputation now lay upon the Government, and the administration itself was under a black and heavy cloud, because they had been obliged to admit that some live or six dreadful and false charges, culminating in convictions, had been initiated and supported by one member of the Irish constabulary, and connived at by another member of that force, and these men were now walking at large, without any attempt being made to bring them to justice. There was a certain law of right which must govern all administrations in carrying out justice, arid there was a limit on neither side of which justice ought to stray. No matter what the result might have been, the Government should have instituted a public prosecution against Sheridan upon the evidence of those policemen whom they had indemnified. English, Scotch, and Welsh Members of Parliament would now know how far they were justified in voting £1,500,000 to the maintenance of a force in Ireland which included such characters as those whose conduct had been discussed, and such occurrences must make them consider the advisability of adopting some other system. By there facts some light had been thrown upon the entire failure of the administration of law and justice in Ireland, and if the system of police was rotten and corrupt, then the course of justice must necessarily be unsound and unreliable.
§ MR. ROBSON (South Shields)
said it seemed to him, not only as an English lawyer, but as a Member of Parliament, that they were not exaggerating the matter before them. The defence of the Government seemed to be that the crime of Sheridan was to be treated as an isolated offence, and notes an instance of what prevailed throughout the Irish Constabulary. That might be the case or it might not, but there was one matter which could not be isolated, and it was the fact that an innocent man who had been brought before an Irish tribunal, had pleaded guilty in absolute despair of receiving anything like justice at the hands of that tribunal. 1438 This tribunal was not a mere local one, but it was a court which owed its existence and character to the action of the executive Government. They had heard a great deal about packed juries, but he-had always understood that every English Government repudiated the charge of packing juries. He had always believed that the Attorney-General for Ireland repudiated that charge, but in his defence he had made what was almost an explicit admission in regard to packing juries. When the Attorney General was called upon to explain this state of things, what did he do? He at once made an attack upon his hon. and learned friend which, in his opinion, was most unjustifiable and undeserved. Beyond this attack the Attorney General had absolutely nothing more to say, and in a charge of this kind, not merely against the Government but against the whole system of administering justice under the British flag in Ireland, all they got was a speech from the head of the Irish Bar, responsible for the administration of justice in Ireland, in which he made an attack upon his predecessors in office. That was not only an improper mode of dealing with the subject, but it was not a proper way to treat the House of Commons. There had been no defence of this action on the part of the Government, and on the contrary, one of the chosen champions of the Government, the hon. Member for Finsbury, had got up and made a most remarkable suggestion. He asked why, if the Government did not prosecute, Members of the Party opposite did not undertake the prosecution themselves. And then having put that question, and believing that he had inveigled his opponents on to the horns of a dilemma, he explained at some length why they should not prosecute at all. He pointed out that they could not get a conviction unless they had signed statements from these men. Hut only the Government possessed those documents, and with those statements in their pocket the Chief Secretary declined to prosecute, while their champion called upon the Irish Members without those statements to undertake the prosecution of Sheridan. This subject had been treated in an altogether unworthy spirit by the Government. He 1439 did not blame the Chief Secretary so much, for he thought they had good reason to be proud of the courage and candour with which the Chief Secretary had dealt with this question up to a certain point, but at that point he had fallen short. Why did he not prosecute Sheridan? There had been no answer to that question, and no explanation had been given. There was plenty of other corroborative evidence without the indemnified witnesses, for they had the evidence of the
§ victims. There was the evidence of the confederates and the victims employed, and it was nothing less than a scandal and an outrage on justice that this man Sheridan should remain un-prosecuted.
§ (7.28.) Question put.
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes, 102; Noes, 195. (Division List No. 282.)1441
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)|
|Allan, Sir William (Gateshead)||Harmsworth, R. Leicester||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Allen, Charles P.(Glouc., Stroud)||Harrington, Timothy||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Malley, William|
|Atherley-Jones, L.||Hayne, Rt. Hon. Charles Seale-||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Beaumont, Wentworth C. B.||Healy, Timothy Michael||Partington, Oswald|
|Boland, John||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Brigg, John||Holland, Sir William Henry||Reckitt, Harold James|
|Brown, George M. (Edinburgh)||Horniman, Frederick John||Reddy, M.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Burt, Thomas||Joyce, Michael||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Caldwell, James||Kennedy, Patrick James||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries)|
|Cameron, Robert||Kitson, Sir James||Roberts, John Bryn (Eifion)|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.)||Robson, William Snowdon|
|Carew, James Laurence||Leamy, Edmund||Runciman, Walter|
|Causton, Richard Knight||Leng, Sir John||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lewis, John Herbert||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Delany, William||Lough, Thomas||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.)||Lundon, W.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Dillon, John||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Doogan, P. C.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dunn, Sir William||Mac Veagh, Jeremiah||Tennant, Harold John|
|Edwards, Frank||M'Govein, T.||Thomas, JA (Glamorgan, Gower|
|Elibank, Master of||M'Kean, John||Thompson, Dr E. C (Monagh'n, N|
|Evans, Samuel T. (Glamorgan)||Mooney, John J.||Tully, Jasper|
|Fenwick, Charles||Morgan, J. Lloyd(Carmarthen)||Walton, John Lawson (Leeds, S.)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Moss, Samuel||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Field, William||Murphy, John||Wilson, Fred. W.(Norfolk, Mid.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Young, Samuel|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Foster, Sir Walter (Derby Co.)||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||Norman, Henry|
|Goddard, Daniel Ford||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Grant, Corrie||O'Brien, Kendal(Tipperary Mid||Sir Thomas Esmonde and|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Captain Donelan.|
|Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary, N.)|
|Acland-Hood, Capt. Sir Alex. F.||Blundell, Colonel Henry||Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Brodrick, Rt. Hon. St. John||Coddington, Sir William|
|Agnew, Sir Andrew Noel||Brookfield, Colonel Montagu||Coghill, Douglas Harry|
|Archdale, Edward Mervyn||Bullard, Sir Harry||Collings, Rt. Hon. Jesse|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Butcher, John George||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas|
|Arnold-Forster, Hugh O.||Carlile, William Walter||Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Cavendish, V. C.W.(Derbyshire)||Cross, Herb. Shepherd (Bolton)|
|Bailey, James (Walworth)||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Crossley, Sir Savile|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cecil, Lord Hugh (Greenwich)||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J.(Manch'r||Chamberlain, J. Austen (Worc'r.||Dalrymple, Sir Charles|
|Balfour, Capt. C. B. (Hornsey)||Chamberlayne, T. (S'thampton||Denny, Colonel|
|Balfour, Rt Hn. Gerald W.(Leeds||Chapman, Edward||Dickinson, Robert Edmond|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Charrington, Spencer||Dickson, Charles Scott|
|Bontinck, Lord Henry C.||Churchill, Winston Spencer||Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph|
|Bigwood, James||Clive, Captain Percy A.||Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Knowles, Lees||Ridley, Hon. M. W.(Stalybridge|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Laurie, Lt.-General||Ritchie, Rt. Hon. Chas. Thomson|
|Egerton, Hon. A. de Tatton||Lawrence, Wm. F. (Liverpool)||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield)|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Lawson, John Grant||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Lees, Sir Elliott (Birkenhead)||Rolleston, Sir John F. L.|
|Fellowes, Hon. Ailwyn Edward||Leigh-Bennett, Henry Currie||Ropner, Colonel Robert|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hn. Sir J.(Manc'r||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Bristol, S.)||Round, Rt. Hon. James|
|Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Russell, T. W.|
|Finch, George H.||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford-|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lucas, Reginald J. (Portsmouth||Sadler, Col. Samuel Alexander|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lyttelton, Hon. Alfred||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Fison, Frederick William||Macartney, Rt. Hn. W. G. Ellison||Seely, Maj J. E. B.(Isle of Wight)|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose-||Macdona, John Cumming||Seton-Karr, Henry|
|Fitzroy, Hon Edward Algernon||MacIver, David (Liverpool)||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Maconochie, A. W.||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Smith, H C(North'mb. Tyneside|
|Flower, Ernest||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Smith, James Parker(Lanarks.)|
|Galloway, William Johnson||Manners, Lord Cecil||Spear, John Ward|
|Garfit, William||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Stanley, Hn. Arthur(Ormskirk)|
|Gordon, Hn. J. E(Elgin & Nairn)||Maxwell, Rt. Hn. Sir H. E (Wigt'n||Stanley, Edward Jas.(Somerset)|
|Gore, Hn G. R.C. Ormsby-(Salop||Maxwell, W. J. H (Dumfriesshire||Stanley, Lord (Lancs.)|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.)||Meysey-Thompson, Sir H. M.||Stirling-Maxwell, Sir John M.|
|Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon||Milvain, Thomas||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Goschen, Hon. George Joachim||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Sturt, Hon. Humphry Napier|
|Greene, Sir E. W (B'ryS Edm'nds||Montagu, Hon. J. Scott (Hants.)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Gretton, John||Moore, William (Antrim, N.)||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G.(Oxf'd Univ.|
|Greville, Hon. Ronald||Morgan, David J.(Walthamstow||Thorburn, Sir Walter|
|Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Morrell, George Herbert||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Morrison, James Archibald||Tomlinson, Sir Wm. Edw. M.|
|Hamilton, Rt Hn Lord G (Midd'x||Morton, Arthur H. A. (Deptford)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Hamilton, Marq of(L'nd'nderry||Mount, William Arthur||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hanbury, Rt. Hn. Robert Wm.||Mowbray, Sir Robert Gray C.||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E H (Sheffield|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Murray, Rt Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Harris, Frederick Leverton||Murray, Charles J. (Coventry)||Wanklyn, James Leslie|
|Haslam, Sir Alfred S.||Newdigate, Francis Alexander||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Nicholson, William Graham||Warr, Augustus Frederick|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Nicol, Donald Ninian||Welby, Lt.-Col. A. C.E(Taunton)|
|Heath, Arthur Howard(Hanley||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Williams, Colonel R. (Dorset)|
|Heath, James (Staffords. N. W.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Lindsay||Wilson, Chas. Henry (Hull, W.)|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Penn, John||Wilson, John (Glasgow)|
|Henderson, Sir Alexander||Percy, Earl||Wodehouse, Rt. Hn. E. R.(Bath)|
|Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert T.||Plummer, Walter R.||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Hogg, Lindsay||Pretyman, Ernest George||Wylie, Alexander|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Purvis, Robert||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Hoult, Joseph||Quilter, Sir Cuthbert||Younger, William|
|Howard, J no.(Kent, Faversham||Randles, John S.|
|Hudson, George Bickersteth||Rankin, Sir James|
|Kenyon, Hon. Geo. T.(Denbigh)||Rasch, Major Frederic Carne||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Keswick, William||Remnant, James Farquharson||Sir William Walrond and|
|Kimber, Henry||Renshaw, Charles Bine||Mr. Anstruther.|
|King, Sir Henry Seymour||Richards, Henry Charles|
§ Original Question again proposed.
§ It being after half-past Seven of the clock, and objection being taken to further proceeding, the Chairman left the Chair to make his Report to the House.
§ Committee report progress; to sit again this evening.