§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. FIELD (Dublin, St. Patrick)
said that judging from the sparse attendance of the jury—otherwise the Conservative and Liberal Members, whose votes and not Irish opinion would decide the issue—it might be imagined that this Bill was unimportant. But such was not the case, 18 notwithstanding the absence of those who were expected and elected to take I an interest in the maintenance of constitutional principles. Generally speaking in Party Governments power alone was respected, principles were upheld to-day and discarded to-morrow just as it suited the occasion. The provision of the Act which the Irish Party sought to-day to repeal might be regarded as the latest pocket edition of the penal laws up to date, ensuring the political disqualification of popular Irishmen from sitting on local councils. This exceptional law they intended to erase from the Statute-book, as it was diametrically opposed to constitutional usage, for in all constitutionally governed countries the rulers were governed by the people and subjected to popular control. Every student of history knew that it was by technical treason and open revolt that liberty was won, by breaking despotic laws whether imposed by a dominant minority—through Parliamentary agency—or by an aristocracy, oligarchy, or monarchy. This was what the men who were disqualified had been doing in Ireland. He therefore trusted that the House, and especially those entrusted with the responsible task of governing Ireland—those gentlemen on the Front Bench, who were instigated and assisted by Dublin Castle officials who practically governed Ireland—would take a broad, statesmanlike view of this reasonable demand, which was free from passion, prejudice, or Party pressure. This was the spirit in which he proposed to argue this subject from a constitutional standpoint. In refutation of exploded coercive theories, he would quote Lord Brougham's writings on democratic government. He said—The course of legislation must always keep pace with the age. The people always communicate to the laws the impression of their own opinions. No sinister influence can interfere to check the progress of improvement; no prejudices of one class, no selfish views have any weight.He commended that quotation from an English Lord Chancellor to the consideration of the right lion. Gentlemen on the Front Bench. The law they sought to repeal afforded proof of the present peculiar position of the Irish people in relation to the laws which governed them. The Irish people were not permitted to communicate to the laws the impression of their own opinions; on the 19 contrary, Parliament frequently rejected: the advice given by the Irish Parliamentary Party who were elected to voice popular opinion in that House. Where a hostile majority prevailed it was the effect of laws like the one they were now discussing that brought English-made law into disrepute and contempt in Ireland and elsewhere. It explained the exclamation of the Irish emigrant in New York who, shortly after his arrival, was asked to join in a demonstration and replied that he would if it was against the Government; for in Ireland the masses of the people were against the Government. Some hon. Members opposite might flout at this incident as trivial, and disregard it as an argument, but to any thinking man it conveyed a message for serious reflections, because the interests of the State which the Government was supposed to represent should be identical with the interests of the majority of its inhabitants. But as John Stuart Mill expressed it—The Government which calmly allowed the emigration of large numbers of its inhabitants stands self-condemned.The old Roman proverb, Summum jus, summa injuria, "the greater the law the greater the injury," might truly be applied to nearly all British Parliamentary legislation dealing with Irish affairs up to a very recent period. At last, owing to the agitation of powerful national organisations in Ireland and the actions of the Irish Parliamentary Party in this House, English legislators had begun to perceive dimly that the interest of the whole society was binding upon every part of the United Kingdom. According to constitutional theory the people were the State, and public opinion should be the breath of the law. But English law makers had in the past apparently based their Irish legislation in many instances upon exactly the opposite doctrine, so it worked out at the present moment that under the provisions of the Local Government Act, men in Ireland who fearlessly advocated popular progressive ideas were picked out for punishment and penalised as criminals by British law— whilst the so-called convicts were rightly regarded by the Irish people as political heroes. Surely this was not a satis- 20 factory evolution of political progress in the twentieth century as a result of what was termed constitutional government.
With regard to the advisability of consulting the people's opinion, it might be useful to quote words used by the right hon. Gentleman the late Colonial Secretary. Some years ago he said—Government by the people meant Government for the people—great social questions which are every day becoming more important can only be satisfactorily settled when the whole of the people take a part in the work of legislation.Now he maintained that this Bill was a measure of social reform to remove a disability which should never have been placed upon the Statute-book. It was an enactment which penalised the chosen leaders of the Irish people and by a kind of political somersault turned a political proceeding into a crime. So far as he could learn, in no other civilised country was such legal jugglery known nor would it be tolerated in any free nation. It might be the practice in Russia or Turkey, but those were not precedents to justify its adoption in Ireland. It was often argued that they had the same laws in Ireland as in Great Britain, and it might be asked, Why not disqualify the passive resisters or other political enthusiasts?" If he was correctly informed, a free-fooder in Ireland could be imprisoned with hard labour if prosecuted under this law. But he did not favour coercion, for no man should be persecuted for his opinions, yet that had been customary, perhaps, in Ireland and the sanction of usage and precedent was frequently invoked and would probably be used in the course of this debate. But as Austin, an eminent jurist, laid down—Many of the legal and moral rules which obtain force in the most civilised communities rest upon brute custom and not upon manly reason.It followed as a necessary corollary that all modern constitutional Governments were more or less revolutionary, changing old formulæ injurious to public expediency and general utility, which were the foundations and measure of civil obedience. As to an argument against the danger of change, Bentham wrote—If the law is good it will support itself. If it is bad it should not be supported by the 21 irrevocable theory which is never resorted to, but is a veil of abuses.He would again commend this quotation to the attention of the right hon. Gentleman representing Irish officialism, for Ireland was constitutionally entitled to be governed upon the principle of popular consensus and not of subjection. They urged this claim upon those in temporary office, for as Brougham stated—The mere advantage of an established Government gives no right to the obedience of the people governed contrary to the principle of comparative advantage to the whole community.If this be not accorded then the higher law of self-preservation would come into operation. It was usual in constitutional Governments that the form and parts of the Legislature, together with the respective powers, office, duration, and mutual dependence of the several parts, should undergo alteration whenever expediency required it, either by the effect of the ordinary action of the Legislature which they were now seeking in the repeal of this obnoxious provision contained in the local Government (Ireland) Act, which, if it was refused, would ultimately be brought about by the interposition of the Irish people. They were constantly told that in Ireland they were living under constitutional government. He did not agree with tint at all. They were only nominally under constitutional government. All the officers under a constitutional Government were, and ought to be, simply the creatures of the people who created them by election and maintained them by taxation.
Although the majority in that House did not represent Irish opinion that democratic principle had been recognised to a certain extent in order that local government in Ireland might be made more efficient and more economical than under the old system of centralisation. Parliament therefore passed the Local Government Act with certain reservations and restrictions. The landlords accepted that Act, and so also did the other House of Parliament, possibly for two reasons. One was that the Act was accompanied with a large monetary gift suitable to their interests, and, further, it was probably made the more acceptable as it contained the 22 penal provision they complained of by which advocates of the popular cause who were condemned to hard labour were disqualified. It was the fashion for law-and-order critics who made sneering do duty for philosophy to assert that but for seditious newspapers and mob-orators there would be no agitation in Ireland. But anyone acquainted with the temper of the time, and the practical materialistic trend of this generation, must acknowledge that unless the body politic and its individual units were suffering from a grievance, whether it were sentimental or material, men would neither agitate nor support organisations. The Irish people were compelled to agitate because the House had left them no other alternative. The House must remember that the obligations of the Members and the people were reciprocal. Loyalty was simply a contract. They could not have authority without responsibility. Lord Brougham said—When a Government does not protect the people but rather utilises them as the material to provide rent, and taxation, and at the same time oppresses them with rigorous laws which have not the consent of popular auction, resistance becomes a sacred duty.further he asked—What is the plain and simple test of the merits of any Constitution—does it secure to the people the best laws at the smallest expense of money and subjection?Regarding the first Question, to use a Ministerial phrase, it was answered in the negative by the verdict of the Financial Relations Committee—a jury of financial experts who declared that Ireland was overtaxed by £2,750,000 per annum. With the war taxation it was now beyond £4,000,000 a year. As to the second Question, respecting the smallest expense of subjection, Ireland was saddled with a perpetual Coercion Act, passed in a period of panic. Further, the right to bear arms, which appertained to every citizen in a free nation, was denied to the Irish people, although it was enjoyed by the negroes in America. This proved that the government of Ireland by this Parliament was against the wish of the Irish people; although that consent was the basis of constitutional authority. Unless this Bill was allowed to pass, the policy of gaols for the friends of the people, and office for their opponents, would be perpetuated, like the Coercion 23 Act. It was evident to those who took the trouble to think out this important problem of Irish government that until popular opinion was consulted there must be intermittent trouble and discontent in Ireland. He had quoted statesmen and jurists, and he could multiply authorities, but he had adduced sufficient evidence to prove his contention. If the Government really desired to have the Local Government Act in Ireland administered on constitutional lines they would at once and without hesitation accept this Bill. The Local Government Act had worked well all over the country, and that proved the capacity of the Irish people to govern themselves. He would, there for earnestly impress on the House, which was responsible for the good government of Ireland, the advisability of adopting a wise policy based on constitutional principles. He therefore begged to move the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ * MR. HAYDEN (Roscommon, S.)
said the Bill now before the House was an exceedingly plain and simple one—so simple that it scarcely required any explanation. The Irish Members hoped that the Attorney-General would immediately tell them whit was the position of the Government towards the measure. Last year, during, he thought, one of the discussions on the Land Bill, the Attorney-General made a statement which led the Irish Party at least to hope that the Government was favourably disposed towards such a measure as that now introduced. At that time the right hon. Gentleman declared that he was not able to speak expressly for the Government as the Chief Secretary was absent, but he certainly spoke in a manner which led him to think that the provision of the Coercion Act in relation to local government would practically be repealed. The Irish people had shown themselves worthy of the trust reposed in them six years ago, when the system of local government was extended to that country. Every person who had been brought into touch with the working of local government in Ireland, even the most hostile, acknowledged that the system had succeeded far beyond the anticipations of its authors. From the reports of the Local Government Board— 24 not a Board unduly favourably disposed towards Ireland—it was evident that the system had succeeded even better than it had done in England, where for centuries the people had been entrusted with some power of local government.
In the Irish Local Government Act there was a provision which disqualified persons who had been sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour from membership of the local governing bodies. On the broad principle of that disqualification the Irish Party felt no objection whatever; they had no desire that criminals should sit on their local governing bodies, and such persons would not have the slightest chance of election. If any person during his term of office were sentenced to such imprisonment for some criminal act which he had committed the public opinion of the district, and of the body to which he had been elected, would be so strong that he could not act. But in Ireland, unfortunately, they were not able to look at things from the same point of view as persons in England would examine the affairs of their own country. In Ireland there was an extraordinary Act, which was popularly known as the Coercion Act. It was passed seventeen years ago, and it was made perpetual, because it had been found that during each year succeeding the Union it was necessary to pass a Coercion Act. The Act of 1887 was rushed through the House of Commons, owing to the application of the closure. Most of its provisions were never discussed for a single instant. The present Prime Minister, who was then Chief Secretary for Ireland, distinctly promised that in every case there should be an appeal, but that promise had never been fulfilled. It was quite a common thing for the resident magistrates, who in the first instance gave the sentence on prisoners convicted under that Act, and who were not criminals—no one alleged that they were criminals in the ordinary sense— to sentence these prisoners to hard labour for a month, in which case there was no appeal. And to these men there was this disqualification attached under the Local Government Act. The strange part of the whole procedure was that the class of prisoners who, in the main, were convicted under the Coercion Act, were 25 prominent politicians either in the country generally or in their own locality —men respected in the highest degree and who were elected to positions of trust in their own districts and even sent to represent their town or district in that House, and whom not even their most violent enemies alleged to be criminals. Take the attitude of hon. Members of this House towards the persons convicted under the Coercion Act. There were at least thirty Members sitting on these Benches who had been imprisoned under the Coercion Act, many of them sentenced to hard labour. Who, in this House, from the Speaker downward, thought that one of these men was a criminal of the ordinary sort? Hon. Members might think what they liked about their political views. They might differ from them, or be violently hostile to them; they might not like the "flavour" which came from these. Benches; but there was one thing absolutely certain, that whether the were Irish landlords, or English Tories, or Liberals, they did not regard these men as criminals. They were not disqualified from sitting in that House; but they were disqualified, if a sentence of hard labour was passed upon them, from sitting in the smallest local representative body in the country. That was an anomaly. Surely if these men were not fit to sit on county councils or urban and district councils they were not fit to sit in the House of Commons. The House of Commons, out of respect to itself, ought to expel them from the House. If they were criminals and if the House of Commons believed them to be criminals it would have the courage to move their expulsion from the House. But the House did not do so, because the law under which so many of the Irish Members had been sent to prison with hard labour, was unconstitutional and one which the House could not now defend.
The Coercion Act had been put into operation on two occasions— first, when it was passed in 1887 and in the succeeding years; and second, three years ago when the present Chief Secretary revived it. Under that Act various persons whom the Chief Secretary frequently consulted, or tried to consult, in reference to the government of Ireland hid been sent to prison. And 26 what was the cause of enforcing the provisions of the Coercion Act? It was because there was a strong land agitation in the country. That agitation was succeeded by enactments passed in this House — enactments which, unfortunately, were only partly on the lines of that agitation. Last year, most of the time of Parliament was taken up with the consideration of the Land Purchase Bill. But the land agitation, against which all the Coercion Acts of the last twenty-five years had been passed, was the chief cause of the passage of that Land Purchase Bill. Now, when Parliament had partly confirmed and wholly committed itself to the principle of land purchase, in response to the agitation to which he had referred, and against which the Coercion Act was directed, surely, even if the ordinary law of the land was broken, convictions such as these ought not to be a disability to men sitting on local government boards. The Coercion Act provided for imprisonment, even with hard labour, but it did not attach to that sentence any civil disability. It left the man free as an ordinary citizen of the country. It did not deprive him of his vote. But the Local Government Act came in. As to its general provisions the Irish Members had nothing to say so far as the ordinary law was concerned. But it took in a provision by which the indefeasible Coercion Act could be put in force by a stroke of the pen of the Chief Secretary. All that the Irish Members asked was that that provision of the Local Government Act, so far as it applied to hard-labour sentences under the Coercion Act, should be repealed. That was the whole joint. It was a plain, simple, and a very moderate claim. They had a right, if they chose, to make this Local Government Amendment Bill a very elaborate one; but they preferred to confine it to the one point upon which the declaration of the Attorney-General last year give them some hope and confidence that they would succeed. They, on the Irish Benches, asked the right lion. Gentleman to make, at once, a plain and clear statement as to what was the decision of the Government upon this point. They did no want to make long speeches about Local Government Bills and Coercion Acts; but they asked, what they were 27 entitled to, a satisfactory answer to the Question which he had put.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ SIR JAMES HASLETT (Belfast, N.)
said that he confessed his high appreciation of the admirable homily which the mover of the Bill had given to them. It reminded him of a clergyman who was deputed to listen to a young student preaching a sermon, and who afterwards inquired whether there was anything wrong with the text: "I thought," he added, 'it had got some disease, because you kept so far away from it." The mover of the Bill had certainly kept far away from the measure; but it had been very fully explained by the seconder in arguments which, in his opinion, were unanswerable. There were two principles on which they might inflict punishment, viz., they might directly deprive a man of his liberty, or they might deprive him of his social status. He regarded the social status as far and away beyond the question of a man's personal liberty. He had always looked with repugnance on a sentence passed upon a man that carried much more beyond it than what was contained within the limits of the sentence. When a man had been sentenced to imprisonment or fine, the general feeling was that he had purged his offence so far as his liability went. He thought this view was very prevalent in the minds of the resident magistrates when they administered the law, and that many of them were taken by surprise, after they had sentenced a man to imprisonment or fine, or both, when they found that that sentence carried with it that man's ostracism from social life. The sentence did not carry with it the penalty of a man being expunged from his rights in connection with this high Assembly; and he cordially agreed with the seconder of the Resolution that if a man was capable of sitting in this House after having undergone hard labour, the greater should include the less. It could not be said that a man who was admitted as a representative of his own people in the first Assembly of the land was not 28 able to represent his people in the smaller representative bodies of his country. He hoped the Attorney-General would take a generous view of this matter. They did not know how soon some of them might be in gaol themselves. He did not say that he spoke feelingly, but one must anticipate and feel how one might be placed some day. At any rate they were all exposed now-a-days to social ostracism. It was not confined to those holding Nationalist views. He himself, as a Unionist, had suffered just as much from his opponents as they had from him; and the scale might be turned some day. But that was not the question at issue. The question was, when a man had undergone the penalty prescribed by law, and thereby had purged his offence, whether he should be submitted to the further ignominy—far greater than either fine or imprisonment —no matter what his character might be, that he should not have the right to sit on the Benches with those who administered the law committed to their charge. He was glad in some respects to join hands with hon. Gentlemen opposite and try to take away what was an unnecessary punishment attached to offences, to some extent social in their character, and which did not carry with them the ordinary idea of criminality.
§ MR. MURPHY (Kerry, E.)
said he joined with other hon. Members in supporting the Second Reading of this Bill. Last year when this particular point was being discussed, the Attorney-General said further legislation was necessary, and further that no man need cry out until he was hurt. The further legislation was now before the House. The Bill now under discussion only affected a limited number of men in Ireland at the present time, but might affect many in the future. It was a question of principle, and the principle was of vast importance, as had been Shown by the fact that though Irish Local Government required reform in various directions this Bill had been confined to this particular matter. The Order under which these things took place, although it had the force of an Act of Parliament, had not the authority of an Act of Parliament. No one in this country would dream of 29 placing a passive resister on a footing with the thieves and pickpockets of this country, and the Government did not pretend that a man sentenced to a term of imprisonment in Ireland for a political offence should be on the same footing as the criminals of that country. The Order was harsh in its administration, and resulted in the exclusion of men of most respectable character from the boards of guardians and the borough and other councils. He was satisfied these rules ought to be altered, and, if the Attorney-General did not agree to the Bill before the House, they would have to come to the conclusion that the expressions he made use of last year were for the purpose of deceiving the House. This Bill would do no wrong to Ireland in removing the disqualifications which had been laid on these gentlemen, and he hoped it would be read a second time.
MR. T. W. KUSSELL (Tyrone, S.)
thought the House would do well to remember that the order under which that took place was an Order in Council, and the hon. Member for North Belfast had his hearty and entire concurrence. He trusted, for one, that Members from Ireland sitting on his own side of the House would take a broad and generous view of the question. What did it arise out of? All the squabbles which were the subject of this penalty practically arose out of the Irish land question. And if men brought themselves within the terms of the law—if they went outside the terms of the law and rendered themselves liable to those penalties, he thought they were entitled to take the facts into account, and to remember that a great and generous measure had been passed with the very intention of wiping out all that feeling and making an end of all that friction. He did not believe that it would be possible— and he spoke as one who had taken a tolerably large part in that land question—for these things to occur again in the future. Under the Land Purchase Act things would settle down, and those lamentable expressions of opinion on the part of men who had suffered would not, at all events, be as rife in the future as they had been in the past.
30 But let him put some other considerations before the minds of hon. Members on the Government side of the House. Even if this Bill were a Statute of the realm and became the law to-morrow any member of the community violating its provisions would still be liable to be sent to prison, would even still be liable to hard labour. What he would escape from would be the further disqualification from sitting on public boards. That was the net provision of the Bill, and was not it the height of absurdity— again he put it to hon. Members sitting on his side of the House, could they find it outside of Ireland that a penalty was applied to a man, and the right was refused him of sitting on a board of guardians or a district council when the full right was reserved to him to come to the House as a knight of the shire, and a representative of the people in the Imperial Parliament? Surely they could not carry absurdity any further than that, and he appealed to his hon. friends from Ulster not to put themselves into that ridiculous position. That, so far as he could see, was the whole Bill—there was nothing else in it. A man might still be imprisoned but would not in the future be disqualified from sitting on a board of guardians and be able to come there, as the hon. Member for King's County did, as representing the people in the Imperial Parliament. The Crimes Act was considered a tolerably rigorous measure. It was not lacking in force; but the Crimes Act did not impose that penalty nor any such penalty. This Bill was a small Bill in a way but a large Bill in another way. As he had said, the penalty arose not from an Act of Parliament passed through that House in an ordinary way but from an Order in Council made in Dublin Castle and laid upon the Table of the House and which not one Member in a hundred had looked at or ever seen. It had a legal force, but no moral force, and he thought that looking at the fact that all the trouble for which those Orders in Council provided arose out of the land question, the House had done its duty in passing a great measure of appeasement. He did hope that the irritating effect of an Order in Council would not be allowed to stand in the way of a settlement of that question.
§ MR. BLAKE (Longford, S.)
thought the House committed a very grave error in remitting to any executive body the enormous power, by order, to apply and give the force of an Act of Parliament to other enactments. It had been said that what had been done by Parliament for this country when passing the English Local Government Act could not be done for Ireland; that the same attention had not been paid to what was fit and proper to be regulated by an Act on Parliament, because Parliament had not too much time to spare at the time the Bill was passed. They were told then that the price of having the Bill at all was that they must submit to the Local Government Board applying orders to the enactments on the Statute-book of Ireland. He questioned, indeed, whether it was legal to extend an enactment under powers to apply an enactment with modifications. Parliament was responsible for a neglect to perform its legislative duties by surrendering them in this case to an executive body, and Parliament was now called upon to redeem the consequences of that Act, seeing the use which had been made of this surrender. All he asked was that Parliament should remove an excrescence on that English law which deformed the Irish law. He hoped the House of Commons, which was not consciously responsible for this deformity, would now take steps to remove it.
§ MR. SLOAN (Belfast, S.)
thought it would be quite fitting if, before the Attorney-General replied, something on the other side of the question should be said. Everyone had been quite sympathetic to the claims made by the Nationalist Members, but the merits or demerits of those claims had been discussed from one side only. He was amazed at the speech of the hon. Member for North Belfast, which, in his opinion, was a speech unworthy of the constituency which he represented. Other hon. Members were there to speak their opinions. He was there to speak his, and he was not going to be shouted down in doing so. The hon. Member who seconded the Bill struck a note which he thought settled the whole question when he said that criminal persons would not get a seat on a board. 32 If that were so there was no necessity for the Bill. He would like to have an explanation of the feelings of Nationalist Members on the action of Colonel Lynch, because those hon. Gentlemen had admitted that if placed in the same position as Colonel Lynch by speeches outside the House, they would have done the very same thing, and therefore, if not in action disqualified from sitting in the House, they were certainly disqualified by motive. The mover of the Bill had given them some very interesting extracts as to what lawyers had said regarding the law. If prevention was: better than cure, and if Ireland was in the state in which hon. Members now said it was, then there was no reason to; pass this Bill. Ireland had to be considered as a peculiar country by itself, on and one of the peculiarities of its representatives was that a few days ago they assisted the Government to bring in a Bill for the coercion of Welshmen. In his opinion this action was inconsistent. It was a most unfortunate thing that whenever any question of social reform affecting Ireland and Irishmen came up, hon. Members for Ireland could not unite for the common good of the people. If the county councillors broke the law and were sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour, then the easy remedy was that they should keep the law and it would not then become necessary to put it in force. It struck him that this Bill was an indication of another crusade, or campaign, or agitation on the part of hon. Members opposite— an agitation in which they wanted to avoid this risk of disqualification from sitting on the county councils in the various districts. If it were true, as had been asserted by various speakers, that this disqualification was never again likely to be imposed, why were they so anxious to get this Bill passed? On the ground that prevention was better than cure, he hoped that the Government would stand firm against the Bill.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG (Antrim, S.)
said it was certainly not his intention to beat about the bush with regard to his attitude towards the Bill, because he was opposed to it root and branch. He did not go so far as to say that a man who had been convicted under the Crimes Act 33 and imprisoned was on the same level as an ordinary criminal, but he did say that he was a criminal and as such was not a fit person to sit upon local bodies. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: What about this House?] He agreed that it was an anomaly that such a person should be able to sit in Parliament and not in a county council. His way of remedying that would not be the same as that of hon. Members opposite, for he would exclude such criminals from Parliament. Would hon. Members say that the government of Ireland was likely to be conducted on sober and proper lines with such men on the county councils. He maintained that the contrary was the fact. They had received a fine constitutional lecture from two members of the Nationalist Party. They from the North of Ireland, although they numbered no legal luminaries in their ranks, claimed to represent the feeling of the people in that part of the country, which was very strong on the subject. They considered that any surrender on this particular question would be one more of the already too numerous surrenders made by the Government. He was very pleased that the de fence of the Bill was placed in the hands of the two Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench (the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General for Ireland), and was glad that the Royal visit to Ireland had for the time being deprived time of the presence of the Chief Secretary. The Attorney-General was more to their liking. The welfare of Ireland was in better hands to-day. They believed that the settlement of Irish affairs should always be left to Irishmen—at any rate to argue. The question had been dealt with from every variety of standpoint, but from his point of view there was only one question and that was the one of common sense. Was it right and proper that men who had committed crimes, whatever their degree, which in the eyes of the people of the North of Ireland were disgraceful crimes, should be permitted to take part in local government? The North of Ireland felt the greatest concern—not alarm. They were told that it would affect only twelve men throughout the whole of Ireland, and surely it was absurd for the time of that House to be taken up with a discussion on their 34 right to sit on county councils. He strongly opposed the measure.
§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY (Shropshire, Newport)
believed the general opinion of England to be in direct opposition to that which had been voiced by the supporters of this Bill. That conflict of opinion did not arise from any desire to injure or to restrain the onward march of prosperity in Ireland. On the contrary Englishmen had pledged themselves to do their level best to correct the errors of the past, and so to deal with questions affecting Ireland as to remove from her back any burden which she might be unfairly bearing. But English opinion had to be considered. No measure to which English opinion was diametrically opposed could be carried through the House of Commons; therefore, if English Members could make out a case against this Bill, and so secure its rejection, they would be doing that which it was right and proper they should do. Surely it could not be well for the local government of any country to be in the hands of men who, from whatever motive, had broken the law of the land. He believed it would be a source of grave danger if men who had recently been convicted of breaches of the law were allowed to sit on the county councils. The acceptance of the Bill had been urged on the grounds of public expediency and general utility, but it was on those very grounds that he opposed it. The power of the people to govern themselves was being gradually extended, and the fundamental principle that should underlie all extension of liberty was implicit obedience to the law. If persons chose to break that law, they must accept the penalties and disabilities involved in such a line of conduct. He certainly regretted that a similar disability did not attach with regard to membership of this House, because he believed that Gentlemen who attached great value to their position as Members of Parliament would then take care to do nothing to jeopardise their membership. Public expediency demanded the creation in the minds of the people of a settled feeling that the law of the land would be enforced, and it could not make for public expediency that men who at one moment might be leading an agitation against, and inciting to breaches of, the 35 law, should immediately afterwards be allowed to take their seat on the county councils, where they were supposed to administer the law. If that was so in the case of the colder-blooded, slower-thinking Saxon, how much more necessary was it in the case of the hotter-blooded, more impetuous Irishman? General utility would probably be said to consist in bringing into the public service as many capable and excellent individuals as possible. But he had a higher conception of the capacity of his Irish fellow-subjects than to suppose that their choice of capable representatives was so small that unless a dozen convicted men were freed from this disability local government would suffer.
It was said that the Irish people had administered the Local Government Act in a manner which had extorted the admiration of even their bitterest opponents. That had been done without the assistance of these men, and surely it was not impossible to continue without them. Irishmen would doubtless claim to be as strongly opposed as Englishmen to associating with criminals, but there, unfortunately, came in the difference of perspective between the Irish and the Saxon views of criminality. Englishmen could not regard men who had deliberately broken the law and who had been punished there for simply as virtuous martyrs. Irishmen invested such persons with a halo, but Englishmen regarded them as men who had been responsible for raising in the country a dangerous and turbulent spirit, which had resulted in a disorderly and insurrectionary movement throughout the land. It had been proved that men had set themselves to work in Ireland with the express purpose of creating a local agitation. He did not believe in the idea of setting a thief to catch a thief.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
said the only man who was ever fined for killing game in the close season was the hon. Member behind him. [Laughter.] He did not mean the hon. Member for Croydon.
§ COLONEL KENYON-SLANEY
thought hon. Members had argued this question too much on personal grounds. They had asserted that the persons who 36 were barred by this Act were so good and capable that they were wanted for the public service; but they ought not to look at a question like this upon personal grounds. On public grounds it would be a very bad thing if those individuals were allowed to do what was asked for. Throughout this Bill they had safeguarded the future. The hon. Member for South Tyrone had said that there was no likelihood of this kind of thing being done in the future, but he noticed that that statement was received with perfect silence by hon. Gentlemen opposite. It had been said that this was only a small matter. It might be a small matter in regard to the individual, but it was a vital question if they allowed men to break the law and to escape the disabilities which that law imposed. From the point of view of the ordinary English Member who had no ill-feeling towards his Irish fellow-subjects they regarded this as an extremely dangerous proposition, which would do mischief and harm in England, and the Government would run the risk of being told that they were not strong enough to enforce the law. The House of Commons could not do a greater disservice to Ireland than to allow it to go forth that they were going to make it possible for Irishmen to break the law in this way. The suggestions put forward in this Bill were most unfortunate, and in his opinion were conceived in a mistaken spirit. If Irishmen would only look at things from an English point of view perhaps they would be able to arrive at a fairly good solution. He was convinced that the great bulk of opinion on this side of the Channel was opposed to this measure, not because they had any ill-will to Ireland, but because they believed that the passing of this Bill would be an unfortunate thing in the interests of the Irish people.
§ MR. T. L CORBETT (Down, N.)
said that before he had the honour of a seat in this House, he was for several years a member of the London County Council; and he had always taken a special interest in local government and the great achievements of local government. He had endeavoured at all times to defend the honour and promote the usefulness of county councils. The hon. Member who 37 seconded the Motion for the Second Reading of this Bill said it was a plain and simple Bill. He entirely agreed with him but contended that its plainness and simplicity meant nothing more or less than giving criminals the right to sit upon county councils. During the many years he was a member of the London County Council there were a few members—some four in all—who became amenable to the criminal law of the country. They all happened to be members of the Radical Party on the London County Council, but every member of that Party vied with the members of the Conservative Party in desiring the earliest possible expulsion and disqualification of those members. He regretted very much that a very different spirit had been shown in this House among members of the Nationalist Party and among some Members, not Nationalists, who had surprised members of the Unionist Party by their utterances.
The demand of this Bill was that crime should be made no disqualification for a member of a county council. [NATIONALIST cries of "No."] That was the demand of this Bill. He knew hon. Gentlemen opposite might differ from him in what they regarded as crime, but he asserted again that the demand of this Bill was that criminals, condemned under the criminal law, should be allowed to be members of the county councils in Ireland. He, for one, would always do his best to prevent that. He believed that in future the demand would be not that crime should be no disqualification but that only members should be elected to those bodies in Nationalist districts who were criminals. That he believed would be the ultimate demand of the Nationalist Party in Ireland. The standing of the county councils in the South and West of Ireland was not too high at present; in fact these bodies had become simply instruments of priestly tyranny. He said that without any qualification whatever. The boycotting in the South and West of Ireland was such that he should have thought that even the Nationalist Party—even the most bigoted of its members—would have hesitated before they introduced a Bill to still further degrade those county councils 38 in the South and West of Ireland, and ask the House to assent to the principle that criminals should in future be allowed to be members of those bodies. To assent to that would be to further degrade the county councils in the eyes of all thoughtful men, belonging to any Party in Ireland, who had thought out the problem of government there. He ventured to say that the House would by an overwhelming majority endorse the opinion of those who opposed this Bill, and who objected to any further degradation of those county councils. He was quite sure that the House would not allow men who had been condemned as criminals to sit upon bodies entrusted with such large powers as were the local bodies in Ireland.
§ SIR FREDERICK BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)
said be should not like to give a silent vote on this most important question for two reasons. In the first place he had always maintained that what this country should do was to govern Ireland in exactly the same manner as we governed ourselves. If that was a right principle it followed that this Bill, which for the moment would only apply to Ireland, would eventually apply to England. At the present moment the question of municipal government was agitating the whole of the United Kingdom. He did not say that the municipalities were not actuated by the very best principles, but still their manner of conducting business had led to a certain amount of criticism. That criticism had been directed in the first place to the enormous increase in the debt of the different municipalities; and, secondly, to the question of municipal trading. What every Member of the House should do was to see that the members returned to the different municipal councils, borough councils, and boards of guardians, should be those who, irrespective of Party politics, were best qualified to carry out the work they had to do. Did this Bill tend to advance the dignity, status, and business qualification of those who were in future to serve on these different councils in Ireland? The first essential to a man being elected to any of these bodies was that he should be a practical man of business. He thought, therefore, that 39 the question they were considering to-day should be decided irrespective of Party politics, and that the only ground on which they should discuss this Bill was that it would or would not in future increase the business capability of those different local authorities. If business capability was an important qualification for English county and borough councillors, it was more important for Irish councillors for this reason. It was often said by hon. Members opposite that Ireland was a poor country. It was essential in a poor country that proper and good administration should be secured, and that economy and efficiency should be considered. When he looked at the Bill he found that its object was to do away with the disqualification that existed at the present moment with respect to persons convicted of offences and crimes. Section 1 of the Bill was in the following terms—So much of Article 12, Sub-section 4, of the Schedule to the Local Government (Application of Enactments) Order, 1898, as enacts that a person shall be disqualified for being elected or chosen or being a member of a council of a county or of a district or of a board of guardians or of any town commissioners, if he has, within five years before his election, or since his election, been convicted either on indictment or summarily of any crime, and sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour without the option of a fine, or to any greater punishments, and has not received a free pardon, shall not apply in the case of any person convicted of any offence or crime, before a Court of summary jurisdiction, under the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act, 1887, or upon an indictment by a special jury under the said Act; and any person who, before the passing of this Act, has been, or shall hereafter be, so convicted, shall be qualified for being elected or chosen or being a member of a council of a county or of a district or of a board of guardians or of any town commissioners even though he has been or shall be sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour without the option of a fine, or to any greater punishment, and has not received a free pardon.Of course he did not pretend to be intimately acquainted with the Criminal Law and Procedure (Ireland) Act of 1887.
§ SIR FREDERICK BANBURY
said he had no desire to make any special exception for the Stock Exchange or any other body. In his opinion the law 40 should apply equally to Irish, English, and Scotch. He did not wish to go into the question whether or not persons convicted under the Criminal Law and Procedure Act had been political prisoners or not. As far as he knew the result of this Bill would be that persons who had been convicted of boycotting, outrages on cattle, moonlighting, and other offences under that Act would in future be qualified for serving on county councils, district councils, and boards of guardians. He thought, therefore, there were strong arguments against the passing of this particular Bill. If it was desired to exempt people who had only been guilty of political offences—it might be voting for Home Rule or something of that sort—and to allow them to sit on those councils, he personally had not the slightest objection, but if it was to bring in those people who had been convicted of boycotting, or maiming cattle, and sentenced to hard labour, he did not believe anyone in the House would defend the proposal in the Bill. He did not know any more degrading or contemptible offence than the maiming of cattle. It did no good to anyone and only injured a poor animal.
§ MR. MACVEAGH.
The hon. Member forgets that it was proved that the maiming was done by Irish policemen.
§ SIR FREDERICK BANBURY
said he was not arguing by whom it was done, but supposing it was done by a policeman who was convicted, this Bill would enable that policeman to sit on a county council or a district council. [An IRISH MEMBER: Certainly not.] There was no disqualification if the policeman retired from the force, though he had been guilty of maiming cattle, or had endeavoured to obtain a false conviction of somebody for a serious offence.
§ SIR FREDERICK BANBURY
said that when he had finished his speech perhaps the hon. Gentleman would try to show where he was wrong. He did not think he was mis-stating the case. He I knew that the Irish Members had great 41 sympathy with dumb animals, and he had received a certain amount of assistance from them in connection with Bills dealing with that matter. There was one place where it was not a disqualification for sitting to have been convicted of an offence. He believed he was correct in saying that a man who had been convicted could sit in the House of Lords. Did they wish to put the county councils in Ireland on the same basis as the House of Lords? [Cries of "No."] He had always understood that the Nationalist Members objected strongly to the House of Lords, and he should have fancied that their argument would have been that the provisions which enabled this to occur were the remnants of an obsolete feudal age, and that so far from extending them to such enlightened people as councillors in Ireland, they would wish them to be done away with altogether.
This was a matter of the very deepest importance, and he regretted very much that it should have come up on a Friday afternoon, when so many Members were away for the week-end. This was a sort of question which went very far to making or marring the prosperity of the country. [Ironical cheers from the IRISH Benches.] These were serious matters, and should be considered in a serious manner. [Renewed ironical cheers from the IRISH Benches.] He did not understand the interruption of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Municipal government was a matter in which he had always been seriously interested. [Renewed ironical cheers from the IRISH Benches.] He trusted that they would hear from the Attorney-General for Ireland such weighty arguments as to convince hon. Members on that side of the House to vote against the Resolution. He confessed that there were a few on that side of the House who had allowed their usual sound judgment to be carried away by their feeling for their countrymen in Ireland, and he hoped that those hon. Gentlemen, after they had listened to his speech, would repent, and that they would vote against the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ MR. JOSEPH DEVLIN (Kilkenny)
said he was sure that a large number of Members were somewhat surprised that the Attorney-General for Ireland had not 42 yet spoken in the debate. He could not understand why, in the absence of the Chief Secretary, the hon. and learned Gentleman should hesitate for a moment to declare the intentions of the Government in regard to the Bill before the House. When the question was raised some months ago in this House, the right hon. Gentleman stated that the disqualification placed upon county councillors, the urban and district councillors, could only be removed by legislation; and he did not deny the justice of the claim of the Irish Members. The right hon. Gentleman was understood to say that either he or the Chief Secretary would be prepared to come forward and undo the great evil that had been committed in the Local Government Act. He had been somewhat astonished that day to see such a large turnout of the Ulster Tory Members, who had been absent from the House when far-reaching questions affecting Ireland were being discussed. When his hon. friend the Member for South Tyrone exposed the outrageous conduct of the Land Courts, there was not a single Tory Member present. They revolted on the question of the Bann, and they had now returned to the banks of the Boyne. They had come there, not to promote an essential remedy for an Irish grievance, but to agree to rivet more firmly than ever the chains round Ireland. They had been told in the speeches of the hon. Member for South Antrim, and other hon. Members opposite, that those men who had been charged and convicted under the Coercion Act were criminals, and that criminals should not be allowed to sit either in this House or on county councils, urban councils, and district councils. No one could deny that the late Mr. William Johnston, of Ballykilbeg, was a patriotic Orangeman, and a distinguished representative of his Party. Was the hon. Gentleman opposite prepared to come forward and argue that because Mr. Johnston was once indicted for soma political offence, he was a criminal, and that it would have been the duty of this House to expel him from Parliament.
§ MR. JOSEPH DEVLIN
said he was making no charge against Mr. Johnston. Even if that gentleman was opposed to the Nationalists in politics, he recognised his right to his opinion; but was it to be assumed for a moment that it could be argued that the late Mr. Johnston was not only a criminal, but that, by the very fact that he had been indicted and convicted of an offence, his membership of this House should be made a nullity. They had had an eloquent homily on Irish criminality from the hon. Member for Shropshire; yet that hon. Member was the bosom friend of Mr. Kensit, who had been convicted of offences against the law. If a man honestly and conscientiously believed a law to be a bad law, he was bound to resist it; and it did not lie in the mouth of an associate of Mr. Kensit, or the successor of the late Mr. Johnston, to come there and lecture the Irish Members on criminality, and tell them that they were incapable of taking part in local government or of promoting the welfare of their own community. The hon. Gentleman opposite talked of the maiming of cattle. That was a criminal offence, which, if committed by a county councillor, would prevent him, in the ordinary nature of things, from being elected again to the county council. But in the case of a policeman who had been guilty of maiming cattle, and of swearing away a young man's life and liberty, the English Government sent him out of the country, and gave him a compassionate allowance. With all respect, the hon. Gentleman opposite might be an exceedingly competent judge of the merits of a Bill of public utility, but he was not a very good judge of what was for the best interests of Ireland. He ventured to say if there was one stronger impeachment than another of the system of government which had operated in Ireland, it was to be found in the very incident to which the hon. Gentleman had referred, and which he ought to have kept silent upon. The question the House had to consider was whether they were going to allow a 44 clause in the Local Government Act to remain, which was never intended to operate as it had done. Everybody knew that county councillors, who had been convicted under the Coercion Act were guilty of no moral offence. These were men who lived in their own districts, who understood the wants of the people, and who had patiently and self-sacrificingly devoted themselves to promote the interests of the people. The very fact that these men had been sent to prison under the Coercion Act would be a passport into office. It was absurd to say that the Irish Members elected by Irish constituencies could come to this House and take part in the discussion, not only of Irish affairs, but of Imperial concerns, and yet were not allowed to become members of a board of guardians, or of county or district councils. It was contrary to common sense. The Bill of his hon. friend was a simple Bill; it dealt with a specific matter which no one could justify, and he earnestly trusted that hon. Members would cast aside political prejudices and vote for the Second Reading.
§ THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR IRELAXD (Mr. ATKINSON,) Londonderry, N.
said he had not risen earlier in the debate because he thought that it was desirable that in a debate of that kind the views of all Parties in the House should be heard.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said he shared the sincere regret of the hon. Member for South Antrim that his right hon. friend the Chief Secretary was absent.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said he was acquainted with the views of the right hon. Gentleman, and would not for a moment have cared to announce the policy of the Government without first having ascertained what the views of the Chief Secretary were. Before approaching the merits of the Bill, he should like to refer to a personal matter, because it had been said over 45 and over again that some observations of his own last year had raised hopes in the breasts of the Nationalist Members that a Bill of this character would not be opposed. His speech bore no such interpretation; on the contrary, he had strictly guarded himself from giving any pledge that the Government would approve of such a Bill. Moreover, the Bill then under discussion had no resemblance whatever to the Bill now before the House. He had listened with astonishment to some of the speeches which had been made, and with particular astonishment to the speech of his hon. friend the Member for North Belfast. With one part of that speech he thoroughly agreed, but he was astonished when his hon. friend announced that as soon as a man was convicted of crime, no social disqualification should fall on that conviction.
§ SIR JAMES HASLETT
said that what he had stated was that after a man had paid the penalty for a crime he had committed no social ostracism should be put upon him.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said that the principle had always been laid down since corporations and public bodies were formed, that conviction for crime was legitimate and good cause for the expulsion of a member from those bodies. The Education Act of 1870, which was passed by a Liberal Government, provided that if a man was convicted of any crime, no matter of what character, and no matter before what tribunal, that should disquilify him from becoming a member of a School Board.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said he had been equally astonished at the speech of the hon. Member for Longford, because that 46 hon. and learned Gentleman seemed to think that this disqualification which existed in the Irish Local Government Act was something brought about or enacted by the Lord-Lieutenant. What was the fact? When the Liberal Government in 1894 passed the English District Councils and Parish Councils Bill they put in the 46th Section a provision that if any person were convicted, either on indictment or summarily, and got hard labour, he was thereby disqualified from service on such bodies.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said that when the Irish Local Government Bill of 1898 was passed the principle was adopted of enabling the Lord-Lieutenant in Council to adopt by Order certain enactments which were put in the schedule, and the schedule was part of the Bill. In that schedule was the 46th Section of the English District Councils and Parish Councils Act. The Lord-Lieutenant, acting under the 105th Section of the Irish Local Government Act, put in force the powers conferred upon him by the 46th Section of the Act of 1894, and that order was, in pursuance of the 107th Section of the Act, laid on the Table of the House, when it was perfectly competent for any hon. Member to move an Address that the whole or part should not be approved of. That was not done. The result was that the provisions of the 46th Section of the English Act of 1894 were incorporated into the Irish Act, and the law as to qualifications of members of local bodies was precisely the same to-day in England and Ireland.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said he had only alluded to this matter to endeavour to put aside much of the misconception which prevailed in regard to the fact of the Order of the Lord-Lieutenant modifying the provisions of the Local Government Act. It modified it in no way whatever. It was not proposed by the Bill before the 47 House in any way to modify the provisions of the Local Government Act, and therefore he assumed that the authors of this Bill thought it extremely undesirable that any man convicted of a crime, either before a magistrate summarily, or before any other tribunal, where hard labour was imposed, should sit on a county or district council; and therefore all the eloquence they had heard dealing with the motives of criminals was beside the point. Some of the greatest crimes of the world had been committed by men with the highest motives. In this country no one would say that the same moral opprobrium attached to crime committed under labour combinations, such as picketing, as to many other crimes; but a man convicted of this offence would be disqualified from serving on a district council or a board of guardians in this country, just as much as if he had been convicted of bigamy. This Bill was misnamed when it was called a Bill to reform the Local Government Act. A more appropriate title for it would be "A Bill to throw discredit on the machinery of the Crimes Act." What it enacted was that although it should remain the law that any man convicted and sentenced to hard labour for any offence should be disqualified from sitting on county and district councils, that provision should not apply to any conviction obtained in any way through the instrumentality of the Crimes Act [NATIONALIST cheers.] Those responsive cheers showed the accuracy of his description of the Bill. If hon. Members opposite expected him to say that convictions under the Crimes Act, whether by magistrates or by special juries, were no convictions, bad convictions, unjust convictions, he was afraid they would be disappointed.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said that the observation was irrelevant, and did not meet his point as to a common jury or a special jury. The liability to packing was not in point, although the observation was intended to be offensive he had no doubt. Of course a special jury could be packed as well as a common jury. Then if hon. Members expected that he, on behalf of the Government, 48 would say that convictions under the Crimes Act, whether by magistrates, or by special juries, were no convictions, bad convictions, unjust convictions, they would, he was afraid, be disappointed. He made no such admission on behalf of the Government. If it were true, that would be a reason for inflicting no punishment at all, but if they were just enough and right enough and fair enough to warrant imprisonment and warrant fines, it was absurd to say they were not just enough and fair enough and right enough to warrant: the social disqualification which followed. There, therefore, could be no justification for the Bill except upon two grounds. The first was that crimes dealt with by the Crimes Act were no crimes at all, and the second was that no tribunal, whether by magistrates or special jury obtained under the Crimes Act, could give a decision which commanded respect. Now, as regarded the first point, what were the crimes with which the Crimes Act dealt, because this was a matter dealing with the Crimes Act and with that alone. It just dealt with three classes of crimes which could be conveniently described, one of which had now become almost a fine art, that was boycotting.
§ MR. KILBRIDE (Kildare, S.)
said that the hon. Member for Oldham suffeted from it on the other side of the House.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said that everyone who knew what boycotting was knew that it came within the reach of the criminal law. It was vain for gentlemen to protest. It was vain for them to protest that the conspiracy to injure, to inflict not only social ostracism but financial ruin upon any man, was legal. The contrary had been decided in Ireland, the contrary had been decided in England. It was a crime. He dared say some hon. Gentleman thought that, provided it were done to forward an agrarian object, it was legitimate or excusable. The law could not adopt that view. No Government could adopt that principle. So far as he was concerned, and he had some professional knowledge of it, he knew of no crime that to his mind was at once more mean and more cruel. It was in vain for hon. Gentlemen to say that boycotting was not a crime. They had had 49 an exhibition of it in Ireland recently in the Tallow case, unsurpassed in cruelty except in its imposture, because the principal boycotter, who was striking in defence of the evictd tenants, was all the time going secretly to the rent office to get possession of the evicted farm. Many hon. Members thought that boycotting was legitimate when resorted to for a particular object. No Government could adopt that principle. Treason very often had been actuated by the highest motives, but any Government that had regard to its own existence must punish it with the severest penalties. The other crime was intimidation. Well, it was useless to say that intimidation was not a crime. What was another? Riot and unlawful assembly. Well, the last person to deny that was a crime should be, he thought the hon. Member for the Scotland Division. He, they knew, was almost a slavish worshipper of trial by jury, but it showed how the mighty sometimes fell, because when the Grimes Act of 1882 provided that no man could be tried for not and unlawful assembly before two magistrates unless the particular district were proclaimed, the hon. Member for one of the Divisions of Donegal proposed that that provision with regard to the trial of rioting and unlawful assembly before magistrates should be extended to the whole of Ireland, proclamation or no proclamation, and that was seconded by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division. The reason given was that because without any trouble, or any annoyance, or any delay, the Government would be able to bring up the rioters of Belfast before two President magistrates and have them convicted. He was quite sure the hon. Member would not desire for an instant that a different measure of justice should be dealt out to political opponents than to those who supported him. Therefore he could not say that rioting and unlawful assembly was legal. The next was obtaining forcible possession. The next crime was assault upon sheriffs, constables, bailiffs, and process servers, and the ministers of the law. What moral elevation was there about these crimes that those convicted of them should not be disqualified? In the crimes themselves there was unquestionably nothing which ought to 50 protect their perpetrators from the consequences of legal disqualification.
It was said that argument was itself all true. Those crimes were punishable by law. They did not mean for a moment to permit men who were convicted of crime to sit upon county boards, but they must be convicted by a common jury, not by a special jury, or by two resident magistrates. A conviction before a common jury was a good conviction, and a good cause for disqualification, but a conviction before a special jury was not to be a slur. The Bill made special provision in the first, clause "or upon any indictment by a special jury under the said Act." It seemed strange, inasmuch as in civil proceedings either party could get a special jury by serving notice upon the other side, and under the Act of 1882, introduced by the Liberal Government, the criminal practice was assimilated to the civil practice, and it was competent either for the Crown or the accused to get a special jury. If the only thing objected to was conviction by magistrates, why was this included? Why was the provision introduced that no disqualification should follow a conviction by a special jury. The reason obviously was that the special jury was obtained under the Crimes Act. No matter how fair, how respectable they might be, no matter how they considered the case before them, there was to be no disqualification. The other objection was to convictions before the magistrates. He thought hon. Members might give this Government, and indeed any Government, credit for desiring not to put the Crimes Act in force, or not to supersede the ordinary tribunals if they could avoid it. He did not suppose, however convinced they might be of its evil influences and evil designs, this Government, or any Government, desired to put the Crimes Act into force if they could avoid it, but any Government might, be, and both Governments had been, forced into this position, that they must either put it into force or allow lawlessness to be triumphant. Now hon. Members would not take him as an authority in this matter, but he thought they might take the Leader of the Opposition as an authority. When was the Crimes Act put 51 into force? The Crimes Act was put in force and the ordinary tribunals were superseded, when the ordinary tribunals would not act and there was perfect immunity to crime.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said the executive Government of the day. Were the criminals to be the judges? There were only the two——
§ MR. ATKINSON
The nation judged when in 1887 it put that power into the hands of the executive Government. The Leader of the Opposition described pithily in 1885 the condition of things which justified the Crimes Act. Dealing with the existing Act of 1882, which was more extreme, superseding trial by jury even in capital cases, the Leader of the Opposition said, in a speech made at Perth: "The key of the whole position was this, that in many parts of Ireland in certain classes of offences, especially offences of an agrarian character, they could not trust to the ordinary class of jurymen doing their duty. Partly from ignorance, partly from prejudice, but mainly from the cruel and overbearing system of terror under the National League, they could not be sure on clearest evidence of obtaining a verdict. It was not merely desirable but necessary to devise some means to overcome that difficulty, and it might very well become a permanent part of the law."
§ SIR H. CAMPBELL-BANNERMAN (Stirling Burghs)
said he remembered the speech very well. The change that he thought should be introduced into Ireland and into England, and become a part of the permanent law, was allowing the jury to find a verdict by a majority.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said that that might be the opinion of the hon. Gentleman, but it was not put into words. He supposed the English language meant the same in Scotland as in England.
§ MR. THOMAS SHAW (Hawick Burghs)
said that the English language did not mean the same. The verdict in a criminal casein Scotland meant a verdict possibly by a majority.
§ MR. ATKINSON
said he was aware of that fact. It was unfortunate when the right hon. Gentleman was dealing with the matter he never alluded, as far as he could see, to the matter which seemed to have been in his thoughts. There was no reference to the verdict of a majority. At all events he accurately described the position. When the ordinary law broke down they must have recourse to extraordinary tribunals of some character. How could the Act of 1882 be justified unless it were upon the principle that the ordinary tribunals were insufficient? How could they justify giving, as they did in that Act, the trial for murder to three Judges, without a jury, unless it were that they must supersede the ordinary tribunals if the condition of society did not enable them to leave them in operation. Trial by jury must rest upon this basis, that they had a stratum of society which would assist in putting the law in force against those who violated it, whoever they might be, or whatever their opinions. The moment they could not get jurymen who would resolutely, in the jury-box, dispense the law without fear or favour, they must have recourse to some special tribunal, or they would allow crime to be triumphant. He would not deal with the conditions which, at a time of crisis, made trial by common jury absolutely a useless sham. In times of public excitement, agrarian in their character, in all parts of Ireland they could not get the law enforced. That was a justification for the application of the Crimes Act, and therefore he could not consent that the decisions of the ordinary tribunals should be treated with contempt. So far as the future was concerned he most ardently hoped that it would never be again necessary to put the Crimes Act into force in Ireland, and if it were never again necessary to put it into force there would be no necessity for the present Bill. The more ardent that hope, the more reason for the expectation that it would not be necessary to put the Act into force again, the more unnecessary would be this proposed 53 legislation. It was true that one of the clauses of the Bill was retroactive in its operation, and proposed to remove the disqualification in respect to persons who had been convicted under the Act. The number of persons sentenced to imprisonment with hard labour under the Act was fifty-six; of these twenty-one were members of local boards, but, as seven had the hard labour revoked on appeal, there were only fourteen individuals to whom the retroactive clause of the Bill would apply. Although he hoped that the Crimes Act would never be put into force again, he could not on behalf of the Government give legislative sanction to the proposal that sentences pronounced by the tribunals under the Act were not to be followed by the ordinary results which followed similar sentences in all parts of the kingdom.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
said he was not surprised at the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. He had stuck to the ancient system because he was part of it. He was its flower and fruit and he would stick to the Dublin Castle system as long as there was a stone on the ground. Everyone saw that the system was disappearing. None were now so poor as to do it reverence, except an infinitesimal section of the House of Commons and the official class represented by the right hon. Gentleman. He thought that the right hon. Gentleman would at least have been fair. His speech was worthy of the Crown Prosecutor in the thirties or forties, and, indeed, in even a more remote period. His complaint of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman was that it was not only unwise, but that it was unfair. The right hon. Gentleman said several times that there was no 54 disability on Irishmen which was not also on Englishmen, and that the law was the same in the two countries, and that a man who committed a criminal offence would be excluded from a school board in England, just the same as a man who committed a criminal offence would be excluded from a county council in Ireland. But that was not the matter with which the Bill dealt. The Bill proposed no change whatever in the law. The right hon. Gentleman misrepresented the scope of the Bill, though he explained the difference later; but the whole gravamen of his speech was to get the House of Commons into a mood to regard the Bill as a demand to secure different treatment for politicians in Ireland to that meted out to politicians in England.
They had had during the debate speeches from the hon. Baronet the Member for Peckham and the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for the Newport Division of Shropshire. The hon. and gallant Gentleman referred to sedition, and the hon. Baronet to the maiming o cattle. It was not fair to say that Irish Members asked for preferential treatment for crime in Ireland as compared with England; all they asked was that convictions under exceptional tribunals peculiar to Ireland should not have the same power as convictions for crime in England. He was surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should have said that they, in this Bill, desired to safeguard the rights of those who had been tried and convicted by special juries under the Crimes Act. The right hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that, under his skilful manipulation, all kinds of juries could be packed in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman now came forward and said he would not agree to 55 this Bill because it cast a stigma on the administration of the Crimes Act. And this in spite of all that had occurred; in spite of all that was known to his mind, and that must be always present to his conscience, of what had occurred under special jury packing. The convictions under the Crimes Act were the result of trial by a tribunal which the English people would have done away with in this country two centuries ago. If he were to relegate the question to any six rational Englishmen on the opposite side, not blinded by political passion, they would say, "Why, in Heaven's name, should not this Bill be passed?" Even if at the time when the Crimes Act was passed it was regarded as a necessity, much had happened since. The Land Act had been passed—which would not perhaps be law to-day but for the fourteen gentlemen who were now suffering for having helped the Chief Secretary to pass it—an Act which would be an enduring monument of his administration in Ireland. The former state of things had ceased to exist, and, that being so, the Government acted most unwisely in refusing the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON (Armagh, N.)
said the hon. Member for the Scotland Division had drawn a legally accurate and pleasant picture of Ireland. Ireland was peaceful, more peaceful than it had been for years. Why was that? He remembered a remark made by the late Lord Salisbury years ago. Lord Salisbury then said that what Ireland wanted to make her peaceful and happy was twenty years of resolute government. If he remembered right, seventeen years had elapsed since that speech was made. 56 During the interval Ireland underwent many experiences which could under no circumstances be described as peaceful, but now she was at rest. He personally was pleased when he understood that this Bill was to come before the House lest they should forget what had taken place in the past. He had not of late years tried to rake up old animosities, and when he had referred to them he had done so with a sheathed sword, but this Bill inevitably brought before the House the times which he, and they who sat with him, tried to forget, and which many of the Radicals who sat with hon. Gentlemen opposite would like to forget. Ireland at the present moment was at peace. There was an Act in Ireland at the present time called the Crimes Act, and when that Act was discussed in this House he remembered Mr. Gladstone and other illustrious Gentlemen drawing a terrible picture of what would inevitably occur if the Bill became law, namely, that Ireland would be a discontented and disloyal country. Had those prophecies been realised? No one was more delighted than himself to be able to agree with the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Watcrford that Ireland, so far as crime was concerned, would compare favourably with any country in the world; that Ireland was at the present moment ahead of England, Scotland, and Wales in the matter of crime. But that was not always so. They had had two experiences of Ireland during the last seventeen years; they had had Ireland under the law of the Leagues and under the law of Parliament. What was its condition when the Land League and the National League were triumphant? In this country if a man went out into the street and 57 broke a policeman's head it was a crime; in Ireland if he went out and shouted Home Rule and broke a policeman's head, he was a hero. He himself did not differentiate crime in that way, but the whole object of this Bill was to differentiate crime under the Crimes Act and crime under the ordinary law. That was its whole object. Hon. Members opposite, in their political manœuvres, did not differentiate crime and crime, but what they desired to do now was to get the House to affirm that there was a great moral difference in intimidating a man for political purposes and intimidating him for other purposes. He denied that. Crime was crime if it was against the law. It had been suggested that an Irishman who had been convicted of a crime might be allowed to sit in this House while he was not allowed to sit in an assembly dealing with county management. That was perfectly fair and just. When they became excited he was glad hon. Gentlemen opposite were in the House of Commons. He looked upon the hon. Gentlemen opposite as eighty specimens of men who ought never to be placed in a position of authority either in Ireland or in any other country. When Gentlemen on the Irish Benches were in the House of Commons they had no power of intimidation. Other Members did not intimidate them when they were making their speeches. They were not intimidated, and they expressed very candidly their opinion of the views which other hon. Members expressed. But in Irish county councils those gentlemen who practised intimidation had no one to keep their eye upon them. In the county councils they had no one to bring them to book for their conduct. There 58 was a very clear difference between the position of Members of the House of Commons and members of the county councils. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool seemed to imagine himself to be the Irish nation. Hon. Gentlemen opposite could be taken to represent the majority of the Irish people. If the people fancied to be represented by hon. Gentlemen opposite let them have their choice, but he would never choose to be represented by hon. Members on the Irish Benches. If the Irish people wanted to prove to demonstration that they were practically unfit to govern themselves they could not do it better than by sending hon. Gentlemen opposite to represent them in the House of Commons. He asked anybody with any brains there present, Would anybody outside a lunatic asylum consent to be governed by hon. Gentlemen opposite? He was sure he had expressed the opinion of every Gentleman who sat on the Ministerial side of the House and of a great many of the Liberal friends of hon. Gentlemen opposite. Liberal Members were quite willing to consent to Nationalist Members going over to Ireland to govern the Irish people, but, if it were proposed that Nationalist Members should govern them, Liberal Members would hold a very different view. If Irish Members had come down to the House and said the evil days of intimidation and political crime had passed away and changed—he himself saw no sign of reformation—if they had said——
§ MR. FLAVIN (Kerry, N.)
asked if the right hon. Gentleman was aware of any case of intimidation on the part of the landlords to make their tenants pay exorbitant rents.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
could not for the life of him see how an Irish landlord could possibly intimidate a tenant.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
believed the hon. Member must be mistaken, He could quite understand a tenant intimidating a landlord, but that a landlord under the Land Act could possibly intimidate a tenant he could not conceive. If hon. Gentlemen opposite would say they had changed their political course, were no longer disloyal to the British Empire, that they would wave the Union Jack, hate all the enemies of this country, glory in all the triumphs achieved by the British Army all over the world, and show the House that they had changed their views and wished bygones to be bygones there might be something to say, if they believed them, about passing this Bill. This Bill was a sort of an advance guard to a direct attack upon the Crimes Act. It was to place a depreciated value on the Crimes Act which was the object of the Bill. Next Wednesday he believed they intended to attack the Crimes Act itself. Could they show they had modified their views on the most microscopic point [NATIONALIST cries of "No."] Hon. Gentlemen opposite were perfectly honest, they said: "As we were in the days of Land and National Leagues—in the days of violence, outrage, and crimes in Ireland, so we are now." And being the same they had come to the House, and would continue to do so until their friends above the gangway 60 occupied the Treasury Bench, with the hope that they could persuade them to consolidate the Empire by handing Ireland over to its greatest enemies. He had always asserted that hon. Gentlemen opposite could, if they chose, keep the Irish people quiet, and he remembered saying years ago that Mr. Parnell held the tap of crime in his hand and could turn it on or off as he liked.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
denied doing any such thing, and pointed out that what he called crime hon. Gentlemen did not—and Mr. Parnell did not. At the present moment Ireland was a network of the National League. All the old machinery of the Land League, which to his mind blackened the history of Ireland with many crimes, would come again into existence. This was the time when they wanted to take away the Crimes Act.
§ MR. SPEAKER
There is a Bill, I understand, before the House next week for the purpose of dealing with the Crimes Act, but that is not this Bill.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
said this Bill dealt with the effect of the Crimes Act, and was moved with the endeavour to impair the working of the Act. It was a Bill undeserving of the support of the House of Commons, and undeserving of the support of any man who really desired to see a peaceful Ireland, and for that reason he cordially opposed it.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said he had observed a considerable change 61 in the atmosphere of that House in regard to Irish affairs generally, and he knew of no better indication of the beneficent nature of that change than was to be found in the fact that whereas, not so very long ago, when the right hon. and gallant Member for North Armagh treated them to a speech such as they had just heard, it aroused a considerable feeling of anger and indignation, nowadays the invariable effect was to create much amusement and merriment. It was always one good feature of the right hon. Member's speeches that they were never taken seriously by his Irish opponents; they only elicited a certain amount of ridicule and good-natured laughter. But there was just one point in the speech which was worthy of serious comment. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman said it was in the power of the Irish Nationalists, whenever they thought fit, to practically turn crime off and on in that country. He asserted that in the days of Mr. Parnell, the great Leader of the Irish Party—now many years in his grave—that power existed, and that Mr. Parnell was able at his will to have crime in Ireland or to prevent it. Mr. Parnell had a stormy career in political affairs; he had many enemies, but he did think it was an unworthy aspersion on the memory of Mr. Parnell to say that at any time in his career he approved of anything in the shape of crime or outrage in Ireland. It was a well-known historical fact that Mr. Parnell's influence was exercised to teach the Irish people to use their constitutional power in the House, and not to have recourse to the wild justice of revenge. His belief was that, if it had not been for the interference of Mr. Parnell—one of the greatest statesman of the last century, whose memory would ever be revered and respected by the 62 Irish people—in the direction of Irish affairs, crime and outrage would have been more widespread than they were years ago. The hon. and gallant Gentleman in his characteristically Irish speech exclaimed—" Thank Heaven I am not ruled by hon. Gentlemen opposite!" and he added that nobody outside a lunatic asylum would dream of allowing themselves to be ruled by the eighty Nationalist Members. Did the right hon. and gallant Gentleman believe that? Did he contend that the British Constitution was framed and based on the rules and orders which obtained only in a lunatic asylum? Did he consider that the British people were no better than the inmates of a lunatic asylum? If so, why did the British people insist on having the Nationalist Members in that House to help them in governing the country? Why did they give them a voice and votes to control English, Scotch, and Welsh affairs, and to assist in shaping the destinies of the whole Empire? The right hon. and gallant Gentleman had paid but a poor compliment to those who were maintaining the Union at the present time, because it was well within the knowledge of everybody, despite the sneers and gibes of the right hon. Gentleman, that the presence of the Irish Members in that House during the last 100 years had been marked by much good done for the welfare of the people at large, and the records of Parliament showed that the most beneficent reforms in the interests of the British people had been carried into law by the work and votes of the Nationalist Members who had been sneered at that day.
§ COLONEL SAUNDERSON
I did not object to Irishmen being here. I look 63 upon the House of Commons as a mixture —and a very good mixture—of English, Irish. Scotch, and Welsh.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said the right hon. and gallant Gentleman had suggested that the Irish Members were not to be trusted, but it had repeatedly been in their power to make and unmake Governments, and many great measures of reform could not have been carried but for their support. Was not the right hon. Gentleman inconsistent when he asserted that the Nationalists were not to be trusted? Why, it had been shown in the recent history of Ireland that the most turbulent portion of the country had been found in the northern constituencies represented by the right hon. and gallant Member and his friends. It was in the North of Ireland that had occurred the most deplorable scenes which reflected upon the common name of civilisation. When the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Montrose Burghs was in office as Chief Secretary they had one of the most bloody and terrible riots ever heard of in the history of the country in the streets of Belfast, and on that occasion the minority of the Catholic people were driven to their death and persecuted in the most relentless fashion by the friends of the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues. That was the outcome—pure and simple—of religious bigotry. [Cries of "Question."] Well, if hon. Members opposite did not like what he was saying they could reintroduce the system of boycotting, and in the chivalrous spirit in which they dealt recently with the hon. Member for Oldham, they could walk out of the House. They had done so before, and he confessed that he for one never missed them. Unfortunately, 64 whenever an era of reform set in in Irish affairs there was always something left behind—small in itself, perhaps—which had the effect of irritating the Irish people and spoiling the effect of the reform. Last year, they were told, was inaugurated a period of better feeling—greater toleration was to prevail in the future, and yet the Government now refused to remove a disqualification which had been placed on fourteen men only, and thereby they were seriously injuring the chances of the success of last year's reform. In refusing this small measure of reform the Government would only foster the irritation and discontent in Ireland which had of late shown symptoms of disappearing altogether. The Attorney-General for Ireland had made a very bitter speech. He had spoken with much vehemence about crime and outrage, but no one knew better than the right hon. and learned Gentleman that no single one of the fourteen men whose cause they were fighting to-day was convicted of anything whatever in the shape of crime. The majority were sent to prison merely for attending meetings held to be illegal, and he might mention a case in Clare, where of three men convicted of one and the same offence only one was sent to hard labour and incurred this disqualification, while the other two, although sent to gaol, escaped hard labour and the disqualification. That was simply an outrage on justice, and he could only say in conclusion that the continuance of this disqualification imposed on local representatives would not have the slightest deterrent effect.
§ MR. HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)
said he listened with great regret to the speech of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman 65 the Member for North Armagh. Such speeches only served to obstruct remedial legislation for Ireland, because Members for England and Scotland who listened to them were naturally at a loss to know how to exercise their fair unbiased judgment. One could forgive the hon. Members for Peckham and the Newport Division of Shropshire because they knew nothing about Ireland or the condition of the people and had no sympathy with Irishmen and anything Irish. But when Irishmen followed in the same course of gibes and flouts he was reminded of the familiar saying of that bitter satirist Dean Swift: "If you want an Irishman roasted you must get another Irishman to turn the spit." It was a shocking spectacle, when all Europe was listening with pleasure to the loyalty expressed in Ireland to the Crown, that efforts should be made to mislead the judgment of the English people by making them believe that by the passing of this Bill any injury could result to the interests of the country. Now he wished to say a word or two as to the speech of the Attorney-General. He was quite willing to accept the right hon. Gentleman's statement that he never intended last year to convey an idea that he would give any countenance to a measure like this. But he was bound to say that the criticisms of the right hon. Gentleman were not calculated to enable English and Scotch Members to understand what this really short and simple Bill amounted to. One would suppose that it was an attempt to differentiate between Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom. That was exactly contrary to the fact. It would place the law affecting disqualifications in the two countries on exactly the same basis. Hard labour 66 was no part of the common law of the land, but from time to time Statutes had been passed enabling the Courts to add hard labour to ordinary sentences of imprisonment in cases of exceptional moral turpitude as distinct from ordinary breaches of the law, and the Irish Local Government Act, which set out the schedule of the English Act, was only intended to give the power of compulsory hard labour under similar circumstances. The Order in Council introduced a modification placing the offences against the Crimes Act in the same category as ordinary offences.
§ Mr. HEMPHILL
said that if that was the case the present Bill would be unnecessary, because its object was to secure that where conviction had taken place under the Criminal Procedure Act of 1887 the consequence of disqualification should not follow. The Act was so construed as to treat the Order in Council as entailing disqualification, and hence it was that the fourteen persons to whom reference had been made had been disqualified. But it was not a question of the merits or demerits of the Order in Council with which the House was now concerned. The point at issue was that in England such a disqualification did not arise, and the object of the Bill was simply to assimilate the law in Ireland to that in England. After long delay and much agitation the boon of local self-government was conferred upon the people of Ireland. Was that boon now to be rendered nugatory by the operation of this disqualification? That was really the question the House had to consider. The local councils were representative of 67 the masses of the people of the country; the members had the confidence of their fellow ratepayers, and under the Local Government Act they were entrusted with the management of all local affairs. Were such men to be disqualified from taking part in the adminstration of local affairs by the capricious exercise of the authority of two removable magistrates in adding hard labour to the sentence for an offence of a political nature? It was not the imprisonment, but the addition of hard labour, which constituted the disqualification, and it was intolerable that such a political weapon should be placed in the hands of magistrates who could be dismissed by the Lord-Lieutenant without cause assigned or notice given. At a time when all classes in Ireland were trying to forget their past differences, when Irishmen seemed to be vying one with another in their demonstrations of loyalty to the person of their Sovereign, and when there was a prospect of the recent Land Act throwing oil on the waters which for centuries had been troubled, it was lamentable that the representative of the Government should have delivered himself of such a harsh and acerbating speech on so simple a Bill as that under discussion.
§ MR. HEYWOOD JOHNSTONE (Sussex, Horsham)
desired to give the measure a word of welcome. He had not read the Bill, but his experience had shown him that that was not at all necessary to enable a Member to address the House. He had gathered from the debate that it was intended to remove certain disqualifications for public office from gentlemen who had been con- 68 victed for offences under special Irish legislation, disqualifications that did not stand in the way of English county council candidates. There was a misconception which he desired to clear up. Under a Statute of George II., persons convicted of a certain offence were liable to be fined, whipped, or imprisoned, and to deprivation of all civil rights, so that no position would be left open to them except that of a professional politician or a passive resister. The crime to which that penalty attached was that of the slaughter or skinning of a beast by a licensed horse-slaughterer in any place other than that to which his licence applied. In the face of that enactment, it should not be said that Englishmen were so much better off than the people of Ireland. He welcomed the Bill because it showed that there was a desire in Ireland to take part in local government. Ho remembered well the enthusiasm that the passing of the Parish Councils Acts aroused in England. Soon after the creation of parish councils he had a conversation with a blacksmith, who remarked how pleased his old mother would have been if she knew he was entitled to put "P.C" after his name. He regretted that such enthusiasm was dying out in England, but it was a happy augury for the future that in Ireland the people were so anxious to take part in the local government of the country that it should have been thought worth while for the sake of fourteen persons—that being the number affected by the Bill—to bring this measure before the House of Commons and have a whole afternoon's discussion upon it.
§ Question put.69
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 137; Noes, 205. (Division List No. 101.)71
|Abraham, William(Cork, N.E.)||Flynn, James Christopher||O'Brien, P. J. (Tipperary N.)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Furness, Sir Christopher||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)|
|Ambrose, Robert||Gilhooly, James||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Asher, Alexander||Grant, Corrie||O'Doherty, William|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Gurdon, Sir W. Brampton||O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)|
|Austin, Sir John||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||O'Dowd, John|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Harcourt, Lewis V.(Rossendale||O'Kelly, James(Roscommon, X.|
|Black, Alexander William||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Malley, William|
|Blake, Edward||Hemphill, Rt. Hon. Charles H.||O'Shaughnessy, P.J.|
|Boland, John||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Palmer, Sir Charles M.(Durham)|
|Bolton, Thomas Dolling||Horniman, Frederick John||Parrott, William|
|Brunner, Sir John Tomlinson||Jacoby, James Alfred||Partington, Oswald|
|Bryce, Rt. Hon. James||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire||Paulton, James Mellor|
|Burke, E. Haviland||Joyce Michael||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Burns, John||Kilbride, Denis||Reddy, M.|
|Burt, Thomas||Law, Hugh Alex. (Donegal, W.)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Caldwell, James||Lawson, Sir Wilfrid (Cornwall)||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Campbell, John (Armagh, S.)||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Reid, Sir R. Threshie (Dumfries|
|Campbell-Bannerman, Sir H.||Leamy, Edmund||Robertson, Edmund (Dundee)|
|Channing, Francis Allston||Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington||Roche, John|
|Cogan, Denis J.||Leng, Sir John||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lewis, John Herbert||Rose, Charles Day|
|Craig, Robert Hunter (Lanark)||Lundon, W.||Russell, T. W.|
|Crean, Eugene||MacDonnell, Dr. Mark A.||Schwann, Charles E.|
|Crombie, John William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)|
|Cullinan, J.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Shaw, Thomas (Hawick B.)|
|Dalziel, James Henry||M'Fadden, Edward||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Davies, M. Vaughan (Cardigan||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Sheehy, David|
|Delany, William||M'Kean, John||Spencer, Rt. Hn. C. R.(Northants|
|Devlin, Charles Ramsay(Galway||M'Kenna, Reginald||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Devlin, Joseph (Kilkenny N.)||M'Killop, W. (Sligo, North)||Sullivan, Donal|
|Dewar, John A. (Inverness-sh.||Mappin, Sir Frederick Thorpe||Wallace, Robert|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Markham, Arthur Basil||Walton, John Lawson(Leeds, S.)|
|Doogan, P. C.||Mellor, Rt. Hon. John William||Walton, Joseph (Barnsley)|
|Douglas, Charles M. (Lanark)||Mitchell, Edw. (Fermanagh, N.)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Duncan, J. Hastings||Mooney, John J.||Wason, Eugene (Clackmannan)|
|Dunn, Sir William||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wason, John Cathcart(Orkney)|
|Ellice, Capt. EC(S. Andrw'sBghs||Moss, Samuel||Weir, James Galloway|
|Emmott, Alfred||Moulton, John Fletcher||Whiteley, George (York, W.R.)|
|Evans, Sir Francis H.(Maidstone||Murnaghan, George||Whittaker, Thomas Palmer|
|Farquharson, Dr. Robert||Murphy, John||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Young, Samuel|
|Fenwick, Charles||Nolan, Col. John P. (Galway, N.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro (Leith)||Nolan, Joseph (Louth, South)|
|Ffrench, Peter||O'Brien, James F. X. (Cork)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir Thomas Esmonde and Captain Donelan.|
|Field, William||O'Brien, Kendal(Tipperary Mid|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Brien, Patrick Kilkenny)|
|Allsopp, Hon. George||Bigwood, James||Cohen, Benjamin Louis|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Bond, Edward||Colomb, Rt. Hon. Sir John C.R.|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O.||Boscawen, Arthur Griffith||Colston, Chas. Edw. H. Athole|
|Atkinson, Rt. Hon. John||Bowles, Lt-Col. H.F. (Middlesex||Cook, Sir Frederick Lucas|
|Aubrey-Fletcher, Rt. Hon. Sir H.||Bowles, T. Gibson(King's Lynn||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Bagot, Capt. Josceline FitzRoy||Brown, Sir Alex. H. (Shropsh.)||Corbett, T.L. (Down, North)|
|Bailey James (Walworth)||Burdett-Coutts, W.||Cox, Irwin Edward Bainbridge|
|Bain, Colonel James Robert||Butcher, John George||Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.|
|Baird, John George Alexander||Campbell, Rt. Hn. J. A.(Glasgow||Cripps, Charles Alfred|
|Balcarres, Lord||Campbell, J.H.M.(Dublin Univ||Cross, Alexander (Glasgow)|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A.J.(Manch'r||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Crossley, Rt. Hon. Sir Savile|
|Balfour, Rt Hn Gerald W.(Leeds||Cavendish. V.C.W. (Derbyshire||Cubitt, Hon. Henry|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Davenport, William Bromley|
|Barry, Sir Francis T. Windsor)||Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A(Worc.||Davies, Sir Horatio D.(Chatham|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen Benjamin||Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Denny, Colonel|
|Beach, Rt. Hn. Sir Michael Hicks||Charrington, Spencer||Dewar, Sir T.R.(Tower Hamlets|
|Beckett, Ernest William||Clive, Captain Percy A.||Dickson, Charles Scott|
|Bignold, Arthur||Cochrane Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Digby, John K. D. Wingfield-|
|Disraeli, Coningsby Ralph||Howard, J. (Midd.,Tottenham)||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne|
|Dixon-Hartland, SirFred Dixon||Hozier,Hon.James Henry Cecil||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Dorington, Rt. Hn. Sir John E.||Hudson, George Bickersteth||Ridley, Hon.M.W. (Stalybridge|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers||Hunt, Rowland||Ridley, S. Forde(BethnalGreen|
|Doxford, Sir William Theodore||Jebb, Sir Richard Claverhouse||Ritchie, Rt.Hon.Chas.Thomson|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Johnstone, Heywood (Sussex)||Roberts, Samuel (Sheffield|
|Durning-Lawrence, Sir Edwin||Kenyon, Hon.Geo T. (Denbigh)||Robertson, Herbert (Hackney)|
|Dyke, Rt. Hn.Sir William Hart||Kenyon-Slaney, Col.W. (Salop.||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Elliot, Hon. A. Ralph Douglas||Knowles, Sir Lees||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Faber, Edmund B. (Hants, W.)||Laurie, Lieut. General||Sackville, Col. S. G. Stopford|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Glasgow)||Samuel, Sir Harry. S.(Limehouse|
|Fergusson, Rt. Hon Sir J. (Manc'r||Lawrence,Sir Joseph(Monm'th)||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos.Myles|
|Finlay, Sir Robert Bannatyne||Lawson,JohnGrant(Yorks.N.R||Saunderson, Rt.Hn.Col. Edw.J.|
|Fisher, William Hayes||Lee,ArthurH.(Hants.,Fareham||Seton-Karr, Sir Henry|
|Fison, Frederick William||Long,Rt.Hn.Walter (Bristol, S)||Sharpe, William Edward T.|
|FitzGerald, Sir Robert Penrose||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Simeon, Sir Barrington|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward Algernon||Lowther, C. (Cumb., Eskdale)||Skewes-Cox, Thomas|
|Flannery, Sir Fortescue||Lucas, Col. Francis (Lowestoft)||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Flower, Sir Ernest||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East)|
|Forster, Henry William||Macdona, John Cumming||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Fyler, John Arthur||Maconochie, A. W.||Spear, John Ward|
|Gardner, Ernest||M'Arthur, Charles (Liverpool)||Spencer, Sir E. (W. Bromwich)|
|Garfit, William||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Stanley, Edward Jas.(Somerset)|
|Gibbs, Hon. A. G. H.||M'Iver, Sir Lewis(Edinburgh,W||Stewart, Sir Mark J. M'Taggart|
|Gore, Hn G.R.C. Ormsby-(Salop||M'Killop, James (Stirlingshire)||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Gore, Hon. S. F. Ormsby-(Linc.||Malcolm, Ian||Stroyan, John|
|Gorst, Rt.Hon. Sir John Eldon||Martin, Richard Biddulph||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Maxwell, Rt Hn Sir H.E.(Wigt'n||Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)|
|Graham, Henry Robert||Maxwell, W.J.H (Dumfriesshire||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Gray, Ernest (West Ham)||Milner, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Tomlinson, Sir Win. Edw. M.|
|Greene, W. Raymond (Cambs.)||Mitchell, William (Burnley)||Tritton, Charles Ernest|
|Gunter, Sir Robert||Molesworth, Sir Lewis||Tuff, Charles|
|Hall, Edward Marshall||Montagu, G. Huntingdon)||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Halsey, Rt. Hon. Thomas F.||Moon, Edward Robert Pacy||Vaientia, Viscount|
|Hamilton, Rt. Hn Lord G (Midd'x||Morgan, David J.(Walthamstow||Vincent, Col. Sir C.E H(Sheffield|
|Hamilton, Marq. Of (L'nd'nderry||Morrell, George Herbert||Walrond, Rt. Hn. Sir William H.|
|Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Morton, Arthur H. Aylmer||Warde, Colonel C. E.|
|Hare, Thomas Leigh||Mowbray, iSir Robert Gray C.||Welby, Lt.-Col. A.C.E.(Taunton|
|Harris, F. Leverton (Tynem'th)||Murray, Rt. Hn. A. Graham (Bute||Whiteley, H.(Ashton und. Lyne|
|Hatch, Ernest Frederick Geo.||Murray, Col. Wyndham (Bath)||Whitmore, Charles Algernon|
|Hay, Hon. Claude George||Newdegate, Francis A. N.||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Heath, Arthur Howard (Hanley||Nicholson, William Graham||Wilson, A. Stanley(York, E.R.)|
|Heath, James (Stafford. N.W.||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens||Wodehouse, Lt. Hn. E.R. (Bath)|
|Heaton, John Henniker||Pemberton, John S. G.||Wolff, Gustay Wilhelm|
|Helder, Augustus||Percy, Earl||Worsley-Taylor, Henry Wilson|
|Henderson, Sir A.(Stafford, W.)||Pierpoint, Robert||Wyndham-Quin, Col. W. H.|
|Hickman, Sir Alfred||Pilkington, Colonel Richard||Yerburgh, Robert Armstrong|
|Hoare, Sir Samuel||Platt-Higgins, Frederick|
|Hobhouse, Rt Hn H.(Somers't, E||Plummer, Walter R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Hope, J.F.(Sheffield, Brightside||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Hornby, Sir William Henry||Pretyman, Ernest George||Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes.|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Purvis, Robert|