§ Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment [3rd February] to Main Question [29th January], "That an humble Address be presented to His Majesty, as followeth—
§ "Most Gracious Sovereign,
§ "We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Majesty for the gracious Speech which Your Majesty has addressed to both Houses of Parliament."—(Mr. Lehmann.)
Which Amendment was—
At the, end of the Question, to add the words, 'But humbly express our regret that Your Majesty's advisers have failed to refer to the increase of agrarian crime and disorder in Ireland, or to give any assurance as to the adoption of measures for the batter protection of the lives and properties of Your Majesty's subjects, and for the repression of lawlessness and intimidation in that part of Your Majesty's Dominions.' "—(Mr. Long.)
§ Question again proposed, "That those words be there added."
§ MR. CHAPLIN (Surrey, Wimbledon)
In the observations I was making last night when by the rules of this House the 735 debate stood adjourned, I was dealing with the condition of Ireland and the attitude of the Chief Secretary in regard to it. This afternoon, if I may, I wish to allude to the statement made not many days ago by the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he put this question—"What is the charge, after all, against the Chief Secretary?" But it is not a charge against the Chief Secretary alone by any means—but against his colleagues in the Cabinet as well. The Foreign Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer had announced their unreserved support of the Chief Secretary, not only for what he had done in Ireland, but for everything that he had abstained from doing, and the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer took opportunity on that occasion to utter some very valiant words of his own with regard to cattle-driving in Ireland and the action to be taken with regard to it. For not only did he denounce cattle-driving itself in scathing terms, he spoke of it as one of the most reprehensible, criminal and mischievous practices in Ireland at the present time; but he assurred the public in emphatic words that—"It must be put down, and put down it should be."
§ MR. CHAPLIN
No, it has not been put down, as the right Hon. Gentleman will learn if he will consult the information available to him as well as to me, and certainly by no action of the Government. Cattle-driving, I admit, has undergone a considerable lull—with an intention which I will not characterise and of which I do not know the secret; but it is a fact that almost immediately after the right hon. Gentleman made his bold, outspoken statement of the intentions of the Government his speech was followed by a cattle-drive on one of the largest scales yet known. I have information, too, before me from sources which I am assured can be relied upon, showing that not only does cattle-driving exist to-day in different parts of Ireland, but it has extended from animals grazing in the fields to cattle which are stored in the homesteads. I find it stated in The Times on 30th 736 January that fifty animals were taken out of farm buidings on one occasion and driven away, and this in spite of all the declarations and pledges given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the members of the Cabinet. Did the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary say that that was an inaccurate statement?
§ MR. CHAPLIN
It is very strange, and I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman's information as to cattle-driving is not all that we could wish. I take it from the charge of one of the Judges in Ireland, and it is confirmed by hon. Gentlemen who are well informed on these matters—from gentlemen who, when many months ago they warned the Chief Secretary as to the then condition of Ireland and what it would lead to, were derided and ridiculed by him.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
Again I say, it is a matter of opinion, and it is my interpretation of his language when he described hon. Gentlemen on this side, with far better knowledge of the country than himself, as "carrion crows." Was that ridicule or was it not? At all events I am entitled to say this: when he took office the Chief Secretary has admitted that Ireland was more peaceful than at any time during the previous 600 years, and he ridiculed the men who warned him that he was mistaken in this view. But last night he had to come down and admit to a crowded House of Commons that the condition of Ireland during his tenure of office has been converted from a peaceful condition to one which even he looked upon with grave and constant anxiety. And, as I have said, although the Chancellor of the Exchequer assured the English public before Parliament met that cattle-driving should be put down we find that the practice 737 had been actually extended from grazing cattle to stall-fed cattle in the homesteads. The right hon. Gentleman says it is absolutely untrue. I hope it is untrue, and, if it is, I shall be justified in having raised the question, because it has given the right hon. Gentleman an opportunity of contradicting the statement. I will read the report—At Navan Quarter Sessions, yesterday, his Honour Judge Curran delivered judgment in an application for compensation for malicious injury arising out of a cattle-drive which took place in County Meath in November last. From the evidence it appeared that fifty-nine fat cattle, the property of Mr. William McKeever, were taken from the stalls where they had been penned for three weeks, were driven in various directions through the country, and were not recovered until the following morning. Judge Curran said the act was a most outrageous one.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
This is reported in The Times of 30th January. The date of the occurrence was November last.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
I apologise if I have in any way misquoted the right hon. Gentleman. Was not he aware of it at the time he made the statement?
§ MR. CHAPLIN
No. Then the case was worse than he supposed, and there were additional reasons which he was not aware of for his emphatic declaration at the time he made it, viz., "that it must be put down, and put down it should be," one reason being that cattle-driving has been applied for a long time it seems—although the right hon. Gentleman has never had the information—to cattle in stalls. In this case fifty animals had been taken from their stalls by violence, and yet we have been told by Gentlemen opposite, and some of their warm supporters in that part of the House [pointing to the Nationalist Benches] that cattle - driving is a harmless offence, and that there was 738 no case known of injury having been done to animals driven in this way. But to put down cattle-driving is the one thing that the right hon. Gentleman has not done; it is the very tiling which he has abstained altogether from doing. That is perfectly evident, because it continues in a modified degree even still; and I am unable to reconcile the declarations and the pledges given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer with his unreserved support of the Chief Secretary in abstaining from doing the very thing which he undertook and unreservedly promised the Government should do. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, however, fell back on general disorder in Ireland, and there he made the rather ridiculous statement that the speech of the Leader of the Opposition on the first night of the debate was a caricature of the condition of Ireland. I think the Chancellor of the Exchequer will find it somewhat difficult when he speaks to-night to prove it. I affirm from the information which is public property everywhere, that there has been constant open defiance of the law, and almost daily contempt of the law in Ireland, and that the country in that respect is worse at the present moment than I ever remember it. [MINISTERIAL Cries of "Oh!"] Hon. Members say "Oh!" It is true that as regards violent crimes we have not now anything like the murders which have been committed in Ireland. Are we to wait for wholesale murder in that country before the law is vindicated and law and order maintained I My observation was limited to this—and I challenge contradiction—that with regard to open, glaring defiance and daily contempt of the law in that country, the condition of Ireland was never more grave than it is at the present time. The figures given by the right hon. Gentleman last night were in themselves sufficient to contradict the Chancellor of the Exchequer's assertion that our statements and the statements in the Press are caricatures. What about the increase in outrages by firearms? They have grown enormously since the time that Ireland was represented as being in an exceptionally peaceful condition. Why does not the right hon. Gentleman try to reply to the powerful and able speech of the hon. Member for Cambridge University last 739 night? That speech was plain, frank, and outspoken, and, I believe, absolutely true. Let the Chancellor of the Exchequer answer that speech if he can. [Laughter.] It is all very well for people to laugh, but it is a speech which requires a reply, and if it is not replied to—and nobody so far has attempted to reply to it—it is because it is true and cannot be answered and I am justified in my statements. But if the right hon. Gentleman is not satisfied with statements that come from us on this side of the House., what has he to say of the charges of Judges in Ireland? I am very sure that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be the last man in this House to impugn the impartiality or to ridicule the gravity of the statements that have been made by the Judges in Ireland in their charges to juries. [NATIONALIST laughter.] I am quite sure that the laughter I hear below the Gangway is not joined in by the members of His Majesty's Government. I shall wait with great interest to know how much or how little of these charges has been brought to the attention of the members of the Government, apart from the Chief Secretary, whose special duty it is, to attend to them. I think I have seen them all, and statements of greater gravity it has never been my misfortune to road or consider, during all the years I have been in Parliament, although in former years I do remember that very grave statements came again and again from the Judges in Ireland at that time. I do not wish to dwell on them at undue length, but I must remind right hon. Gentlemen opposite that in this particular case they are the incriminated parties themselves. They are the defendants at this moment in the action which has been brought against them by my right hon. friend, and we naturally attribute more importance to the evidence of the witnesses whom we believe to be absolutely impartial, for they have nothing to make them otherwise. We give to it more importance than we do to the descriptions which the right hon. Gentleman gives to this House in defence of his colleagues and himself. The Judges have month by month depicted the condition of Ireland as going from bad to worse, without the smallest effect whatever on the attitude of the Government. In his address to the grand 740 jury at Longford a few days ago, Judge Curran said that in October last he referred to the persistent and long-continued conspiracy against certain individuals in the hope that the authorities would put an end to this persecution, and afford those unfortunate people some protection. I suppose that came under the notice of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary. I assume by his silence that that is absolutely correct. What did the Government do? One would have thought that any English Government would have taken some action on this statement. But the Judge goes on to say—But he found that not a finger had been raised and not a movement had been made by the authorities for the defence and protection of those individuals. He found that since the last Quarter Sessions there had been twenty-six eases of boycotting, affecting fifty-one individuals.And yet the Chief Secretary last night only made most fervid declarations upon the cruelty and wickedness of boycotting—There is nothing in the world," he said, "that I would not do to put an end to this abominable practice of boycotting.Yes, Sir. But he forgets there is one thing which we say he will not do, and that is to take the one effective method which other Governments have used, viz., to employ all the powers of the law at his disposal. The right hon. Gentleman stands convicted by his own words. Since he came into office there has been a steady recrudescence of boycotting, and under the influence of the Land League it is spreading rapidly to-day.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
In nothing like the same proportion it has reached since the right hon. Gentleman came into office, and we have it from the Chief Secretary that after many years of Unionist Government, that Ireland was more peaceful than it had ever been before. But the right hon. Gentleman says that, "The Crimes Act would be ineffective." Why? It was effective before. Why is it that other people have been able to put Ireland in a peaceful condition, and how and why is 741 it that the right hon. Gentleman has only succeeded in converting vast districts of Ireland into hot-beds of sedition and crime, during the few mouths in which he has held office? I might refer to any number of charges from other Judges, and Heaven knows there is enough in them to make the hair of hon. Members in the House stand on end! But I will not, and all I will ask is to go back for one single moment, if I may, to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and cattle-driving. In connection with the sudden outburst of this new form of outrages the right hon. Gentleman made a very remarkable statement which struck me greatly at all events and which I cut out at the time. I suppose the right hon. Gentleman is accurately reported, but in the report he says—Cattle-driving was only a manifestation of something else of which the Government was bound to take notice. We believe that when we see manifestations of this kind going on over a considerable part of Ireland, undoubtedly it will be your first duty to enforce the law to protect property and to maintain order.But that is the very thing you have not done. It is his own declaration.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
The right hon. Gentleman's. Here are his own words, and how can he get away from them?—It will be your first duty to enforce the law to protect property and to maintain order.And yet he and his colleagues allow 400 cattle-drives to be made in one year and with impunity—a state of things which the right hon. Gentleman has described as a most reprehensible, most criminal, and most mischievous form of outrage; and the whole time neglecting what he himself has declared to be their first and primary duty. But I go on a bit further. The light hon. Gentleman says—You cannot brush such manifestations aside as if they were meaningless, motiveless horseplay…. We must find something in the social and economical conditions of which they are the deplorable outcome to find some-thing which appears to palliate the illegal conduct of these men.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
I am delighted to hear it. I could not conceive that the 742 right hon. Gentleman meant to palliate such proceedings.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
That is one of the misfortunes from which a great many of us suffer in these days, though the right hon. Gentleman not so much as others perhaps, from his distinguished position. And then the right hon. Gentleman goes on to describe what that something else is; and what does it amount to? It is the desire of a great number of the population of Ireland to get untenanted land. It is not an uncommon desire of a great portion of humanity to get possession of what belongs to somebody else; but I do not understand that that would in any way justify the attitude of the Government. But apart from that, the right hon. Gentleman forgets that that something else which he has found was in existence when his Government came into office. Probably Ireland has never been free from it. But if it was in existence when Ireland was so transcendentally peaceful, is it not perfectly obvious that this sudden recrudescence of disorder and outrage must have been due to something totally different? The Chief Secretary found Ireland in that position of peacefulness which made him contrast his happy lot so thankfully with that of so many of his predecessors. No, this recrudescence of crime was due to something totally different. What was it? I can only give my own personal impression from a careful study of the condition of Ireland, which I have always watched with the deepest interest; and I have no doubt as to the original cause. It was a most uncalled-for and peculiarly foolish statement of the Minister newly appointed to office and who had not then acquired probably all the knowledge of Ireland which was essential to the discharge of his duty. The right hon. Gentleman took an early opportunity of saying in this House that whatever might happen in Ireland, so far as he was concerned hon. Members from Ireland might take it that the Crimes Act would not be made use of, and that 743 that Act itself might be considered dead and buried so long as this Government continued in power. That was all very well. But it was news to a great many people in Ireland, and it spread throughout the whole of the country like wild-fire. The Irish people discovered that they were again confronted with a Minister and Government who had neither the courage nor the nerve to enforce the law and do their duty. They were told over and over again, and were allowed to believe, that they had the secret support of many of the members of the Government in cattle-driving, and that those who were the first to drive the cattle would be the first to get the land. When they were told that by Members of this House against whom the right hon. Gentleman never took a single step—when the right hon. Gentleman allowed these Members of Parliament to preach these doctrines all over the district and left the inciters to crime, the real authors of the mischief, to go free—when it was only by the action of one of the Judges who had more courage and determination than the right hon. Gentleman had, that one of them was at last imprisoned,—this mistaken action in the first instance among so excitable a people as the Irish, was more than sufficient to create that condition of things in Ireland which so unhappily prevails to-day. No reply worthy of acceptance has been made from the benches opposite up to the present moment to the charges made by the Judges and to the Amendment moved by my right hon. friend. The Government may rely upon it that their unfortunate action in these respects sooner or later will inevitably re-act upon themselves, and I am inclined to think that the right hon. Gentleman has found that out for himself and that he has great fears for the future. The right hon. Gentleman dwelt the other night upon the difficulties of the congested districts, he spoke, indeed, in terms which betrayed his deep anxiety whether it would be possible really to regenerate or to improve and alter the condition of the people in certain parts of Ireland, and to bring about a new state of things, in order to relieve the congested districts. I gather that from one statement in which he referred to a question which was sometimes asked, as follows: "Did not 744 God make the Irish land for the Irish people?" "Yes," he said, "but what do you mean by that? Is the land of Mayo, is the land of Roscommon made for the people of Ireland?" There I think the right hon. Gentleman pointed and with perfect truth to a difficulty which is bound and certain to await him, which, except on one condition, will, I believe, defeat him in all his schemes for dealing with the great problem of congestion in the future, and that condition is that he teaches by his example and his action the Irish people to believe and know that both by him and by his colleagues the primary duty of a Government, so long neglected, the duty of maintaining law and order will be unflinchingly observed. Whatever your desires and wishes may be for the improvement of the congested districts, you have no warmer sympathiser than I am in regard to them. I remember advocating myself years ago that the only remedies for the congested districts were two things—migration wherever it was possible, but accompanied by something else, and that was emigration. Migration alone I do not think can ever be a remedy sufficient for the existing condition of things, but if there were in addition some carefully and well considered system of emigration, for which there are great openings in the Colonies, I do think that in that direction something real and practical could be done. I always thought that was the chief and best feature of Mr. Gladstone's Land Act of 1881, but, unfortunately, it was the one part of his Bill to which the least attention was given after it had become law, and I do not think that anything practical in this direction was ever attempted at all. I am afraid that nothing they have said to us to-night or last night can exonerate this Government from the charge which my right hon. friend made against them by the Motion which he placed upon the Table last night. You succeeded, on your own admission, to the government of Ireland when the country was in a most exceptionally peaceful condition, and in less than twelve months you have converted it, in many of its districts, into what it is no exaggeration to describe—I think this is language used by some of the Judges, though I would not pledge myself to that without further reference to their 745 Statements—as nothing but hot beds of disorder and sedition at the present time. You stand convicted of this, having all the time at your hands ready for use at any moment the means and the power of maintaining order, preserving peace, and of giving the protection of the law and of equal and impartial justice to every single subject of the King in Ireland, without the least distinction; you have failed—wilfully and deliberately as we think, failed to do it. What reply have you to give to the challenge across this Table by the hon. Member for the University of Cambridge last night when he said that at this moment there are two laws in Ireland, viz: the law of the United Irish League; and the law of the King, and, unhappily we have too much reason to believe that under the reign of the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues on that bench, in the vast majority of cases, many of them utterly unknown to you, many of them never reaching the people of England in the smallest degree, it is the law of the Land League and not the law of the King which prevails in Ireland to-day. I have never heard it denied and I believe it is true that in many cases oven now under the rule of the right hon. Gentleman the writ of the King does not run. It is upon that count that you are tried to-day; it is on that count you will be judged and be convicted, whenever you have the courage to appeal to a tribunal other than this, namely, the people of this country.
§ MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)
said the speech to which they had just listened very patiently, was a very fitting episode in a somewhat remarkable debate. He had a very great respect and regard for the right hon. Gentleman and he hoped he would not consider it offensive on his part if he said that his Parliamentary oratory always seemed to him to play the same part in literature that monumental sculpture did in other phases of art. His language was leisurely and lofty and slightly complex and he thought to-day that he gave the coup de grace to one of the most moribund debates the House of Commons had ever listened to. He had had the advantage of hearing the right hon. Gentleman so often that his speeches were already known to him before he delivered them. 746 For instance, he knew that one of the things that he would say was that the great misfortune to Ireland was to have a weak Radical Government. He agreed with him, but he should state that the converse of that proposition was quite true, that the most squeezable of all Governments and therefore the most useful for Ireland, was a weak Tory Government. He also knew that the right hon. Gentleman would say that the land hunger of Ireland was due to the effect of the selfish commercial policy of this country in the 17th century. He entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman, but he immediately added that he missed from his speech some of the picturesque illustrations with which he had heard him adorn it on previous occasions. The right. hon. Gentleman was not satisfied then with saying that it was the selfish commercial instincts of this country in the 17th century that destroyed Ireland. He said it was the selfish commercial instincts of the Chamberlains' and the Collings' of the 17th century that produced land hunger. Since that time these two distinguished colleagues of his, who figured so largely in his former orations, had purified themselves from all charges of selfishness by accepting tariff reform. For himself he called this the most remarkable debate he had ever heard. A debate heralded with a greater amount of blazonings, trumpetings and Press preliminaries he had never known. It had been prepared and heralded by a most mendacious Press campaign, and he had never known an Irish Minister pursued with such a ruthless and merciless attack as the present Chief Secretary. And what had happened to this debate so loudly heralded? It began with the speech of the right hon. Member for South Dublin. The speeches of the right hon. Gentleman always left something to be desired on the score of lucidity and what he I might call political wisdom, but they had always a boisterousness and vigour, but his speech on this occasion was made in a state of apparently mental and physical depression; in fact, the right hon. Gentleman made one of the weakest speeches he ever heard uttered in this House. When he considered the rghit hon. Gentleman's policy he was 747 reminded of an American humorist who, alluding to another gentleman, said, "If he had a little more sense he would actually be half-witted," and if the policy of the right hon. Gentleman, had only a little more sense it would actually be half-witted. What was complained of in regard to the Chief Secretary was his weakness, his want of nerve and his failure. That was not the real charge; that was not the real reason that inspired murmurs from above the gangway. The real reason for mournful and funereal utterances was that the Chief Secretary had been strong, courageous, and successful. He suggested to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen above the gangway that their imaginations were a little wanting in artistic reserve and moderation. Whenever they started a campaign of this kind in the future he would advise them to indulge in a little less exaggeration of language than a great many of them, and some of their Leaders indulged in. The Marquess of Lansdowne, speaking in another place, spoke of Macedonia and Ireland in the same breath and marked the recurring note and refrain in all these articles and speeches. It had occurred so often that really it seemed to him that they were all formed upon the same model. The noble Lord said that the only places in Europe to-day where they could find any analogy to the state of Ireland were Russia and Turkey, and that idea ran through his speech. His Lordship said that he had seen it stated that in Macedonia in the course of four years there had been 10,000 deaths from violent causes in the villayets. Then he went on to refer to Ireland, and he said it was somewhat remarkable that there should be a complete omission from the Speech from the Throne of any reference to a matter which concerned us much more nearly than others, viz., the condition of a part of the United Kingdom itself. He suggested that the Macedonian paragraph might with a slight verbal alteration have met the case and that it might have read: "The condition of the population in several important Irish counties shows no improvement. Bands instigated by Nationalist Members 748 continue to pursue a campaign of violence and the situation gives serious cause for anxiety." That was the kind of language to which he (Mr. O'Connor) was alluding. In a well-known journal he also found the following quotation—The Cabinet are engaged in pressing reforms upon the Sultan with regard to the most disturbed portion of his distressed dominions. It is Sir Edward Grey's official duty to lament the state of things in Macedonia, to point out the absence of security for property, the necessity for an effective administration of justice, the evils following from the want of all settled sense of public order. Abdul Hamid and his advisers are tolerably well-informed as to the contents of the foreign Press, and from the point of view of poetic justice he would be unanswerable if he caused the Sublime Porte to address a note to Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's Government calling attention to the notorious and disgraceful conditions of lawless misgovernment agrarian outrage and political brigandage existing in the Hibernian province of the British Empire.[OPPOSITION cheers]. That observation was cheered and adopted by hon. Gentlemen above the gangway: that Ireland was in the same state as Macedonia. In Macedonia, according to Lord Lansdowne, and unfortunately he was speaking accurately, there had been in four years 10,000 murders. Ireland was in the same position, yet within the last twelve months there had been not 10,000 or 1,000, there had not been one agrarian murder. The unfortunate tiling for hon. Gentlemen above the gangway was that facts had a most inconvenient and almost disloyal way of contradicting their statements. Industries, it was said, were dying, and the very next year it was found that, according to the lying statistics, that industries were never so flourishing. Ireland was in a state of crime and disorder, and the statistics proved in the face of these lying calumnies that Ireland was an absolutely crimeless country. He attached some importance to these campaigns of calumny by one country against another, or a certain portion of the people against another. Calumny of this kind played a very important part in the history of many countries. It was the mendacity of Marat that created the Reign of Terror; it was the mutilating of a despatch that led to the Franco-German War. Why was this campaign started in Ireland, or lather what was the result of it? Every 749 honest high-minded and broad-minded man in England, every high and broad-minded man in Ireland considered it his duty at this moment so far as he could to put an end to the secular struggle and hatred between the mass of the English and the Irish people. It was a blessed, noble, and beneficent work for both peoples, and at the moment when that process was going on more rapidly than many persons could appreciate the gentlemen of whom he complained came forward and did equal injustice to both countries. They aroused the just anger of the people of England by representing the Irish as being a nation of murderers. They created prejudice and hatred in the English people by these false speeches, and in the hearts of the Irish people they created the feeling that if such a campaign could be carried on successfully against their country the English people must be reckoned as an incurable and ignorant enemy whose campaign of calumny could only arouse sentiments of contempt in Ireland. Therefore, these missionaries of Empire, these gentlemen who were so anxious to gather and knit together in bonds of love all the various parts of the Empire, were doing their best to open up the gulf of ignorance and misunderstanding and hatred which he had hoped was being healed between England and Ireland. Hon. Gentlemen were not satisfied with comparing Ireland with Macedonia; they said that Ireland to-day was in a worse state than ever before, and the assertion was made in the face of facts that must be known to some of the Gentlemen who made the statement. He could not excuse the right. hon. Gentleman who spoke last of making the statement that Ireland was worse than it had ever been. Lord Londonderry in the other House when rebuked by the Lord Chancellor for making a similar statement said he was not talking of crime but the demoralisation of the Government. So that when hon. Gentlemen talked of gigantic crime in Ireland, what was really meant was the demoralisation of the Chief Secretary. But there was cattle-driving in Ireland and the refusal of juries to convict. There was cattle-driving, but no crime as he understood it. He did not deny that cattle-driving was a very grave symptom which must 750 have given the Chief Secretary many hours of anxiety. It gave others besides the right hon. Gentleman many hours of anxiety. How was the Chief Secretary to deal with it? It was said that the right hon. Gentleman should have dealt with it as the right hon. Member for South Dublin suggested—by coercion. He should have adopted the Act which the right hon. Gentleman himself helped to pass in the year of the jubilee of the late Queen as a sign of the extreme love and loyalty of the people. But what would have been the effect of that? If the right hon. Gentleman had used coercion it would have meant, as the hon. Member for Cork said last night, not a comparatively small outbreak of disorder, but if it had not extended all over Ireland, it would have spread enormously from county to county; and cattle-driving instead of being the isolated action of individuals would have become the duty of every man in the country. If Members of Parliament were sent to prison dozens would be sent after them, and the result of it all would have been that Ireland would have been in the condition of chaos and anarchy that it was now described to be under the administration of the Chief Secretary. What would have been the effect in this country on the Government and on this House I The President of the Local Government Board recently said that there was in this House to-day the greatest instrument of progress that the world had seen since the day of the French Revolution. He agreed with that statement. Supposing this democratic Ministry with this democratic Parliament had used coercion, what would it have meant? It would have resulted in the bankruptcy of democracy in this country; and that was the reason hon. Gentlemen above the gangway wanted it. Democratic Governments were the children of hope, Tory Governments the children of disappointment, preyed upon by privilege and caste. The hope of hon. Gentlemen above the gangway was that if they could have driven the right hon. Gentlemen into coercion they would have been able to have gone to the constituencies and said, "Look at the sincerity of the Liberal Party. They declared against coercion for twenty years, and within two years 751 of coming into office they adopted the policy and found that coercion was the only means for governing Ireland." They would have in that way have disparaged and humiliated the Liberal Party in the country. The attempt to get the Chief Secretary to adopt a polity of coercion was not merely a conspiracy against the masses of Ireland, but a conspiracy against the masses of England. He understood that the hon. Member for East Marylebone was going to follow. He was an opponent worthy of any man's steel, and he thought he had treated him with chivalry as such an opponent deserved to be, because he had told him what he was going to say. On the question of boycotting he had told him that he was going to read the following quotation from Lord Salisbury—I have seen plenty of suggestions that the Government are to blame because they have allowed the Crimes Act not to be renewed. Are you quite certain that the Crimes Act would have prevented what is taking place? Do not imagine that the effect of the Crimes Act has been very much exaggerated. While it was in existence there grew up a real danger, out of which boycotting proceeded. Then grew up a thousand branches of the National League all over Ireland. I have seen it said that the ("rimes Act diminished outrages, and that boycotting operated through the outrages, and therefore the Crimes Act diminished boycotting. That is untrue. The Crimes Act did not diminish outrages. Boycotting is a crime of a character which legislation has very great difficulty in reaching. It is similar to the excommunication and interdict of which we have read in the Middle Ages.He did not think it was necessary to go so far back as the Middle Ages for specimens of boycotting even in England—boycott of the living, boycott of the dust of the silent dead. They might have come from the Tariff Reform League, or from Hereford, where they were mainly engaged in the discussion of the hop industry. "The unemployed, whence come they?" was the title of a pamphlet in which the following passages occurred in reference to the hop industry—This is a branch of agriculture which re-quires more capital and employs more labour per acre than any other. It is carried on principally in the counties surrounding London, and thus any reduction in plantation (which means the throwing out of work of large numbers of young men) causes the influx into the City of Loudon of a great many in search of Work; they are There preferred to the town dweller, who is accordingly displaced, and thus goes to swell the ranks of the unemployed.752 The pamphlet went on to say—' The following incident illustrates this. Edward Webb, of Worsley, one of the largest hop merchants in the Midlands, a large manure manufacturer and seed merchant whose interests would naturally be supposed to be identical with the hop grower, yet, his connections with the brewers were of so much more importance to him that he actually addressed a circular to them advising them to refrain from buying, in order to force down the market. So incensed were the Worcester farmers that they overturned his stand in the market, and jostled him out—treatment he richly deserved from the farmers' point of view.It was that kind of literature which partly accounted for the recent victory. His hon. friend the Member for Donegal had put into his hand an essay by Lord John Russell, on the English Government and Constitution, from the reign of Henry VII. to the present time., and in it he found this passage—Thus, not only are juries in fact the real judges in England, but they possess a power no judge would venture to exercise, namely, that of refusing to put the law in force. Undoubtedly this is a very dangerous power, more especially as juries, consulting in secret, deciding without reason assigned and separating without being afterwards responsible, are free from all control but that of their own consciences; yet exercised as it has been with temper and moderation the diseretion of juries has proved extremely salutary. It has been the cause of amending many bad laws which judges would have administered with exact severity and defended with professional bigotry: and above all it has this important and useful consequence, that laws totally repugnant to the feelings of the community for which they are made cannot long prevail in England.To-day the name of Tyburn Tree brought thoughts of boys and girls hanged for stealing pocket-handkerchiefs; of men hanged for the stealing of sheep; and if these things no longer happened, to what was it due? Was it due to the action of Ministers or of Judges? No, it was due to the juries who refused to convict. And then let him not forget that they had in London lately a jury that was almost a gallery of popular heroes. They had also witnesses who were almost a chamber of honors. He did not say that because he blamed the juries. He thought it was an honourable and necessary instinct of juries to watch closely the administration of the law. Otherwise what chance would there be for poverty standing in the dock, friendless, discredited, without money to fee a lawyer? He wondered what would have 753 become of Wood if he had not been able, with the generous help of his employers' long purse, to fee Mr. Marshall Hall? And now he came to cattle-driving. What was the origin of it? It had been described as something modern, but that was not the case. D an Swift wrote that in the circumstances which the peasantry of the West of Ireland had to face, sheep were the most dangerous enemies of man, and that they should be treated in the same way as Don Quix te treated them It would be remembered that from the North of Ireland there had been a good deal more "people - driving" as distinguished from cattle - driving. Such things brought their own Nemesis. He was reminded of a personal experience. One of the friends he knew in America was the late Mr. Blane, the most popular figure in America, next to President Roosevelt, since Abraham Lincoln. He had a haunting feeling that there was something strangely familiar in him when conversing with him, and at last it struck him. He said to him: "Do you know that you have an Ulster accent?" Mr. Blane said,"I have never been told that before." But he had an, Ulster accent. And why? He had it because his great-grandfather was an Ulster man, and because a large Ulster colony had settled down in that part of Pennsylvania from which he came. And that colony was still there as was said in the Irish Parliament by the Earl of Mountjoy, the men who encouraged and aided and helped Washington, who cheered him in the hours of gloom, who nerved him in the hours of disappointment, who were the foremost generals of his army and the most fearless admirals of his fleet—the men who created and maintained the American revolution, were the sons of the Ulster men, whom the Party represented to-day by gentlemen above the gangway had forced out of their own country. One of his earliest recollections as a boy was the name of Allan Pollock, a gentle-man who amassed a fortune in Glasgow. He went to Ireland when that country was crushed and bleeding from every pore, when people were lying dead from hunger by the side of the roadside in a land of plenty, and he Jittered the dictum, that Ireland would be a beautiful country but for the people. 754 That was at that time the universal doctrine of British statesmanship. The one thing in the fifties and sixties which was preached in Parliament was that the cure for all Ireland's ills was to get rid of the Celt and to put the Saxon in his place. That led to a great many poignant tragedies. He was not surprised that the Chief Secretary resented the statement that he regarded Ireland as a joke. Ireland was so much of a tragedy that it required all his self-control to deal with it without betraying emotion. When he had to speak of a man like Allan Pollock, whose work they had to undo, he spoke of him coming to that fair portion of the county of Galway within a few miles of the town in which he was born and clearing 13,000 out of 15,000 acres of every human being upon them. He spoke of other scenes in Ireland where hundreds of families, some not owing even a penny of rent had been turned out in all kinds of weather, at all times of the year, on Good Friday and on Christmas Day, so that even Sir Robert Peel had to pass a Rill preventing evictions on Good Friday and Christmas. Now he had another word to say to the missionaries of Empire. The battalions of Ulster rebels that made the revolution which robbed this country of its greatest possession had been followed by other battalions, until to-day they had 10,000,000 or 12,000,000 of people in the United States, of Irish birth or Irish blood, who, whenever friendship was proposed—a friendship that might rule the world—between England and the United States, declared "not until England does justice to Ireland." He was in America recently and had the honour of meeting many representative men, from President Roosevelt downwards. He paid a brief visit to Canada and made the acquaintance of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. He did not meet a single man of any race, religion, or political Party in the United States or Canada who did not say that of all the follies and crimes of which British statesmanship had been guilty the most glaring, and the most stupid, was the keeping open of this Irish question and refusing to Ireland what was given to other parts of the Empire. From the bottom of his heart he told gentlemen above the Gangway that in refusing to make Ireland satisfied and self-governed 755 they were striking the worst blow at the strength and unity as well as the repute of the Empire. That was the way the feeling with regard to cattle-driving had arisen in Ireland. They had to undo the work of Allan Pollock. This was nearly done already. Of all the Scottish settlers that he brought to the country only one remained. It was rather courageous of the Member for Cambridge University to make the old imputation "they have made a solitude and called it peace." In Mayo, in Queen's County, in Meath and in Galway, the Unionists had made a solitude and called it peace, and their work had to be undone. Could they wonder that the Irish in America differed from them? Could they wonder that a man like Michael Davitt should have spent his life trying to break down the institution of Irish landlordism when they remembered that he was walking about at four years of age with bare feet and very little food in his stomach? These were the things that lay behind cattle-driving in Ireland. It was almost at an end now. The Chief Secretary had made an appeal to the good sense and generous feeling of the Irish people. They became their own peacemakers and had done what a thousand Coercion Acts could not do. Cattle-driving would never recur if this Parliament did its duty by the people of Ireland. The Chief Secretary was about to bring in legislation, not to create or initiate a new policy, but to carry out that of the Unionists, to fulfil their promises and to show that after all the word of a British Parliament and of a British Ministry would not be in the future as it had been so often in the past, almost violated. For that reason they looked to the future with great equanimity on that bleak February day, inspired by the speech of the Chief Secretary and by another notable speech; they felt in their veins something of the glow and the heat and the hope of a beautiful spring day. In the dark days of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries their people used to address Ireland in terms of symbolism as the little dark rose. They said the little dark rose would bloom again. They did not see it, but their descendants would. The little dark rose was about to bloom.
§ LORD R. CECIL (Marylebone, E.)
said he would make no attempt to imitate the somewhat exaggerated eloquence of the speech to which they had Just listened. He would no; as an Englishman perhaps have intervened in the debate had he not felt very deeply the importance of the issue not only to the Irish people but to the English also. An hon. Member who had spoken on the previous evening, had said he did not think an English Member had any right to intervene in a matter which really affected the purely domestic affairs of Ireland He had heard the statement with something like astonishment. Even if the great ideal of hon. Members below the gangway were achieved and Ireland were a self-governing Colony, he did not know that hon. Members oppoiste would refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of that country. He did not see why it was right to criticise the state of affairs in Natal and wrong to criticise them in Ireland. Apart from all that, until Ireland was a self-governing Colony, it would be the duty and privilege of every Member of that House to give his vote according to what he considered to be the best interests of the Government of that country. If the debate had not caused very great interest on the other side of the House it was because the Members of this Parliament were not so alive to their public duty as they ought to be. The issue was one of very great importance. What was the state of affairs in Ireland? They must assume that the condition of Ireland a year ago was exceptionally crimeless and peaceful. What was the state of things now? The hon. Member for the Scotland division of Liverpool complained bitterly of exaggeration, and he gave a long list of injuries which had been done in the past by campaigns of calumny. He did not notice that the hon. Member mentioned any of the campaigns of calumny which had been carried on by the hon. Member himself and his colleagues, and yet not long ago a Chief Secretary standing at the Table of this House had to state that he was not only an Irish Secretary but also an English gentleman.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
Yes, that was said by Sir George 757 Trevelyan twenty-five years ago, and he has since become a Home Ruler.
§ LORD E. CECIL
said the hon. Member for Donegal was quite right, for those were the words of Sir George Trevelyan. No doubt if Sir George had not become a Home Ruler he would have been assailed in the same manner at the present time. They all knew that the state of Ireland was very far from satisfactory, or at any rate this was the case in certain districts. It was, however, little satisfaction to know that the plague spots in Ireland were not over the whole country. It did not matter from the broad point of view whether it was one, two, three, or twelve counties that were affected. What they did know was that a part of the United Kingdom was not being governed in accordance with the principles of civilised government; that was a fact which was past dispute. They knew that a large number of serious outrages, including the shooting of persons, had occurred, and they also knew "that there had been a very serious increase of that kind of crime which was so justly condemned by the Chief Secretary, viz., boycotting. He wished to reply to an observation of a personal character which had been made by the hon. Member for the Scotland division of Liverpool. The hon. Member said that boycotting could not be stopped by any application of the criminal law, and he quoted a passage from a speech made by the late Lord Salisbury. That speech had often been quoted and almost always misunderstood. And it was wholly misunderstood by the hon. Member below the gangway upon this occasion. The late Lord Salisbury in the speech referred to was speaking of a particular Crimes Act passed by Mr. Gladstone in 1881 That Crimes Act he said had failed very largely in its object, which was to restore order in Ireland, and defending his Government for not renewing it, he asked what was the use of renewing that particular Crimes Act, because it would not be effective for the suppression of crime. It was absurd to say Lord Salisbury thought that the passing of any Coercion Act was ineffective or inadvisable, because he was a party to the Act of 1887, which, on the contrary, was a complete success.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
said that the late Lord Salisbury made that speech in Newport in September, 1885, and it was not directed against any particular Act but against coercion in general At that time Lord Salisbury was in league with the Parnellite Party.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said the hon. Member was wholly inaccurate except as to the date of the speech. As for Lord Salisbury being in league with the Parnellite Party that statement was—he would not be permitted to call it untrue—a malicious perversion of the facts which had been constantly repudiated and had been as constantly restated.
§ MR. SPEAKER
Order, order! The hon. Member for the Scotland division was listened to in silence and the least the hon. Member can do is to listen to the remarks of the noble Lord.
§ LORD R. CECIL
said the question whether Lord Salisbury was right in 1885, or wrong was wholly immaterial to the discussion they were now engaged upon. But apart from boycotting they had cattle-driving, and he adhered entirely, not only to what the Attorney-General said in Ireland but to what he said yesterday in this House. He agreed that if cattle-driving was allowed to go on unchecked it might produce a state of affairs worse than that which existed at the present time in West Africa. The last item was the total failure of the machinery of justice in Ireland, and that could not be disputed This was a matter of the utmost seriousness. No less than 287 prosecutions had been instituted by the Crown in which it must be assumed that according to the best legal advice to be obtained in Ireland there was a strong prima facie case. It must also be agreed that in case after case there was really no dispute as to the actual facts. And yet out of 287 cases brought forward only eight convictions ensued. That was un doubtedly a total breakdown of the machinery of the law. What did that mean? He did not think anyone could 759 read the history of the last twenty-five years in Ireland without recognising what those symptoms meant, for they foreshadowed the initial stages of recurring lawlessness in Ireland. He agreed that up to the present they had not spread so far as to seize the whole vital energy of the nation and the country in a way the disease had done in times past, but nevertheless they knew if this kind of thing went on exactly what to expect. This kind of lawlessness had begun before in the same way. It began as a matter of sporadic and trifling importance, but it gradually spread and at last the country became a scene of anarchy and disorder. That was a matter for the House seriously to consider. They often failed to recognise what was really at the bottom of the lawlessness, and forgot what was meant by lawlessness. They were so accustomed in England to the supremacy of the law that he did not think they always recognised what were the difficulties and the unnaturalness of that state of things. It was by no means a normal state of things for a society to live together under such conditions that without any controversy whatever the law was enforced. That was not the normal state of things under which human beings lived together, nor was it a very old state of things. On the contrary, this doctrine of the absolute supremacy of the overwhelming force of the law was quite modern. It was a modern and very largely a British invention, and it was one of the great achievements of the Anglo-Saxon genius for Government. [NATIONALIST laughter.] If hon. Members below the gangway doubted that statement they could not have read history aright. Not only was that a great achievement, but it was a matter of the most enormous value to this country, because it was essential to freedom and to prosperity. He heard an hon. Member near him cheer the Chief Secretary when he stated that after all they all lived under police protection. That observation was perfectly true, and if they did not live under police protection they could not carry on any of the ordinary occupations of life. If the forces of the law were to cease for twenty-four hours in this city the whole prosperity of the city 760 would be at an end. This has become so habitual that they treated it as a natural state of things. Even in this country the margin between order and disorder was by no means so large as people imagined, and it was not very long ago that through a mere blunder on the part of the executive officers of the law, the West of London was given up to something very like plunder arising from the riots in Trafalgar Square. There fore the enforcement of the law was a custom and a habit, and it could only be preserved by the resolute use of the necessary forces of society. He had made that slight digression because of an observation which the Chief Secretary made in his speech, in which he said that it was not sufficient in dealing with a condition of disorder to deal merely with the symptoms but that they must get down to the sources of the disorder, and he quoted an eloquent passage from Mr. Gladstone to that effect. What were the sources of disorder prevalent in Ireland to-day? The Chief Secretary attributed it to some disappointment amongst a necessarily limited class of the Irish peasantry. He utterly denied that that was the real cause of disorder in Ireland. Was it only in Ireland that there was a class of persons who desired property that belonged to another person? The Chief Secretary, therefore, had so mean an opinion of the Irish peasant as to think that he would be entirely induced to set aside the whole of the provisions on which modern society rested, because the land laws were not sufficiently enforced. He protested against that doctrine. They were accustomed to speeches from hon. Members who held Socialist opinions, who thought there were large classes of people in this country who were labouring under a far worse and more grievous sense of injustice than any of the people affected by the land question in Ireland. They said quite candidly that the present distribution of wealth was a great injustice and amounted to robbery of the poor by the rich. [An HON. MEMBER: "Will you join them?"] They said so at every street corner. Did it follow from that that they should raid and rifle the houses in Park Lane? They bowed to the law, because they recognised that the convention and custom of obedience to 761 the law was essential to the safety and prosperity, and even the freedom of the people of the country. What was really the curse of Ireland was not the Irish land system or anything of that kind It was the habit of disorder. The hon Member for the Scotland Division in an eloquent passage described the gross injustice and wickedness that was perpetrated in Ireland, and accounted for the violence of the opinions of the late Mr. Michael Davitt by what he had gone through as a child. He believed that to be a perfectly just and true account of what was the matter in Ireland. It was quite true that there had been grave disorders committed in the name of law. The fatal see-saw of defiance of peaceful government between one class and another had gone on until the habit of disorder had grown up. The Chief Secretary had spoken of the refusal of juries to convict, and, while admitting that that was a thing to be reprobated, he said that it had its value as showing the feeling of the country; it showed how removed the Irish people, or some portions of them, were at the present moment from that true conception of government on which alone modern society could rest. He would not stop to deal with the quotations which had been read from Lord John Russell. All he could say was that a more grotesque perversion of the facts of history than that presented by Lord John Russell he never had the misfortune to read. History showed that the greatest judicial crimes in England had been committed with the assistance of juries. The condition of Ireland seemed to him to be, he would not say exactly like, but not dissimilar to that of a habitual drunkard. It was the habit of disorder in Ireland which was the essential vice this House must keep before it if it desired to deal effectively with the Irish question. Just as the habitual drunkard would always be able to attribute each particular outbreak to some accidental cause, so the Irish would ascribe their breaches of the law to some defect in the land laws. The real vice was that the desire to avoid this evil was not strong enough to enable them to resist even the slightest temptation. That could only be met in one way as in the case of the habitual drunkard, and that 762 was by restraint and control. He at any rate was not ashamed to say that the first duty of the Government was to govern. If it found that the existing law was insufficient for the purpose of preservng order, it was bound to utilise all the powers at its disposal in order to effect that initial work. One quotation had been made from the late Lord Salisbury; he would give another. He believed thoroughly in the prescription of "twenty years resolute government." [Ironical NATIONALIST Cheers.] That observation was met at the time it was made in very much the same way as it had been met on this occasion. Events had proved that it was absolutely true. They had been told over and over again that when the late Government went out of office, Ireland was peaceful beyond what it had been for a number of years. They had been told to-day by the hon. Member for-the Scotland Division that the process of reconciliation between England and Ireland was rapidly proceeding. But that; came at the end of twenty years Administration, with a very small interval, of the Unionist Party and on Unionist principles. The first principle which had guided, and would always guide, Unionist Administration of Ireland was the maintenance of law and order by the ordinary law, but, if necessary, by an increase in the severity of the criminal law. They were told yesterday by an hon. Member that the people of England cared nothing for cattle-raiding. He did not know what constituencies the hon. Member referred to, but if he thought that the people of England as a whole cared nothing for cattle-raiding he was very much mistaken. He was quite convinced that the two great political principles which the people cared for were the principles of liberty and justice. He believed that they realised to the full that these principles could only be preserved by the enforcement and maintenance against all comers of the absolute supremacy of the law, and he believed from the bottom of his heart that, once the facts were plain to the English people, they would see that the supremacy of the law was enforced in Ireland with just the same determination and passion as they had shown on countless occasions before.
§ THE SOLICITOR-GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. REDMOND BARRY,) Tyrone, N.
The noble Lord who has just sat down has made what I consider a very unfortunate speech. He has left us in no doubt whatever as to what his view of the situation in Ireland is and as to the root cause of that situation. I hope I do not misinterpret the noble Lord when I say that he attributes the present state of Ireland to some disposition on the part of the people in favour of disorder. His specific for the purpose of meeting the difficulties now existing in that country is a repetition of twenty years of resolute government. The Party with which the noble Lord is associated was responsible for the administration in Ireland for a period of well-nigh twenty years. During that time that country was subjected to considerable periods of coercion, and yet the noble Lord, not satisfied with that, would repeat it all over again. If he had his way Ireland would again be subjected from this point to a course of twenty years resolute government. There is a world of difference between those views and the views entertained upon this side of the House. We have no such opinions as to the future of Ireland or as to the proper means by which that country is to be governed. The views of the Liberal Party upon that subject are perfectly well ascertained and we are here to-night to maintain and defend them against the Amendment moved by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin I have had some difficulty in presenting to my own mind a definite view of what the Amendment means. Up to the present the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman and hon Gentlemen on the Opposition Benches have not been very definitely formulated, but looking at the Amendment itself I gather it has a twofold object. It is proposed, as I understand, to invite the House in the first place to pass censure upon the Chief Secretary for his administration in Ireland during the last nine or twelve months, and in the next place to make an appeal to the House, the result of which, if successful, would be to impose upon the Chief Secretary or anyone who succeeded him the necessity of applying more stringent measures in Ireland for 764 the purpose of meeting difficulties existing there. Let us see how the case is made out on both branches of the Amendment. It is no doubt the case that there is existing in Ireland at the present time and has existed for some time back a condition of affairs which the Chief Secretary has admitted has caused him in the past considerable anxiety. But the right hon. Gentleman has stated truly that the state of things has changed materially for the better. While there is enough to cause the Government a certain amount of disquietude, still the state of affairs now there, and particularly during the last couple of months, gives the Government every reason for hoping that in a very short time peace in the full sense will be restored in that country. It is true as has been stated by certain hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, that there has been an increase in certain classes of crime and disorder in Ireland. But when I come to the question of the censure passed on my right hon. friend, what, I ask, is the remissness charged against the Executive? I am told that there has been a certain number of cases of boycotting and of firing into houses, and I ask what did hon. and right hon. Gentlemen charge in respect of that? Do they suggest that the Executive is in any degree responsible for them; that the Executive has failed in its duty, so far as it could, to bring the offenders to justice in the case of these offences? What is the point of the charge preferred against my right hon. friend in these two classes of crime? It is suggested. as I understand, by hon. and right hop. Gentlemen opposite, that if my right hon. friend had put the Crimes Act into force, these offences would not, in fact, have occurred. Is that so? I hope this House understands—it is necessary that it should—that the Crimes Act of 1887 has no relation, good, bad, or indifferent to offences of that sort. The Act of 1887 would not enable the Executive to prosecute under it in the case of these offences or in any was to deal with them. If the Crimes Act of 1887 was at the present time in full force, not a single crime that has arisen from the use of firearms would be cognisable under it, nor could it 765 be prosecuted by any other than by process under the ordinary law. Reference has been made to the increase that has taken place in Ireland within the last twelve months of cases of minor boycotting. There is a difference between "what the police understand as minor and serious boycotting, and during the last year in Ireland the cases of serious boycotting had fallen to nine—the lowest figure reached during the last fifteen years. In 1899 there were thirty-three cases of serious boycotting; in 1900, twenty-eight cases; in 1901, they grew to ninety-five; and in 1902, they fell to forty-one; while now, fortunately to relate, such cases do not exceed nine. I again ask as regards the action of my light hon. friend and of the Executive in Ireland, what is suggested by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite? What could they have done which was not done with any one of these nine cases? It seems to me that the case for the Amendment, so far as there is a case at all to support it, depends upon the charges made against my right hon. friend for remissness on his part in dealing with the cattle-driving movement, which, unfortunately, arose in Ireland during the last twelve months. That movement the House will understand was one which caused my right hon. friend and those connected with him in the Government of Ireland very great anxiety and care. It arose from a situation in Ireland of which the House will take cognisance. It began, as I remember, about the month of April or May last year. It took place amongst the people at a time when they were suffering, as the House will appreciate, from a certain amount of irritation arising from disappointment of political hopes and from the fact that the congestion in the West of Ireland remained unrelieved. It is within the knowledge of both Parties that the Act of 1903 was intended to deal with and remove that congestion. We all know that that Act has failed to achieve that purpose. The hopes that existed had been grievously disappointed and, therefore, the movement arose under conditions very likely to cause great 766 concern to those responsible for law and order in Ireland. It was plain that the situation involved a large mass of the people, especially in the counties of Roscommon and Galway. Now what was the assistance which the Government had for the purpose of dealing with the movement? Under ordinary circumstances the Government of Ireland would be entitled to look to those who professed that they were law-abiding, for their support in dealing with the movement. How were they assisted by such persons when this movement was showing its head in Ireland? Day after day, both in the newspaper Press and on the platform, hon. and right hon. Gentlemen and their friends were insisting through-out the country that my right hon. friend the Chief Secretary and those connected with him, were in secret league and sympathy with that movement. The language of my right hon. friend and other members of the Government was used I fear for the purpose, and in the hope of instilling into the minds of the people of Ireland the impression that the movement was one wholly favoured by the Government and that any attempt to suppress it was being made merely in deference to the public opinion of this country. I need hardly tell the House that the immediate effect of all that was to encourage the law breakers and to add to their numbers. And this I know, and I say it with a full sense of responsibility for what I am stating, because I was engaged in many of the prosecutions—that that language proved a great embarrassment to us in asserting the law both in the Magistrates' Courts and in the trials before juries—The situation was one of great stress and difficulty, and very little would have made it a very serious movement for the Executive to deal with. The danger was that a single false step would have aggravated it into a movement no longer local but national in its proportions. Now, what was the Executive to do? Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite suggest that it was their immediate duty to put the Crimes Act into operation. [OPPOSITION cries 767 of "No."] I understood so from the observations of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite.
AN HON. MEMBER (on the OPPOSITION Benches)
No; not until after the ordinary law had been tried and exhausted.
§ MR. REDMOND BARRY
But the Executive did their best to deal with the movement under the ordinary law. I make bold to say that there was not a single resource of the ordinary law which was not used for the purpose of dealing with it—not one.
§ MR. REDMOND BARRY
I will come to that in a moment. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin yesterday spoke of the act of the Government in proclaiming five or six counties and putting in force a Statute of William IV. I must tell the House what that was for. Under that Statute it is competent for the Government of Ireland in case of disturbances in a county to proclaim that county as in a state of disorder, and to send an additional police force. The Government took that step at once, and a large number of additional police were sent to the disturbed counties. Not only was that course calculated to arrest the disorder, but those counties had to pay, as a sort of punishment, half the cost of the additional police. What next? There was not a single case of cattle-driving that came under the notice of the Executive from that time to the present, where any evidence was forthcoming, in which a prosecution was not instituted. In all during that time 572 persons were dealt with under the ordinary criminal law. A great number of those were brought before the magistrates in sessions. The number of persons who were ordered by the magistrates to find bail was 228. It is right that I should say at once that that procedure, which was somewhat decried by hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite, has been so far successful that with the exception of one single case, not 768 one of these persons who were bound over to keep the peace afterwards engaged in the crime of cattle-driving. In every single ease the order of the magistrates was perfectly effective for its purpose. No doubt before other magistrates there was failure to obtain convictions. As many as thirty two persons were discharged, while in the case of seventy-six accused informations were refused by the magistrates for reasons which seemed good to them—I suppose because of the failure of evidence. Now what was going on concurrently with that? One hundred and twenty-six persons were returned for trial before juries by magistrates in connection with cattle-driving offences. These 126 persons were not tried separately. The number of cases in-which these persons were involved did not exceed thirteen in all; that is to say there were thirteen cases of indictment, involving 126 persons, What was the course taken by the Government with regard to them? I think hon. Members opposite will admit that the Government were perfectly justified in taking the course they did, in giving a fair chance to the ordinary law. These cases were returned for trial, some of them to the Summer Assizes of last year. One of them, and one only, was tried at Birr, the prosecution being conducted by my right hon. friend the Attorney-General.
The prosecution resulted in a disagreement of the jury. There were eight cases-for trial in the counties of Roscommon and Galway, and, my right hon. friend seeing, as the result of the disagreement of the jury at Birr, that it world not any longer be safe or desirable that the trial of these offences should take place in a local venue, an application was made to have the venue or place of trial transferred from Galway and Roscommon to the City of Dublin. Do hon. and right hon. Gentlemen suggest that there was any remissness up to that point on the part of those charged with the administration of the criminal law in Ireland? As far as I understand, it was a proceeding which was approved of on all sides. [Sir E. CARSON "Not on ours."] It was approved of because at that time the condition of Galway and Roscommon was such as to render it doubtful that there could be a fair trial in either of these counties. The application was made at the Summer Assizes of 1907. These cases 769 were the only outstanding ones at the time in which men had been returned for trial. In the other cases the men had been already taken before magistrates and dealt with, in the way I have described to the House. The cases transferred to Dublin were brought to trial there in the week beginning the 20th of November last year. I have been asked by the hon. Gentleman "has the ordinary law broken down or not?" and I would ask the House to consider the state of things in Dublin when these cases came on for trial. The hon. Member for North Fermanagh last night, as I understood, suggested that the failure of juries in Ireland to convict in these cases was due either to intimidation offered against witnessess, so that the evidence was in-sufficient, or else to intimidation from which the jurors suffered. I understand that an hon. Gentleman opposite assents to that. Now what was the situation in Dublin in November of last year, when these cases came for trial? Do hon. Gentlemen opposite from Ireland, or any hon. Gentleman, in any quarter of the House, who knows Ireland, suggest that a state of intimidation prevailed in the City of Dublin, such as would render it impossible to obtain a fair trial before a jury in that city? I have here a report of the charge delivered by the Recorder of Dublin on the 18th of November, 1907, at the City Criminal Sessions, and let me say that Mr. O'Shaughnessy is well known to many Members of this House and is one whom we all know in Ireland, as filling his high office with great distinction to himself and great advantage to the City of Dublin. He is a gentleman unrivalled in his knowledge of Dublin and its people. In addressing the Grand Jury he described the normal peaceful condition of the City of Dublin and during the three or four years that he has been Recorder he has on many occasions made several observations of the same character. That, then, was the venue at which these trials were to take place—a venue in which it is impossible for anyone who has any acquaintance with the affairs of Ireland to suggest that intimidation was rife, or that any circumstance existed which would prevent the trial of any criminal being conducted under perfectly fair and impartial conditions. As we 770 know, in the first case tried, there was a conviction. Seven more trials occurred; in one of them there was an acquittal and in the rest there was a disagreement of the jury. One asks oneself the question, "What was the meaning of it all, and to what was the result due? Was it caused by intimidation? I say emphatically no. I was present with my right hon. friend throughout these trials, and it would be a perfect mockery of the truth to state that the jurors or witnesses were intimidated. I am bound also to say, that so far as I could see the cases were, I thought, clearly proved, and they were cases in which in my judgment the accused ought to have been convicted. To what then is the failure of the juries to be ascribed? An hon. Gentleman, who is well aware of what took place, referred to the pleas offered before the juries for the defence. I will tell you what they were. In the first place the counsel for the defence urged, and in many cases urged with a great deal of force, that these acts, which I think were plainly illegal and deplorable, were nevertheless unaccompanied by personal violence or by injury to animals, and, in my opinion, the jurors in Dublin, knowing the unhappy Western problem, were unwilling to declare as criminals men who had taken part in what they regarded as a demonstration intended only to force the. Government into action for the purpose of relieving the distress. It may not be a satisfactory state of things, and I see it gives some pleasure to hon. Gentlemen opposite. I am, however, merely stating facts. The trials in Dublin occurred between the 20th of November and the last day of the month, and during the following week trials took place in three other important venues in Ireland. One was a trial at Wicklow, conducted by my right hon. friend, in which a Member of this House was prosecuted for actual participation in a cattle-drive. It was the case in which my right hon. friend made the speech which has been so much the subject of discussion in this House, and may I say one word in passing in regard to that. It is somewhat hard on him who made that speech to find it suggested that he has been all along in secret sympathy if not in actual league with those engaged in these practices. The prosecution failed in Wicklow. Wicklow, as all hon. Gentlemen from Ireland know, 771 and none better than the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dublin University, is a venue wholly free from intimidation. It is a venue often appealed to in Ireland, and never have I heard it suggested that the jurors of any class, whether common or special, were likely to submit to any intimidation which would account for a failure to convict. The other two venues at which the remaining cases were disposed of were Cork City and the city of Limerick. The right hon. Gentleman is well acquainted with Cork City. [Sir E. CARSON "No, except by hearsay."] All the right hon. Gentleman heard I will venture to say was in favour of Cork jurors, and yet the Cork jurors, known as they are in Ireland for their fearless action in criminal cases, not only did not convict, but actually acquitted. Then last comes the city of Limerick, where the two remaining cases were tried, the prosecutions being conducted by my hon. friend the Member for North Fermanagh. Limerick stands also upon a high level in the estimation of those who have presided as Judges there. Mr. Justice Wright has complimented the juries there on the fearless and impartial way in which they had acted. The Member for North Fermanagh did not, last night, give the House the benefit of his views as to the conditions under which the jury came to disagree in these two cases at Limerick. I should be greatly surprised if he attributed the failure to intimidation. In the result then the situation was this, that while magistrates were prepared to deal with these cases in the manner I have mentioned, the jurors of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Wicklow, all drawn from neighbourhoods in which it is ludicrous to suggest that intimidation prevails, point-blank refused to find men guilty for cattle-driving offences. What is the moral to be drawn from that? What do right hon. Gentlemen opposite suggest should have been done by the Government? Their view, as I understand it, is that the Government should have put the Crimes Act in motion on the spot. Mark the dates. It was not until the last week in November or the first in December of last year that these trials took place. The position at the moment has to be considered. Already public men had by letters to newspapers 772 and otherwise proclaimed the folly and illegality of this practice of cattle-driving. Persons in the highest stations had publicly denounced it as being both illegal and immoral, and already it was plain to the Executive in Ireland that the practice was declining rapidly. In November I find the number of cattle-drives that had taken place was 108, in December they had fallen to eighty-one, and in January to thirty-four. So that in November and December, when we were confronted with what hon. Members will suggest was an absolute breakdown of the ordinary law, the situation on the other side was that public men of all sorts were declaring against the practice and the number of offences themselves was declining day after day. What was the Government to do in that state of affairs? Right hon. Gentlemen opposite will suggest that my right hon. friend should have forthwith proclaimed the Crimes Act. Will that commend itself to the House? Would my right hon. friend be heard in this House if he appealed for exceptional powers to enable him to deal with the situation that then existed in Ireland? The Executive wisely, as I think, took an absolutely contrary view. My right hon. friend took his stand upon this, that, as representing a Liberal Government in Ireland, he would apply himself with what speed he might to the root evil of this outbreak, and do what he could by legislation to remove it. Since then, day by day the movement had been declining, until we may congratulate ourselves that in has practically disappeared. I have been dealing with cases in which actual prosecutions took place. I should also mention that in January, so far from displaying any inactivity in the matter, two of the cases in which disagreements had taken place were ag in tried before special juries in Dublin and with the same result. I suppose no one will suggest that the special jurors of Dublin were the victims of intimidation. Another part of the indictment levelled against my right hon. friend is that certain individuals, one Member of Parliament in particular, were not proceeded against for speeches in connection with cattle-driving. This House will understand that 773 the consideration of that matter was one of deep concern to the Chief Secretary. The problem of dealing with any man, whether a Member of this House or otherwise, for making speeches in connection with a matter involving a question of public or political interest is always one of difficulty. The question, I think it will be admitted, can never be confined to the mere question of whether or not a speaker deserves to be prosecuted for his particular utterances. The Executive must take a much wider view of the situation than that, and in determining whether or not a particular speaker is to be prosecuted the Executive are not merely entitled, but bound, to take into account the public opinion of the country, the effect which a prosecution would have in giving intensity and momentum to the movement in which the speaker was engaged, and the effect it might have in consolidating public opinion in its favour. My right hon. friend has been a good deal challenged for the discretion which he claimed for the Executive in directing or not directing prosecutions against particular individuals. He was right, I think, in claiming that discretion for the Executive. The decision taken by the Government was not, as has been rather unworthily imputed, an act of dispensation in favour of any particular man, whether a Member of Parliament or otherwise, but the decision was arrived at because it was believed to be consistent with the real interests of peace and law in the country. Now I have dealt with the action of the Government, and I should be disappointed if any Member of the House entertained the notion that there was any remissness on the part of the Executive in applying every resource of the ordinary law to combat this movement. What, then, is the present situation? What is it that hon. Members suggest should be done in future in Ireland? As I understand the second branch of the Amendment, the Executive are to be called upon forthwith to put the Crimes Act into operation in Ireland. Is that the object of hon. Gentlemen opposite? Is that what they wish for? I think we are entitled to an answer to that.
§ MR. REDMOND BARRY
I think, with all respect, that is not an answer. I ask, in the situation in which we now stand, are we to put the Crimes Act into operation or are we to depend upon the ordinary law?
§ MR. REDMOND BARRY
The truth is that when the present situation comes to be considered, when it comes to be understood that this cattle-driving movement is all but dead, it will be recognised I that there is no situation in Ireland now which would justify any responsible politician in claiming that the Executive should put the Crimes Act into force. The House will rejoice that the movement has practically disappeared. The fact, however, is apparently to some hon. Gentleman opposite not so much a source of gratification as of suspicion and a matter to cause disquietude In some quarters the cessation of cattle-driving is suggested to be actually the result of a discreditable bargain arrived at between my right hon. friend and certain persons in Ireland. We attribute it however to other causes—to the reassertion of the good sense of the Iris' people—to their awakened confidence in the administration of my right hon. fried, and in the determination, they ascribe to him, that he will do his part to remove the real grievances which underlay that movement in Ireland. That is the true source of an event which I think ought to give satisfaction to Members in every part of the House. It is the reward, as we consider it, of the right hon. Gentleman's patient and courageous administration in Ireland. Hon. Gentlemen opposite scoff at that, but, in the situation in which he was placed, the patience, and temperance of my right hon. friend displayed more real courage than in making a precipitate appeal to other methods. Reward has come speedily to him for refusing to yield to clamor and obloquy, and the result is but part 775 of the fruits yet to be expected from his administration in Ireland.
§ MR. LAMBTON (Durham, S.E.)
who was imperfectly heard, said the hon. Gentleman had contented himself by asking what the Opposition proposed to do, but he must know that it was the Government and not the Opposition who had to submit legislative proposals for Ireland. The hon. and learned Gentleman supposed that the Amendment meant censure on his right hon. friend, and had gone on to admit the case of the Opposition by saying that every resource of the ordinary law had already been put into force. He had remarked that the calling attention to these matters caused the Chief Secretary very great anxiety, but they caused very great anxiety to other people besides the right hon. Gentleman. No doubt they had every sympathy with him in his position; indeed, the right hon. Gentleman was always asking for sympathy, and they readily accorded it. What the Unionists maintained was that the condition of Ireland was causing enormous anxiety, not only to many people in Ireland but also to many people in this country, and they asked that steps should be taken to remove the causes of that condition. Steps ought to have been taken long ago. The fault of the Government, in the opinion of the Judges in Ireland, was that the Executive had not lifted a finger to maintain the law. Surely that was a strong charge, and he did not think the right hon. Gentleman's speech had removed one single cause of anxiety as to that point. The hon. and learned Gentleman had continually asked them if they wanted the Government to put into force the Act of 1889. That was not the business of the Opposition. What they said was that if the ordinary law did not suffice, the right hon. Gentleman should come to Parliament and ask for means to maintain law and order in Ireland. That was the first duty of the Government. The hon. Member for Cork last night had spoken of the colossal ignorance of the English people of affairs in Ireland. He confessed that many people did not understand the Irish, and he was reminded of Burns' line—Oh, wad some power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us,776 He had noticed that hon. Members below the Gangway were sometimes annoyed when they considered that Englishmen were blind to some of the best qualities of the Irish people and some of their best performances in Ireland. Englishmen, he confessed, could not always see that the Irish goose was a swan. They might be ignorant of the nature and feelings of the Irish people, but they were not ignorant of the fact that £100,000,000 had been granted by Parliament to Ireland.
§ MR. LAMBTON
said the money went to buy the land, and had been given to the Irish people, and it was because the land had not been divided quickly enough that a feeling of impatience had arisen to which a great deal of this crime was due. The right hon. Gentleman said he had made his first long speech in the House on the Act of 1887, but he himself could go back to 1882, when he made the only speech in his life which had had any effect. He made it on the Crimes Act of the Liberal Government.
§ MR. LAMBTON
said that when he heard denunciations of the Act of 1887 he was rather inclined to go back to some of the things said on the previous occasion. The right hon. Gentleman in his speech had given a lot of statistics which were more suitable to stockbrokers than to Parliament. The right hon. Gentleman said, "What is the price?" That was at the bottom of the whole question. What price had the right hon. Gentleman given for the temporary cessation of cattle-driving?
§ MR. LAMBTON
said he was glad to hear it. What price did the Irish people expect from the Government? What 777 price did hon. Members below the gangway expect? They might have brought about the cessation of cattle-driving much earlier, and they had brought it about now, in their own words, "to give the Irish Secretary a chance." The right hon. Gentleman had screwed his courage up to say that his fingers itched to arrest some of the people in Ireland, but he had done nothing. They had been told by the Foreign Secretary, and other Members of the Government, among them the Chancellor of the Exchequer, that the Chief Secretary had the support of the Cabinet. He presumed that meant the majority of the Cabinet.
§ MR. LAMBTON
believed there were a score of members of the Cabinet, and that the whole twenty of them were itching to arrest malefactors but were afraid to do so. He would like to have seen that Cabinet meeting. Some of the members must have been rather restless. He heard the speech of the Secretary for India and also that of the Chief Secretary, and he could not understand how they could be members of the same Cabinet. The Irish Secretary said he governed Ireland on Liberal principles, but the Secretary for India, in reference to that country, said he would not remain at the India Office or in any other responsible department if he had first to catalogue his principles and arrange his duties on those principles. But the Chief Secretary for Ireland openly boasted that he was going to carry out the Government of Ireland on Liberal principles. All he could say was that he would rather have the Secretary for India's view than that of the Secretary for Ireland. Because the Government made certain speeches in 1887 nothing would induce them now to touch the Coercion Act; but he would remind hon. Gentlemen opposite that there was another Coercion Act which they might have used—namely, that of 1882, which was passed by a Liberal Government, and which contained strong provisions making protection from crime more positive than it was. The Chief Secretary and the Solicitor General had told the 778 House that in the ease of these cattle-drivers the Government could not get juries to convict. The Solicitor-General had told them that the chief instigator of the cattle-drives, who was in gaol now, was not prosecuted by the Government because the Irish people were not in entire sympathy with the law. It was unfortunate that the Government bad created the impression that as the Irish people were not in sympathy with the law, therefore the law was not to be enforced. Now it appeared the Irish people were satisfied that they were going to get from the Government all they wanted, for lawlessness had ceased. He could not veil his eyes from the iniquity and weakness of the Government, and he feared the effect that would be produced upon future good government in all parts of his Majesty's dominion.
§ MR. J. DEVLIN (Belfast W.)
said the hon. member who had just sat down was one of the Tory free trade how it was Tory free traders had made Members of the House, and having heard the hon. Member's speech on this occasion he now understood so little progress in England. Recently there had been an effort made in England to subordinate tariff reform and other questions to racial prejudice. They hoped to save themselves by raising an Irish scene, and by pursuing a propaganda of calumny. The right hon. Member for South Dublin, who opened the debate, referred to a question of his (Mr. Devlin) which was on the Paper, and said that the reason for that question was that the hon. Member for West Belfast was afraid to have the returns therein referred to published, as they would indicate the criminality of Ireland. Nothing of the kind. He simply objected to a principle which did not exist in English Courts being perpetuated in Ireland, especially as these returns had been used by Irish Judges for the purpose of delivering harangues from the bench and for the purpose of intimidating jurors. They had the case of the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, who actually from the bench rebuked the Attorney-General for not prosecuting an Irish Member, although he (the Lord Chief Justice) might be the very Judge who would have to try the case. And in another case in Ireland an Irish Judge—a man of great legal eminence and impartiality outside of 779 politics,—actually walked on to the bench and proceeded to reply to a political speech delivered by the hon. Member for Water-ford. This was in a Court of justice Specially selected as the particular arena where persons charged with cattle-driving should be tried. When they heard Judges quoted in that House lot it be remembered that Irish Judges were partisans. It was stated that there had been conspiricy, intimidation and boycotting in connection with Ireland. So there had been. But the conspiracy was in England and in the I north of Ireland. The conspiracy was a conspiracy between the English Unionst newspapers and the Ulster Unionist Members and the official classes in Ireland. He read the other day in the Daily Telegraph a statement in which it was stated that the United Irish League was responsible for keeping the village ruffians quiet, and that the moment the inspiration was given from headquarters murder would once more be rampant.
That was a scandalous and infamous allegation. The United Irish League, like its predecessors the Land League and the National League, had been a mighty instrument to leach the people how great agrarian revolutions could be carried on, and how great reforms could be achieved without applying those dangerous criminal methods. The late Mr. Parnell and Mr. Davitt had taught the Irish people the true power of constitutional agitation, and when a paper like the Daily Telegraph published a scandalous statement of that character it gave one the feeling that the slandering of Ireland, the impeachment of the Irish nation, and the exaggeration of every little incident in the country against the Just claims of the people for self-government, only showed how essential Irish unity was and how I powerful a, movement like the Irish National League ought to be made to meet the forces which had conspired to slander a people and ruin a whole nation. There had been intimidation not only in Ireland, but in this House. There had been one remarkable omission from this debate, one picturesque figure absent, and that was the hon. Member for North Armagh. He had not told them anything about intimidation. Could there be anything more intimidatory than the letters which the hon. Member for North Armagh wrote to Mr. Bailey. The Ulster 780 Members talked about Nationalists intimidating a man who owned 6,000 acres of untenanted land in the congested districts of Ireland. Was that any worse than the action of a Member of the Ulster Unionist Party who endeavoured in this House, to intimidate a public official appointed by the Government of his own party, and who, in the discharge of his administrative duty was threatened by the hon. Members that unless he became the plaything of the Ulster Members of Parliament, when the Unionist came back they would dismiss him because he had refused to be the creature of the Landlord Party in Ireland? He noticed that during the Mid Devon election, the reverend Mr. Rogerson, preaching in Mid. Devon, said that those who belonged to the political majority of Mid Devon would have every excuse, if they came to think it preferable, to deal with tradesmen out of the town, rather than with those who, not only in a recent election, but constantly in previous elections, had refused that freedom to their political opponents which they claimed for themselves. That was not the statement of a Catholic priest in Ireland who saw the woes and sorrows of his country, and the Squalid condition of the Irish people, but political English partisan clergyman, who threarened the Liberal traders of Devonshire as to what would happen to their trade, because they had dared to exercise their rights and functions as citizens, and had given their votes for Liberal and Progressive Members. And notwithstanding this, hon. Member above the gangway came to the House of Commons with their sneers, and le tured the Irish people for intimidation in regard to an agitation which simply desired to rivet public attention upon a great economic wrong, and which endeavoured to secure the land of their country, upon terms which were extravagantly generous to the landlord. Every acre of land which had passed from the landlord to the tenant under the Act of 1903, had been transferred at a price, which, as the Chief Secretary had already stated, was calculated to excite the envy of the greatest landlord in England. This great movement in Ireland was not one to steal the property of others, but a legitimate and constitutional agitation. Personally he had never justified cattle-driving in Ireland, and he had never spoken at a meeting where cattle-driving was advocated, but 781 nevertheless he came to the House of Commons prepared to defend it. His reading of the political history of the last thirty years had been that so long as they came to the British Parliament and appealed to their reason, they were only met by the scoffs of gentleman of the type of the hon. Member above the gangway; but when they came with an organised people and a united Ireland, when the Irish people knew their wants and were able to exercise their power, then they came with the real logic of an irresistible claim. It was that House which had taught them that it was only by cattle-driving and methods of that kind that they could obtain any beneficial measure from the British Parliament. It was only in that way that they had been able to extort from generous statesmanship the recognition of their claim for the remission of the wrongs under which Ireland had suffered.
§ MR. J. DEVLIN
Yes, the noble Lord knew that was so, and no one better, because it was hereditary with him. The noble Lord was the son of "twenty years of resolute Government." He knew that twenty years ago two policies were placed before the English people in regard to Ireland, one of them the policy of Mr. Gladstone—a policy of pacification, conciliation, justice, and liberty—and the other twenty years of resolute Government. To-day Ireland was no nearer to the British Empire, although it might have been if Mr. Gladstone's policy had triumphed. Lord Salisbury received his verdict from this country, and he got his twenty years of resolute Government, and where did they stand to-day? The noble Lord had said himself that there was more lawlessness in Ireland now, and more discontent than there was before. If that were so, where did this policy of twenty years of resolute Government come in?
§ MR. J. DEVLIN
said it was notdestroyed by the Chief Secretary, but by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover. The last Unionist Government introduced 782 the Land Act, but the Ulster Members and their supporters put every obstacle in the way of its becoming the solution of the problem which the statesmen on both sides of the House desired it should be, in the interests of both the tenant and the landlord class. The Ulster Members cared for nothing but the misrepresentation of their own country, and they seemed to be proud of anything they could use for the purpose of blackening the fair name of Ireland, and holding up to the scorn of the world the country which they ought to be as proud of as the Nationalists were. The Ulster Tory Party, which claimed to speak for the North of Ireland, had made Unionism in Ulster stink in the nostrils of every decent man. He could understand them demanding the rigorous application of the law if that policy was argued concurrently with the policy of social reform and economic advancement. But who ever hoard a fruitful suggestion in favour of their own country? Let them take as an example the Order Paper of the House of Commons any day. What was it filled with? With questions put down for the purpose of showing that Ireland was a criminal country. He was an Ulster man himself, and represented one of the seats which had been won from the Ulster party, because Ulster democracy had revolted against them. Belfast was a Protestant and Unionist city, and he would be ashamed of himself if for the purpose of party capital—although he had come there and put questions on the Paper equally relevant, and from his own point of view far more politically effective—he resorted to the use of his position to slander his own people and to outrage every sense of decency in trying to hold up to scorn the people amongst whom he lived and to whom he belonged. They had heard a good deal about cattle driving, but he had not heard the name of Sergeant Sheridan mentioned. Sergeant Sheridan did not drive cattle, but mutilated them, and he was allowed to go to America. Why was he not convicted? They had heard a great impeachment of the law officers of the Crown and the Chief Secretary for depending upon the ordinary law of the land, but Sheridan was guilty almost of every offence against law and justice, and he was responsible for sending innocent men to prison. And yet this cattle 783 mutilator was allowed to leave this country, and this perjurer and uniform ruffian who was responsible for all these crimes in Ireland was now at large in America and his chief assistant was engaged in training young recruits for the Royal Irish Constabulary in Ireland.
There was another case of boycotting which he thought that whatever sense of fairness they possessed might have induced the men who made this attack to refer to. That was the case of Miss Sweeney and Mr. Cooke, J.P. Mr. Cooke was an Ulster Unionist, and a magistrate, who demanded the dismissal from a school of a teacher of sewing on the ground that she was a Catholic. There was no error as to the ground. Mr. Cooke had been quite open about it, and told them plainly what was the reason. To this demand the Presbyterian clergyman, who was the manager of the school, did not give way. The hon. Member did not know whether that rev. gentleman had at that time any cattle. He supposed he had not. At all events, there had not been any of his cattle driven or injured. He escaped with having the doors of his church destroyed. In that case they were face to face with an: effort to secure justice. But that had not been the kind of decision which had been given in agrarian cases. And today Mr. Cooke wason the Bench dispensing justice to the part of the country which was benefited by his presence, one of the Host devoted maintainers of the Union, one of the chief props of Empire in that part of the north of Ireland. He had heard with interest the maiden speech last night of the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds. The hon. Member had manifested both vigour and ability; and his speech had been a great relief by contrast with the dull and dreary speeches of the Ulster Tory Members. He had said that all the misery had been brought upon Ireland by the agitators. But the misery was not brought on in Ireland by brains, but by breweries. He would suggest that the hon. Member, when he had the opportunity, should visit the West of Ireland, in which even for selfish reasons he might feel an interest, seeing that there was the chance of their being able to become better customers of his concern. Irish Members had been waiting to hear this threatened great impeachment of Ireland, and of the 784 national movement in Ireland. They had listened to it. Was ever such tawdry eloquence—no argument, no facts, no basis for the changes so long maturing—so fruitlessly delivered? The Chief Secretary had faced his accusers with courage and had routed them. It would have been well if in the speech of the Solicitor-General there had been more human sympathy and loss law. The Attorney-General, to be frank, had used an expression which had been so often quoted by the enemies of Ireland, for the use of which there was no ground of excuse. The Irish people were not savages, nor were they to be compared to the people of West Africa. He was-sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman must have used that expression thoughtlessly, otherwise he would not have committed himself to it. It showed how the administration of the law, prejudice and politics, were all mixed up in the Courts of law in Ireland. The speech made by the hon. Member for Jarrow the other day was both pathetic and tragic. The hon. Member drew a picture of the desperate competition that existed in the industrial centres, and pointed out that by English and Scottish legislation an endeavour was being made to solve the problem by keeping the people on the land. People were leaving the land in England for other than agrarian reasons, whereas in Ireland they wished to romain on the land. Surely the attempt which they were making to secure their homes and their land was one that ought to command the sympathy of hon. Members not only on the Liberal side, but on all sides of the House. Were the supporters of British government in Ireland satisfied that in sixty years the population of the country had been reduced from 8,500,000 to 4,500,000, those who remained being more impoverished than the larger number who formerly lived there? The Chief Secretary had struck the right note and grasped the key of the situation. Let the House distribute the grass lands on fair and equitable terms, make economic the uneconomic holdings, give some breath and sweetness and hope to; the Irish peasant, and crminality, as Englishmen understood it, would disappear, because its root cause would have disappeared. Then they would have Ireland no longer a by-word and a shame to the Empire; it would be its glory, and the right. hon. Gentleman 785 might have pride in having laid the foundations of a mighty superstructure of English content and Irish happiness.
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH (Maidstone)
said he had listened with great pleasure to the speeches of hon. Gentlemen from Ireland below the Gangway. While he appreciated their vehement rhetoric, the fury of their denunciations always caused him to question their sincerity. He verily believed that if ever the Home Rule policy were carried to its fullest extent the Irish Party would be a hopeless and forlorn Party, because their one object of agitation would be entirely gone. He had listened with very great interest to the speech of the Chief Secretary. He had come down to the House with, to a certain extent, an open mind, and had been greatly astonished at the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. He assured the right hon. Gentleman that if the question of land settlement was ever to be brought to a successful issue it must be based on law and order. The security of the land stock also could only prevail with security of law and order in the country. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary had condemned the Opposition for the difficulties they had placed in the way of settlement of the land question in Ireland. Therein he disagreed with the right hon. Gentleman, who ought to put the responsibility upon those who sat below the gangway, and who had been the instigators of all that had taken place in Ireland during the recent past. Perhaps the most responsible of these was the hon. and learned Gentleman who sat for the City of Waterford, and who in no circumstances had deprecated cattle-driving. In fact, in a speech in Portumna in October last, the Leader of the Irish Party said with a reference to the Evicted Tenants Bill, that peace in that district would be a dishonour to the district and to Ireland. If the Leader of the Irish Party used such words they should not attach so much blame to the hon. and learned Gentleman's followers or to the poor dupes who followed their advice. The statement that the Opposition were making the question of the land settlement in Ireland more difficult was a mere travesty of the case. They had had a most interesting speech from the Solicitor-General for Ireland, the chief part of 786 which, however, was taken up in asking the Opposition Questions. The hon. and learned Gentleman's first Question was, "Did they (the Opposition) consider that the Executive was remiss?" He did consider that the Executive was remiss if any law-abiding citizen in Ireland had to go in terror of his life or of being shot at. The Solicitor-General had asked what more could the Executive have done in the way of putting the ordinary powers of the law in force? Well, if those powers were not strong enough they could have put other powers into operation which they had at their disposal. The Solicitor-General asked if the failure of the juries to convict was to be ascribed to the Executive; but perhaps the situation had appealed to the sympathies of those juries and made them unwilling to convict the poor dupes, when hon. Gentlemen below the gangway were the instigators of the crime and outrage which had taken place; and yet they heard that the right hon. Gentleman was itching to prosecute, but had been' unable to do so. They had heard a good deal about governing Ireland according to Irish ideas, but hitherto the country had seen the maximum of government according to Irish ideas and the minimum of government by His Majesty's Ministers. They had had vague hints that education would be the secret of the future settlement of the land question in Ireland. In that sentiment he agreed with the Chief Secretary, but in this vague and theoretical suggestion the right hon. Gentleman left out of account those individuals who were at present in their holdings cowering and intimidated because the Government would not put in force the powers at their disposal. The right hon. Gentleman talked about the shooting incidents, and said that the shots had been fired over the house; but, he asked, how would the right hon. Gentleman himself like it if a few bullets were fired through the roof of his house at Chelsea, even if he occupied the ground floor?
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH
thought that the right hon. Gentleman would consider it a serious crime whether the shot was fired in a part of the house which was inhabited or not. They had 787 been told to compare the figures of crime in England and Ireland. There was no analogy whatever. Crime in England was not part of a conspiracy, but was committed from motives of personal gain to the individual; whereas in Ireland it was committed by the participants in a conspiracy fomented by other people against the law of the land. If there was an honest intention to govern Ireland in accordance with the principles of equity and justice, he asked the Chief Secretary if he proposed, in the event of a recrudescence of cattle-driving, to put in force powers more effective and more drastic than they saw in operation at the present moment? In fact, if the situation demanded it, would the Government put in force the Crimes Act again? He entirely agreed with the right hon. Gentleman in having a detestation of repressive measures, but the Government were at fault in not putting in force that drastic measure. He thought he could recall the reason for it. It was due to the fact that when in Opposition they had, from purely Party motives, not supported the previous Government in passing and using the Crimes Act, and now, when in power, they were unwilling to admit that that was done from purely Party, and really unworthy, motives. No suggestion had ever been put forward by hon. Gentlemen opposite towards the solution of this difficult and almost insoluble problem. He should have hoped that something in the nature of statesmanship would have been displayed by the Government. What an opportunity there was for the settlement of this Irish question by a Minister who had already twice failed! He be belived that the task was not a difficult one if the Government only made up their mind to repress sternly all illegalities and provided protection to every individual who had a right to demand it. He wondered if the events which were occurring in Ireland would be tolerated in any other civilised portion of the world for a moment. The worst feature of cattle-driving in Ireland was that it was received with approbation by hon. Gentlemen who sat below the gangway. They also heard from those who were in sympathy with the movement that cattle-driving was not a criminal offence. He would not argue that point, but he did not think that anyone would deny that it was in itself cruel in its 788 action, and that the animals who were subjected to that treatment were injured thereby. [NATIONALIST cries of "No."] He maintained that it was so, and also that it was most reprehensible in its results. It was bound to be injurious to the whole morale, of the people of the-country, and to the administration of the law in Ireland. He submitted that if the Government failed to put down any recrudescence of this agitation they would be guilty of something akin to criminal negligence. But they were told that there was to be no more cattle-driving. Whether that was so or not he did not propose to say; but what were the reasons for this lull in cattle-driving? The reason put forward the previous night by the hon. Member for Cork was that—For the first time the present Chief Secretary had taught the Irish people that there might be such a thing as their own law and order, which it was their own interest to enforce. He had succeeded in making the Irish people their own peacemakers to an extent which deserved a vote of thanks rather than a vote of censure.He was very sorry that the right hon. Gentleman seemed to be very glad to receive that pat on the back from the hon. Member for Cork; but, the Lord Chancellor used very different language and expressed the idea that it was owing to the proceedings taken under the Statute of Edward III. that the people were brought up and sent to prison. It was curious to note that this employment of the Statute of Edward HI. was said by the hon. Member for East Mayo to be-worthy of the worst days of coercion; so-that the hon. Member for East Mayo had proved up to the hilt that cattle-driving had come to an end by coercion. He maintained that there was only an armistice in cattle-driving for the time being. The reason for that was not much in doubt. He believed that Irish Members were giving the Government a chance to fulfil some of the promises they had made, to fulfil that part of the bargain which had been so strongly repudiated by the Chief Secretary.
§ VISCOUNT CASTLEREAGH
said that the interpretation of various things which the right hon. Gentleman had 789 said was that if the Irish Members behaved in a certain way and gave him their support, he would support them. That was, he believed, the reason why the Irish Members were giving him a chance—a proud position for a Minister of the Crown to stand in. He asked whether it was a coincidence that unrest and disturbance in Ireland ran concurrently with a Liberal Administration. How was it that for the last twenty years there had been to a large extent peace and tranquility in Ireland? The reason was that the Unionist Administration when it came into power, where he hoped they would be again at an early date, grappled with the problem in the initial stages of their administration and by doing so suppressed that germ of unrest which was now rampant in the country, and they left the country in a peaceful condition, a fact which had been testified to on all sides and by no less an authority than Mr. Bryce who was the Chief Secretary at the commencement of that Administration. The reason of the unrest and disturbance was that there was in power an unscrupulous party who had sown the seed of unrest and they now had to reap the harvest of insurrection. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman to have done with those philosophical arguments and theoretical views which he put forward and not to wink at crime and almost to connive at it. He would urge upon him to put forward the strong arm of the law for the purpose of giving protection to every person in Ireland instead of allowing all the civilised world to point the finger of scorn at this country because its administration was dictated by a set of turbulent Irishmen. He believed that the idea was held in some quarters that there was something ill this matter of Home Rule and that if it were given to Ireland the question would be settled once and for all. He would recommend those who held those views to study very carefully the history of Ireland from 1886 up to the present time, and he thought they would see that, so long as no vague promises were held out, so long as lawlessness was suppressed, the Irish people were a law-abiding race, but that it was easy to inflame the passions of the people of Ireland by political devices, and he 790 could only say that those devices should have been apparent, but that those devices were not so apparent was the reason of the present state of affairs in Ireland. He urged the right hon. Gentleman to take his courage in both hands and to use drastic measures when they were necessary and to enforce the Crimes Act, which to his mind brought about the peace and tranquility which prevailed before a Liberal Administration came into power. With these few words he desired to support the Amendment which had been moved from the Front Opposition Bench.
§ MR. POWER (Waterford, E.)
who was indistinctly heard in the Gallery was understood to say, that by the Land Purchase! Act of 1903 the House had shown themselves willing to pay a large amount to secure peace and contentment in Ireland, and if they could have seen that poverty and despair would be banished they would have been prepared to give a larger bonus than they did to the landlords. It had turned out in the working of that Act that the portion of it favourable to the landlords had been largely used, but that the portion of it most favourable to the people, and which they had hoped would put them on the land, had been to a large extent a dead letter. He did not think that the people of this country had any idea of the grinding poverty which existed in some parts of Ireland. They had on several occasions relief works started and thousands of people were employed upon them and in no case did an able-bodied man get more than 6s. a week or 1s. a day for his ten hours' work. If that was not an awful proof of the poverty which existed he did not know what was. Hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway said that the real cure for any disorder that existed in Ireland was repressive measures and the re-enactment of the Crimes Act. In former periods when Coercion Acts were introduced they were brought in for a limited period and when crime was rife in Ireland, but that could not be said of the present Coercion Act which hon. Members were so anxious to revive in all its ferocity. It was introduced not to put down crime, and was aimed not at crime or criminals but at tenants' combinations 791 and organisations which were absolutely necessary to preserve the very lives of the people. He remembered that Mr. Gladstone, when the Act was under discussion, said that if England was to coerce Ireland for crime, Ireland could say, that compared with England she had relatively less crime. The right hon. Gentleman said he thought the measure was more needed by England than Ireland, because for Ireland it was a question of suffering, and she knew how to suffer, whereas for England it was a question of shame and dishonour, and to cast away shame and dishonour was the first business of a great nation. Unfortunately those words were not heeded and the Act was passed. There was one phase in the passing of that Coercion Act which he thought was almost unique in Parliament. There was considerable opposition on the Liberal side to the passing of the Act, and to allay that opposition the Leader of the House, in his hearing and in that of his colleague, promised distinctly that there should be an appeal from the decision of these removable magistrates in every case. That statement disarmed the Liberal opposition to a large extent, because they believed it would be a safeguard, but that was not the view of the Nationalist Members because they thought the appeals would go to Judges in whom they had very little confidence. The Leader of the House, however, never took any steps to fulfill his pledge, and there had been no appeal in any case provided for. His principal object in rising was to allude to the Glenhaheirg case, because it happened to be in his constituency. There was an appeal pending, and he knew from the newspaper reports that reference had been made in another place to this question.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG (Antrim, S.)
rose to a point of order and said the case to which the hon. Member was referring was undoubtedly sub judice at that moment, and if any hon. Gentleman on that Bench mentioned the case they would undoubtedly be at once called to order by the Nationalist members. He ventured to ask whether it was possible to discuss the Matter in any way.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said it was certainly undesirable to discuss any case which was likely to come before a Court of Law and if the case was still sub judice he should deprecate all discussion.
§ MR. CULLINAN (Tipperary, S.)
wished to bring to the Speaker's notice that when the hon. Member for East Tyrone rose to object to a reference being made by Members from the North of Ireland to the case of several prisoners and what occurred during the trial, he had ruled that it was permissible to refer to the matter.
§ MR. SPEAKER
said he thought the hon. Member was mistaken. That was a wholly different matter. In that case the speech of the Attorney-General who was prosecuting was quoted in this House in order to show what in the opinion of the Attorney-General might result from certain crimes being continued. The observations did not in the least touch the case of the prisoners who were being tried, and might be tried again.
§ MR. POWER
said he would not enlarge on the matter, but he wished not so much to allude to the ease of the alleged blowing up of Lord Ashtown's lodge as to call the attention of the Government to the state of things existing round about that estate which was dangerous to the peace of the country. Prosecutions had been going on for a long time, and to give some idea of the tension he would give one case. Some persons were being prosecuted for trespass and they watched the doings of a certain underkeeper of Lord Ash-town's. He was found to visit one of their farms; they went to his place and found pheasants there, and they found six shots in the pheasants which it was said were put there with a view of incriminating someone. That showed the tension which existed in that district and which might well lead to disturbance. It was only right to say that Lord Ashtown dismissed that underkeeper after that was proved in open Court, but still it was a strange thing for an underkeeper recently appointed to do. He desired to call attention to the state of feeling that existed and to ask the 793 Government whether they could do anything to allay it. He was sorry to say that when this gamekeeper was convicted and sentenced by a majority of the bench without hearing the prosecution fully, someone released the prisoner upon an ex parte statement. He also called attention to the fact that there was an evicted farm on Lord Ashtown's estate. The tenant who had been evicted was most anxious to get back, and although he had written and applied to be allowed to go back Lord Ashtown had taken no notice of the application, but had commenced planting trees upon the farm. He (Mr. Power) had written to the Estates Commissioners, who had approached Lord Ashtown and asked him to stop the planting, but no notice had been taken of their remonstrance. He hoped the Government would be able to do something to stop this planting until some settlement was arrived at. Feeling in the district was very strong and much excited over this and other matters, and at any moment the place might become a storm centre. If both sides got warm no one could tell what would be the result. Hon. Gentlemen above the Gangway seemed to think that coercion was the only remedy, but unfortunately coercion in Ireland was directed not against crime but against political opponents and organisations. The senior Member for Cork took an action against Lord Salisbury for a speech made at Watford. That action was tried at Manchester and certain witnesses were summoned from Ireland, among others Captain Slack. That gentleman said that for ten years previous to the foundation of the Land League the condition of Ireland was very satisfactory. He was then asked his opinion as to the condition of. Ireland during the ten years that succeeded the foundation of the League and his reply was that it was most unsatisfactory. Captain Slack was compelled to admit that in the ten years preceding the foundation of the League twenty murders had been committed and that none had taken place in the ten years succeeding its foundation. But when asked to explain why he considered the period in which twenty murders were committed so much more satisfactory than the latter period Captain Slack showed 794 the official view by saying that in the period when the murders took place there was no combination and no organisation in the neighbourhood. No crimes and no murders had taken place when there was an organisation, so that the House could see that the founding of this political organisation was necessary to keep the people in their homes. Of course he knew what the result of the division would be, but no one could say what this campaign of conspiracy would end in. It was an ignoble thing on the part of anybody to bring up the shortcomings of their country, if they were shortcomings, but the present campaign went fa beyond that; and he was glad to think that this ignoble proceeding on the part of hon. Members above the gangway would recoil on their own heads. When the people were called upon to give a decision upon the subject they would record a verdict which would stop a campaign of conspiracy which was a disgrace and discredit to the country.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG
said that with regard to the speech of the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down he had only to say one word. The hon. Gentleman had given his version of an incident that had occurred on the estate of Lord Ashtown at Glenaheiry and it was only fair that the House should hear the other side. Two gamekeepers in the course of their duty saw two men fishing not only in private waters but out of season. They went to these men and the head keeper showed his warrant and informed them that they would be searched. He proceeded to search them and found upon them an illegal engine used for fishing, called a stroke haul. He then summoned them, but the poachers also summoned him for assault and Laresny. The case was tried by a local bench of magistrates, on which Nationalists predominated, who dismissed the summons for illegal fishing, and convicted the keepers of assault and sentenced them to a fortnight's imprisonment. As soon as these facts were reported to Dublin Castle an immediate order was sent down for their release. It was only fair that the hon. Gentleman having stated his view of the case the House should hear the other side. So much for the speech of the hon. Member. The speech delivered by the 795 hon. Member for West Belfast was to an even greater degree than usual both vicious and vulgar.
Order, order. Those are not expressions that should be used in this House in regard to the speech of an hon. Member.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG
said he would, in deference to the ruling of Mr. Deputy Speaker, withdraw the expressions used. The hon. Member's speeches resembled each other very closely. He began by abusing the hon. Member for Durham, who immediately preceded him and whose speech in the opinion of those who had heard it was one of the best delivered during the debate. He then proceeded to deal with the hon. Members representing the Unionists in the North of Ireland, and having singled out the hon. Member for North Armagh who was not present and therefore unable to reply to his attacks, he proceeded to inform the House that every obstruction that it was possible to put in the way of the efficient workins of the Land Act of 1903 had been placed in its way by the Unionist Members for Lister. That was the one statement made by the hon. Member which he thought it worth his while to contradict. During the progress of the Land Purchase Bill through this House the representatives of Ulster did all in their power to assist it, and since it had become law they had done everything to make it a success. The greatest success the Act had achieved had been in Ulster. When the hon. Gentleman condescended to deal with the Amendment the only justification he could bring forward for the action of cattle-drivers and other law-breakers was that during the Devon election a Devonshire clergyman advised that certain persons should be boycotted for not voting in the way in which he desired they should vote. If the hon. Gentleman could only find that case in Mid Devon and the case of Mr. Coote in Tyrone—with the details of which he was not sufficiently acquainted to be able to reply to the hon. Member—to justify these cattle raids, boycottings and shootings, he could only say the hon. Member had made out a very poor case indeed. The hon. Member for the Scotland division of Liverpool had objected to the remarks 796 made by Lord Lansdowne in another place, comparing in some respects Macedonia and Ireland. Lord Lansdowne had not meant to represent that Ireland was in the same state of lawlessness as Macedonia, but he (Mr. Craig) endorsed to the full the comparison which the noble Lord had made. It seemed to him that before His Majesty's Ministers sought to lecture the Sultan of Turkey on the maintenance of law and order in his own dominions, they ought to look to the state of Ireland, and in lecturing the Sultan it seemed to him they were approaching perilously near the region of hypocrisy. The King's Speech also contained a reference to the Congo State. It said that the Government were fully aware of the great anxiety felt with regard to the treatment of the people of the Congo, and its only desire was to see the government of that State humanely administered. There was an old proverb-that those who lived in glass houses should not throw stones, and he thought I that if ever there was a case in which it applied, it was with reference to the doings of the Government in Ireland. They found those words in the King's Speech with reference to the Congo, yet in Ireland boycotting, the deprivation of innocent men's means of living, shooting into houses, and outrages of all kinds were going on unchecked on all sides of them, and this in the very heart of His Majesty's dominions, within twelve hours of that House. It was pure hypocrisy on the part of His Majesty's Government. What right had His Majesty's. Government to lecture a foreign nation on what might be going on in their territory when such a stale of affairs existed in Ireland as had been described. It was said that the charges which they made against the Irish Office had not been precise. He hoped that accusations would not be made against him personally. The charges which he made against the Irish Government, and particularly against the Irish Secretary as she head of it, were, in the first instance, that during the whole year he had been in office the Chief Secretary had systematically misled the House as to the true state of affairs in Ireland; that he had tried to diminish and minimise as far as possible the state of lawlessness which existed, he did not say in the whole of Ireland, but in certain parts of it—seven or eight counties. The second, and one of 797 the most serious charges against the Chief Secretary which he had to make, was that he had failed, on all occasions, to give to the person who had suffered damage or injury from these lawless acts that protection which was the right of every subject of His Majesty. In the next place, and this was also a very grave charge, the right hon. Gentleman from the time he had taken office, had given the most deliberate encouragement, to cattle-driving. The last charge against him was that he had allowed the United Irish League to usurp the functions of the Government which he was bound to keep in his own hands and guard most jealously. The Chief Secretary was entrusted by this House with very great powers; he had a great range of departments, and his responsibilities were as great and much more varied than those of any other member of the Government. The powers entrusted to him should not be used by anybody except the authorised subordinates of the Irish Office. The fact was however that the United Irish League was rapidly becoming, if it had not already become, an authorised subordinate department of the Irish Government.
When the Chief Secretary came into office the state of Ireland was not of course as bad as it was now, but he (Mr. Craig) did not admit that it was in so satisfactory a condition as had been represented. There was, as a matter of fact, a very considerable amount of cattle-driving, though it was of a different form. It consisted generally of pulling down walls surrounding grazing farms and driving the cattle into the road. When the Chief Secretary came into office a year ago he asserted that at that time Ireland was crimeless, and he made a now almost historical speech at Halifax in which he said that Ireland was in a more peaceful condition than it had been for 600 years. It was a mistake to suppose that cattle-driving only began last March. It began, as a matter of fact, in the time of the hon. Member for South Dublin. In the early stages of cattle-driving the people never imagined they would be allowed to carry on their nefarious business with absolute impunity; and, instead of doing it in the light of the day, these proceedings took place in the dead of night. They used to go to a man's land secretly in the night and pull down his wall or gate and 798 drive his cattle; in the morning they had disappeared, and of course there were no signs of the perpetrators of the act. The hon. Member for South Dublin very soon put a stop to that. He simply said it was a lawless proceeding and must be stopped. He used the ordinary powers of the law, doing all he could to trace the offenders, and when he could he prosecuted them and brought them to justice; but, apart from that, he made a rule prohibiting any land from which cattle had been driven being sold through the Estates-Commissioners. That had the desired effect, and when the right hon. Gentleman retired, cattle-driving for the time being had ceased altogether. Then Mr. Bryce came into office, and the first statesmanlike action he performed was to rescind that Estates Commissioners' Rule. From that moment, of course, cattle-driving began again and increased from day to day. In the early days as he had said it was carried on at night, secretly; but gradually people became bolder. They found very little notice was taken of cattle-drives by the Government, and they thought it was much less inconvenient to be there in the middle of the day. In a very short time after the present Chief Secretary came into office cattle-drives were carried out in broad daylight. Often they were advertised and frequently the operations were enlivened by the presence of many bands. In fact they were carried out with every publicity, as though the miscreants knew perfectly well the Government would take no serious action against them. It was true that publicity and advertisement of it were greater now than a year ago, but it was erroneous to suppose that when the right hon. Gentleman came into office there was no such thing as cattle-driving and that the country was, as he had said, in as peaceable a condition as it had been for 600 years. Their contention was that, if the Chief Secretary had been serious in his determination to put down cattle-driving, he could have done so with the greatest ease, especially in the earlier months of his office. He submitted to the House that it was a fundamental mistake to say that cattle-driving, as the Chief Secretary had said, was the outcome of disappointed hopes. It was nothing of the sort. It was precisely what the noble Lord the Member for Marylebone had said. It was a habit of disorder with the 799 people, and it was produced by nothing more than by the knowledge of the people in the West of Ireland that, if they agitated and committed outrages for a few short months, they would get all they wanted from the Government. That had been proved from time immemorial. It had seldom mattered which party was sitting on the Treasury Bench. The Nationalists had learned long ago the lesson which Englishmen seemed far from learning, that if they wanted anything all they had to do was to agitate for it. That was the true explanation of the commencement of cattle-driving. Was it not absurd to tell the House of Commons, because the Land Act had during the last four years, not worked as expeditiously with regard to the division of grass lands in Connaught as was expected, there was any justification for cattle-driving? How could anyone solemnly make such a statement to a body of English gentlemen? To put that forward as an excuse for cattle-driving was one of the most extraordinary doctrines any Minister of the Crown could enunciate. Was it impossible for Englishmen to get into the way of looking upon Irishmen as ordinary human beings instead of something totally different from themselves? Irishmen were human, and had the same ideas of right and wrong and justice and injustice as themselves. Why, then, could they not treat them as ordinary rational beings, and apply the same principles to them as they would apply to themselves? Would any English Member countenance for a moment in his own constituency in England what was being done in Ireland? Would they think for an instant that the fact that the Act of 1903 had not worked to their entire satisfaction was any justification for cattle-driving? The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that when he saw all this going on his idea was not so much to punish the guilty as "to look behind the movement for the cause of the disturbances." That was directly contradictory of the English idea of government He had charged the Chief Secretary before with having condoned these offences, and he would repeat that charge now. The Chief Secretary and every other member of the Government who had spoken of cattle-driving 800 had not only tried to minimise it, but had gone out of their way to find excuses for those who committed these offences. In other speeches they had the well-known dictum of Lord Denman, who during the last few days had tried to wriggle out of what he had said, which was to the effect that in the opinion of the Government cattle-driving was not a serious offence. Lord Crewe had stated distinctly that it was contrary to law, but he always qualified this by dwelliug on the wretched condition of those who took part in these drives, and generally sought to minimise or excuse the whole wretched business, And although every Minister of the Crown had been obliged to admit that this kind of thing was contrary to the law of the land, they had all done their best to minimise cattle-driving and present it to the country as a matter of no importance. The Unionists of Ireland pointed out long ago that language of the kind used by the Ministers of the Crown could only have one effect. What effect did they suppose their words would have upon the minds of those poor peasantry in the West of Ireland? The effect was that they saw that the Government were indifferent and would not take any serious steps to punish them for cattle-driving. If the Chief Secretary had been serious in his endeavour to put down this form of lawlessness it was at any moment in his power to do so, not necessarily by having recourse to the Crimes Act but by re-enforcing that very proper rule which the Member for South Dublin put in force when he was Chief Secretary, which instructed the Estates Commissioners that no person who had been identified with or convicted of taking part in any cattle-driving should be allowed to take part in the division of that land. He did not think there would be any hardship in such a rule as that. Last session he asked the Chief Secretary several times if he considered the state of affairs in regard to cattle-driving had reached such a pitch as to justify the adoption of a rule of the kind he had alluded to, and on each occasion he refused, and he had never yet given any explanation why he had not adopted such a rule. But there was the other remedy which might have been employed. He did 801 not say that the time had arrived for its adoption in March or April last year, but the time had long since arrived when it was not only justifiable but it was the bounden duty of the Government to put the Crimes Act into force in order to put down cattle-driving. Here he would like to quote the Prime Minister in support of his contention that when the law breaks down it is the duty of the Executive to put into force whatever powers they possessed for the purpose of maintaining order. These were his words—In many parts of Ireland for offences of an agrarian character they could not trust to the ordinary class of jurymen doing their duty, partly from prejudice, but mainly owing to the cruel and overpowering system of terror of the National League. He could not be sure with the clearest evidence, of being able to get a verdict. In order to maintain the arm of justice in Ireland it was not only reasonable but necessary, to provide some measure which would overcome that difficulty, and it might very well have been made part of the permanent law.In reference to trial by jury, the Attorney-General for Ireland was asked when he was going to put the Crimes Act into force, and he replie that the Liberal Party would never put it into force. It had been said that sterner measures were not adopted because juries could be trusted to preserve law and order and do their duty; and if the jurors of Ireland had known they were going to be backed up by the Government they would have done their duty. Had jurors been led to believe that the Government were serious in their determination to put down cattle-driving, the hundreds of judicial farces which took place in the county courts and at the assizes last year would never have happened. Did the Attorney - General think that the Irish juryman was more slow-witted than those who took part in cattle-drives? He had talked about the judicial farce at the winter and summer assizes. The learned Solicitor-General, in a speech he had made earlier in the day, had tried to show that they had done everything in their power to bring these people to justice. He would admit that so far as mere legal forms were concerned they had done. Juries felt that at any rate, whatever the reason of 802 it was, the Government did not want convictions. Whatever the cause was, the fact remained that out of these 237 persons tried at these two assizes there were only eight convictions. If anything in this wide world could give a more extraordinary exhibition of a judicial farce than that he would be very pleased to hear it. The jury disagreed in 158 cases; fifty-six were actually acquitted, and the proceedings were abandoned in fifteen cases. The Government with such a statement as that before them and so long as cattle-driving existed—and when that happened it was increasing—with those figures before them there was one duty and one duty only cast upon the Government, and that was to say, "This must cease"; and no matter what they personally thought of the Crimes Act and of putting measures of that sort in force, they were bound to maintain law and order, and whether they liked it or not put that Act into force. But they knew that did not happen. There had been several theories mentioned as the reason why cattle-driving had stopped—he did not say himself that it had stopped—but at any rate so far as one could judge there was a partial lull in the matter of cattle-driving. One theory was that the Chief Secretary had made a bargain with Cardinal Logue on the subject of the University Bill.
§ MR. CRAIG
said that another theory was that a definite and deliberate bargain of some sort had been entered into with the Leaders of the Nationalist Party that, if cattle-driving was stopped, measures embodying the fullest provisions with reference to dividing up the grass lands in the West of Ireland would be produced at the eariest moment. He did not think that actually any agreement of the sort was entered into, but he thought the explanation of the whole thing was perfectly simple. The Chief Secretary and the Under - Secretary, Sir Antony MacDonnell, and other members of the Irish Executive had had this question of the dividing up of the grass lands in Connaught under their consideration for a great many months, probably before the beginning of last year, and when they 803 saw these very lands which they proposed to divide up amongst the peasants of Connaught had been cleared of stock and thrown into the hands of the Estates Commissioners without the necessity of any Act of Parliament or anything else, they were not displeased. He could imagine a conversation between Sir Antony MacDonnell and the Chief Secretary, "Why should we interfere with this operation of cattle-driving when all these lands which we are so anxious to acquire for the purpose of dividing up amongst these people are actually being cleared and thrown into our hands without any action on our part?" He thought that was the explanation of the supineness of the Chief Secretary. He wanted these lands just as much as the poor peasants did who were raiding cattle from them, and he had been very loth all along to take any action to prevent what, he had no doubt, he considered a most excellent operation, which in every way would facilitate and help him in the passage of the Bill which, he understood, he was shortly going to bring into the House of Commons for the compulsory acquisition and division of these lands. It seemed to him that no further explanation was necessary. That was at any rate the explanation which he gave, and which he firmly held was the motive which actuated the Chief Secretary in the absolute want of energy he had shown from the very beginning to put down this lawless cattle-driving. Supposing the theory he put forward was correct, he left it to hon. Members opposite to impute the measure of praise or blame to the Chief Secretary for his action in that matter. Personally, he thought his action in the matter had been most reprehensible. For any Minister of the Crown to tolerate lawlessness, to condone and encourage it, as he maintained the right hon. Gentleman had done, for the mere purpose of serving his own ends was a very serious view to take of his duties. He had called himself a middle-aged man in a hurry, and he wanted to do these things in the shortest possible time. He saw in the clearing of these lands his task made easier. He saw that he would be able to use these cattle-drives as a fulcrum with which to get from the House of Commons a stringent Act 804 giving him greater compulsory powers, and he saw large stretches of country which he wanted to get being thrown into his hands without any Act of Parliament. Any person who for these selfish reasons would allow the state of lawlessness, which had existed new during the whole of the right hon. Gentleman's term of office, to go on, was not worthy of being a Minister of the Crown—he was not worthy of being allowed inside the walls of the House of Commons at all. There was a quotation which he particularly desired to place before the House of Commons. They had had that afternoon, he thought from the hon. Member for Durham, a quotation from a speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for India. He commended this quotation to the earnest attention of hon. Members opposite. Speaking at Arbroath on 31st October last, the right hon. Gentleman said—We have somehow or another, wisely or unwisely, by a right policy or an erroneous policy—we have got to maintain order. Disorder, whatever your ultimate policy may be, at any rate violent disorder, must be put down, and that with a firm hand.Those were the words of a statesman. He wanted to know how these two diametrically opposite policies—the policy as set forth by the Secretary of State for India and the policy set forth on the previous day by the Chief Secretary—could emanate from the same Cabinet. How was it possible for a Cabinet which endorsed every action of every individual member of the Cabinet to be in favour of both these policies? How was it possible for the Chief Secretary to maintain friendly relations with the Secretary for India when their policies were so diametrically opposite? The words which he would particularly dwell upon in the quotation were "Whatever your ultimate policy may be, disorder, at any rate violent disorder, must be put down, and that with a firm hand." That was exactly the policy he and his friends advocated for Ireland at the present time. Whatever the ultimate policy of the Government might be whether or not it was to clear every inch of ground in the West of Ireland that was suitable for planting these uneconomic tenants on, he maintained, and the Secretary for India endorsed it, that their first duty was to maintain law and order. 805 Just before he sat down he would refer to what he had said at the beginning of his speech and that was that one of the curses of the country to which he belonged was that English politicians would not treat it seriously. If every hon. Member opposite would provide himself with a small handbook of the Parliamentary history of Ireland during the last fifty years he would find outstanding on every page the fact that hon. Members below the gangway, most of whom were endowed with the faculty of being able to make a mountain out of a molehill, presented a case which in the majority of instances had only a remote resemblance to the real facts, but which was time after time enough to make hon. Members for English and Scottish constituencies think Ireland was being ill used and ill treated, and that they had wrongs which required instant redress. What Ireland required more than any other thing in the world was to be left alone. He asked hon. Members opposite to learn that what Ireland required was rest from eternal agitation in this country, and the eternal attention it received from the House of Commons. The Land Act of 1903 was working as well as it possibly could. The only thing required to make the Act absolutely successful was money, and, as the Chief Secretary had observed, that money must be found at all costs to preserve Ireland from terrible disaster. He agreed with the right hon. Gentleman in that. It was the most elementary nonsense for Members to say that the fact the Act was not working faster was a justification for the lawless proceedings which had lately darkened the lives of so many persons in eight or nine counties in Ireland. In his humble judgment it was an insult to the intelligence of any English Member to expect him to believe such a thing.
§ MR. KETTLE (Tyrone, E.)
said that some of his friends had referred to the length of the speeches made by hon. Members from Ulster. He had no objection to them on that score, for in view of the spirit they had shown in the course of the debate the sooner would Home Rule come to Ireland. This Amendment was an attack at once upon Ireland 806 and Liberalism. It was an attempt to injure Ireland through Liberalism, and to injure Liberalism through Ireland. The speech of the Chief Secretary yesterday was the most brilliant and courageous dealing with any great question since he entered this House. A previous speaker had referred to the unreality of the debate. The Opposition had by this Amendment raised the question of Irish Government, but where were the other questions in which they were supposed to be interested? Such an exhibition of meanness and cowardice had not been given by any great Party in this country for a considerable time. Where was tariff reform? Why was the official Amendment of the Opposition not one dealing with that question? Was not that the question on which they claimed to have won Mid Devon and South Hereford? This debate had collapsed for want of statistics. It had been like a mill trying to grind without any corn to grind. One Member had argued that the absence of criminal statistics in Ireland was the real measure of criminality in that country. That was rather an uncomfortable position for the people of Ireland to be in. If the figures of crime were high they were at once accused of lawlessness, and if they were low, as at present, they were also liable to a like charge. The only speech he listened to with interest was that of the noble Lord the Member for Maryle-bone. The noble Lord had a hereditary interest in Ireland. What was the theory he put forward? It was that the Anglo-Saxon race had effected a sort of corner and exclusive patent right to civilisation, and that nowhere else in the world, except in this happy country, did people believe in or accept law; while the people of Ireland were given to habitual disorder and were a sort of habitual drunkards from the political point of view. What was his prescription? Coercion on a twenty years lease, renewable for ever. It was really an advantage to find real and unadulterated Toryism put forward by the noble Lord. What did it mean? As had been said, the Attorney - General for Ireland had used language not justified by facts. But the language spoken in heat by the Attorney-General was the language spoken in coolness by the 807 noble Lord. The noble Lord's theory was that The people of Ireland were infected with an incurable inferiority which made them unfit for the management of their own affairs. He (Mr. Kettle) protested against the noble Lord's comparison of the agitation in Ireland to an organised attack on millionaires' mansions in Park Lane. There was no motive of spoliation or confiscation on the part of those engaged in land war in Ireland. They were parties to an Act under which the landlords were receiving a more generous price for their land than had been obtained by any landlords in Europe. What they wanted was to have the Act of 1903 carried into effect, and that the train of broken promises in Ireland should be interrupted by, at any rate, one bright interval. He protested against the deliberate malice of the statement in the Party Press and on the platform in England, that they had sought to deprive anybody having proprietary interests from getting the full market value of their land. When these Opposition critics dropped statistics they fell back upon Judges' charges. He believed it was a rule of order in the House that one was not allowed to attack a Judge except on a Motion for his removal. He was rather sorry that such a Motion was not more frequently brought before the House. He did not wish to name or attack any Judge, but he did think that certain Judges of his acquaintances—at any rate one Judge—should devote his moral energy to paying his hotel bills. I OPPOSITION cries of "Order." He hoped hon. Gentlemen above the gangway were not in favour of Judges not paying their hotel bills. He would not bring before the House the natural history of Judges in Ireland in their ascent To the Bench. But how were Irish Judges manufactured? [OPPOSITION cries of "Order."]
The hon. Member does seem to me to be overstepping the limits of order in speaking of the Judges in this way.
§ MR. J. DEVLIN
On a point of order I attacked two Judges, and I was not called to order by the Speaker.
§ MR. KETTLE
said he would conclude that part of his argument by reading a 808 passage from the speech of a distinguished statesman, Mr. Gladstone, speaking in December, 1889, said—The Attorney-General has been rewarded for his jury-packing in Ireland, and his mode of conducting business by being appointed Lord Chief Justice.
Order, order! As I understand that applies to some Judge at present on the bench, and is not in order. [NATIONALIST cries of: It is a quotation from Mr. Gladstone.]
MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER
I understand that it applies to some Judge at present on the bench, and I ask the hon. Member not to proceed with the quototion.
§ MR. KETTLE
said that in deference to the ruling of the Deputy-Speaker, he would not pursue that branch of the quotation, but there was another part of it which was entirely general in its reference. Mr. Gladstone, speaking of the difference between those matters in Ireland and England said—When these proceedings go on, do you think it odd that the Irish people have not the same affection that you have, and do not place the same confidence as you are able to place in-the Judges of the land.He did not want to apply that observation of Mr. Gladstone's to any special Judge in Ireland, but he thought hon. Members would be able to make the application for themselves. When the Judges' charges were brought up in condemnation of the people of Ireland he always looked up the paragraph in "who's Who," to find out under which Government these gentlemen ascended the bench. On this general question of agrarian outrages did The House realise the extraordinary difference That existed in the practice in England and Ireland? When a drunken or malicious tramp set fire to an outhouse or a haystack in England, that was put down as an ordinary crime. It was returned in Ireland as an agrarian offence, even 809 if it was committed without any connection of any kind with an agrarian or popular movement. A very considerable portion of those crimes in Ireland were wanton or malicious, and could be charged to no public movement, and no public movement ever accepted responsibility from them. That ought to be taken into consideration by the House. The Solicitor-General for Ireland had made a speech in the debate of a technical and legal character. He agreed with the criticism of the hon. Member for West Belfast when he said that in order to understand things in Ireland one must be human and humane before one began to be legal. But he was very glad that the Solicitor-General had brought before the House the point that a very good and excellent defence might have been sent up before any jury in regard to the cattle-driving cases. Hon. Gentlemen above the gangway assumed as soon as they got a paragraph about a case from a news-agency that there ought to be a conviction. He did not think that those hon. Members who were so strong on law and order knew much about technical law. He had listened to the evidence in every one of the cases of cattle-driving tried both in the city of Dublin, and at the Wick-low Assizes, but not in a single case from beginning to end was there any evidence whatever of violence or intimidation of a serious character. In every case the affair in question was a peaceful demonstration against the ranching system. He did not for a moment assume that the juries knew anything about the seven Bishops. No doubt their consciences were on the side of the men in the dock, but they listened to the evidence carefully, and found that there was no suggestion of violence, and no suggestion of boycotting. He detested boycotting as much as the Chief Secretary, and he was only sorry that it prevailed so much in fashionable institutions like the British Army, the English Church, and the London clubs. But there was no evidence of boycotting in any one of these cases. Those who imputed motives to the juries in these cases were bound to take into account the technical law and the actual evidence. It was said that they had only the ordinary law in these 810 cases, but he thought they had not only the ordinary law, but a double dose of it. It should be marked that not a single one of those cowardly offences which were put down in the criminal statistics in Ireland as agrarian, had been brought home to the United Irish League or was associated with the popular land movement. Hon. Members from England especially were surprised at the part taken in these debates by the Ulster Unionist Members. The weakness and inherent political vice of that party were touched upon by the hon. Member for West Belfast when he pointed out that there had never come from that quarter a single fruitful suggestion for the solution of any of the problems in Ireland. They only whined about what they called the oppression of minorities in Ireland. It should be noted that two of the gentlemen who took part in this attack upon the Government were gentlemen holding the post of Crown Prosecutor in Ireland under this very oppressive Government. He was not very much surprised at the action taken by the Ulster Unionist Party which had organised this campaign of calumny against the country which had the misfortune to own them. An undue compliment was paid them when they were termed a Party. Ulster Unionism was not a Party; it was only an appetite. If they took away from them the people who held office, the people who hoped for office, the people who had canvassed for office for other people, and who were pushing the claims for office for their brothers and their brothers-in-law, and sons and nephews, the Ulster Unionist Party would be represented by about two Members. Every measure of progress or reform with reference to Irish affairs brought before this House had been met with the persistent organised opposition of the Ulster Unionists. They had opposed the Evicted Tenants Bill, obstructed the Labourers Bill, the Town Tenants Bill, and successive Land and Franchise Bills. They had heard a good deal that night about the law of the United Irish League, but what about the law of the Orange Lodges? The cry came from Ulster about the misdeeds of the Home Rule majority in the House. When hon. Members talked about boycotting, what about 811 the land in a northern" town, which was only let out for building on the condition that no Nationalist and no Catholic was to occupy a house? What about the political blackmail of the Estates Commissioners, of which the hon. Member for North Armagh was convicted in this House? He did not want to fight those Gentlemen, there however, because they were fighting them in Ulster, and their death warrant had already been signed. [Ironical cheers.] Well hon. Gentlemen would find it out at the next election. He was not surprised that the right hon. and learned Gentleman the senior Member for Trinity College demanded coercion. Why, he graduated in coercion courts! They formed the milk tap from which the infancy of his profession was fed and from which he had grown to such fatness and dignity. This was an economic question much more than it was a political question. County Meath, as any Member who knew the district was aware, was the most fertile county in Ireland, but the population in fifty years had fallen from 160,000 to 60,000 people. Any Member who went to Queenstown or Derry or the other emigration centres, would see a long line of emigrants file out to the tenders. Landless men drive from a manless land. Hon. Members talked about law and order, but the law had two arms, one of repression and one of reform. If the Government had recourse to the arm of reform and gave it a fair chance and free play, following the lines of the magnificent speech of the Chief Secretary, there would be no need for the arm of repression.
§ SIR E. CARSON (Dublin University)
I should like to make it clear that in the course of the few observations which I have to make in bringing this debate to a close, I shall dwell mainly upon the speeches of the Chief Secretary for Ireland and of the Solicitor General. I am sure the hon. and learned Member who has just sat down, therefore, will excuse me if I do not follow him into the details of his speech. He has referred to me, I do not know whether he meant it to be in complimentary or uncomplimentary terms, as having many years ago now—I am afraid when I was a much younger and more vigorous man—engaged in the 812 struggle of Ireland, which others have had to take up. If he means it as a reproach I will only say that there is a great difference between the view of the hon. and learned Member and my own. Hea dvocates the coercion of the mob; I advocate if necessary the coercion of the law, and if I, in my earlier legal days, was engaged in assisting in putting down tryanny and intimidation in Ireland, I tell him at once, that even after this longish period, when I can perhaps take a better perspective view of the situation, I can say that I have done nothing which I in the least regret or of which I am in the least ashamed. But, after all, this debate has, I think, wandered in many respects very far from the notice which is on the Paper. That notice is of a simple though of a very important character. It regrets that the speech of His Gracious Majesty has "failed to refer to the increase of agrarian crime and disorder in Ireland." The increase of agrarian crime and disorder in Ireland is frankly admitted by the right hon. Gentleman. The Resolution on the Paper goes on to say, "or to give any assurance as to the adoption of measures for the better protection of the lives and properties of your Majesty's subjects." Having admitted as he did that there is an increase to a very serious degree of agrarian outrage in Ireland, when the Chief Secretary is asked what he is going to do for the protection of life and property, in that dramatic way which only he can assume in this House he thumps the box and says, "I will not do anything." I hope I shall not do any injustice to the Chief Secretary when I state in a few moments why he will not do anything, but I at all events start with this, that we have an admission—I think a grave and serious admission in relation to the government of any country under the British flag—as to the increase of outrage, and we have what I think is, to every law-abiding citizen, a disappointing announcement on the part of the Chief Secretary that he will not do anything beyond what he has been doing for the purpose of putting an end to the evils caused by that increase of crime. The hon. Gentleman who had just addressed us said that he had been fighting shy of statistics. I do not know why he made that observation; I do not know whether he has been 813 in the House while this debate has been going on. I always know, however, that the hon. Gentlemen who speak most freely of the course of events in this House are those who enjoy themselves otherwise than by listening to the speeches. [A NATIONALIST MEMBER: "That is just what you are doing."] All I can say is that I have listened to every speech in this debate except one, and I have taken the trouble to read that. I think that is as much as anybody can be expected to do. There is no use, therefore, in making a charge of this kind. The right hon. Gentleman who moved this Resolution based his whole case upon statistics, which have had to be admitted, and which have not been in the whole course of this debate and never could be explained away. What was the admission of the Chief Secretary? I even took the trouble to read his speech over again, although I am accused of not attending to this debate. The right hon. Gentleman said—The fact is, that the state of certain parts of Ireland at the present moment is not so satisfactory as it was this time last year. I admit it to the full.Let us start with that. I do not quarrel with the right hon. Gentleman for the statement he made; at the same time I give him no credit for it. He could not help it. The facts and the papers are conclusive, and what are they? Boycotting increased in the year from thirty-four to 116.
§ SIR E. CARSON
I know that a serious case is that of a man who very likely every moment of the day holds his life in his hands. Yes, I understand that there are only nine of these cases, and the right hon. Gentleman may take full credit for that. But 814 what are the minor cases? Has the right hon. Gentleman read the three cases mentioned by Judge Curran in the charge to the grand jury of Longford a few days ago? Are they minor cases? [Mr. BIRRELL assented]. So they are minor cases. What were these minor cases? One of them was that of a lady who left Sligo to seek employment in Longford, and, because her father was boycotted in Sligo, when she got into employment at Longford she was turned out of it by the ban of the League. What is the next minor case that Judge Curran referred to? A man refused to leave the employment that he had been in for twenty years, and when he died his own brother was refused timber to make a coffin that he could be buried in. And what was the third case? It was that of an old woman who for over twenty years had received at the hands of the parish priest a few pounds for cleaning out the chapel, and because her husband remained in an employment that was not popular even this poor woman was compelled by the priest, at the dictation of the League, to give up that petty employment. These are cases of minor boycotting, and they have increased from thirty four to 116 under the kindly and beneficent rule of the right hon. Gentleman during the last twelve months. What does Judge Curran say about this?—No mercy has been shown to these parties by their opponents, who are merciless in their persecution.Is it too much to expect that even at the eleventh hour their cases will be taken into consideration by those at whose hands they are entitled not to mercy but to common justice and the protection which the law is bound to give them? I say that if we had no other foundation than that statement of a Judge when he says that these people have been commended by him to the executive power, but no step has been taken—it is our duty as long as Ireland is governed under the United Kingdom to bring this matter before the House.
§ SIR E. CARSON
If the right hon. Gentleman thinks that an answer, I make him a present of it. I have been very much surprised in the course of this debate, not at the right hon. Gentleman, but at some Members in this House, for the manner in which they have received the reading of the reports of the charges of the Judges. The right hon. Gentleman, I do him the justice to say, has not said a single word against it. But is there any better method of obtaining an absolutely fair opinion on the condition of the country than the charges of the Judges to the grand juries on materials laid before them—by whom? By the right hon. Gentleman himself. These are not materials taken at random by some cursory writer of the Press from what are called the ordinary sources of information. These are the returns ordered by the right hon. Gentleman. There is no evidence of a more trustworthy character that can be laid before the House than the evidence of these Judges. And may I quote a high authority for that purpose? Listen to what a member of the Government has said about this—The statement as it comes from Mr. Justice O'Brien is one of the most solemn that Parliament could consider. It is in relation to the Judge's charge.That was the statement of the hon. Member for South Tyrone at a time when he was much more anxious about the liberty of the poor people of Ireland than he is now. That was the time when the hon. Member did not think it was an answer to tell poor people who were boycotted and denied the necessaries of life that one of the banks of Dublin had paid a good rate of interest. The habit in this House of jeering and sneering at the Judges when they have done their duty as best they can, very often under the most difficult circumstances, is one against which I venture to enter my most solemn protest. They have been sneered at on this side of the House and on the other during the whole course of this debate, and I say that the Judges who draw attention to these matters, and who stand up against mob law, are deserving of every praise and not of condemnation. If I want authority to support me in that, may I draw attention of hon. and right hon. Gentlemen to a statement made by a great man only a few days ago, namely, the President 816 of the United States of America. President Roosevelt said—No man should lightly criticise a Judge, and no man should even in his own mind condemn a Judge unless he is sure of the facts. If a Judge is assailed for standing up against public folly, and above all against mob violence, every man should immediately rally to his support.I have called-attention to the statements of Judge Curran as regards boycotting, and I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman last night describe boycotting as the negation of Christianity and the repudiation of humanity. Indeed, that is what I should have expected from him. I think that is a very apt description of boycotting. But how many men has the right hon. Gentleman brought to justice during the last twelve months for the "negation of Christianity and the repudiation of humanity"? How many men has he attempted to bring to justice in that time? Not one. Ponder this fact for a moment. The increase of that class of cases has been from thirty-four to 116, and no single individual is even attempted to be brought before a Court of Justice to be punished for this negation of Christianity and the inhuman conduct pointed out by Judge Curran. I pass then from the question of boycotting to that of police protection. Police protection by patrol has increased from 150 cases to 222 cases, as I understood the figures the right hon. Gentleman gave us last night. What does that mean? Lot us not gloss over these figures. They are all grim realities. It means that in 222 cases—and always, be it remembered, confined only to a few counties in Ireland—night and day you have to have police patrolling in numbers in and around the houses and dwellings of the people to protect them from the terrible outrages which otherwise it is anticipated by the Government might be perpetrated on their persons or property. I come to the next head. The right hon. Gentleman stated that crime against the person has increased from nineteen to twenty-six cases. On this account, how many men have been brought to justice I do not think one.
§ SIR E. CARSON
No. Twenty-six cases and not one person brought to 817 justice. Cases of firing into houses have increased from twenty to sixty - six cases. They have more than trebled. Cases of firing outside the house have increased from fourteen to twenty-six. I do not draw the fine distinction which the right hon. Gentleman does as to whether you fire into the kitchen when the man is in his bedroom or into the bedroom when the man is in his kitchen. My mind is not of that dialectical or intellectual kind. I look upon it all as being part of one grave and great conspiracy against the law for the purpose of intimidating people who will not, as it is called in Ireland, "fall into line," and who are not allowed to carry on their occupation as they would like to do Whether it is in the bedroom or in the kitchen the object is the same, and that object is to teach the people that the law of the mob is superior to that of the right hon. Gentleman. Here we can have no comparisons, because this has grown up during the year, but here we have, in addition to the agrarian outrages of which I have spoken, 381 cases of cattle-driving in five or six months. Will the House picture to itself what the condition of the country must be in which 381 of these cases have occurred? What condition of affairs do these cattle-drives bring about? Let me call the attention of the House to a statement which shows the object and effect of this cattle-driving. It is a statement made by the hon. Gentleman who is now being punished for having infringed the law. This is what he says—The only way in which progress can be made is by the people themselves making the ranches unsaleable. In Roscommon ten ranches have been cleared and have been run into meadow. No man would take a patch of the meadows, no man work upon them. Even the crows are afraid to fly over them, they are so well boycotted. That state of things is brought about not by resolution, but by the men and women banding themselves together and letting it be clearly seen that whoever touches the ranches is the enemy of the people.Does the right hon. Gentleman think that ten ranches being given up and abandoned and left to run derelict is a thing that will lead to prosperity in the economic conditions of Ireland? That is the meaning of cattle-driving, and that is the class of case that has leapt up to 381 during the last six months. I shall deal with cattle-driving in detail in a moment, but at this point I will just say that I think a more 818 disastrous speech than the one which the right hon. Gentleman made last night has seldom been delivered in this House by any responsible statesman. I should have thought that by this time the right hon. Gentleman would have learnt that it is a very dangerous thing in Ireland to be the apologist of crime. I have dealt with the record and statistics. But that does not represent the whole of the case as regards agrarian disturbance in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman knows very well that there are a vast number of cases that are not and cannot be returned in statistics. No record is kept of the daily surrenders that are made by men of the rights of their property at the behest of the National League. No record is kept of the fines that are paid in hard cash daily and hourly, as we know, to the League for the purpose of buying the right to carry on business and to carry out the ordinary duties of citizens of the United Kingdom. The Solicitor-General told us this evening—and if I may say so his speech, as his speeches always are, was delivered in the most charming way—that 532 persons had been prosecuted by the Government in relation to agrarian outrages during the last twelve months. I do not know whether he meant in relation to cattle-driving alone, but it does not matter. Why, is not the very fact that this Government, with all its indulgence, have felt compelled to prosecute 532 of these persons an eloquent declaration as regards the state and condition of Ireland? How many of these 532 have been punished? I know very well that the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General and his colleagues would never have set these prosecutions on foot without knowing there was a clear case to be brought before the tribunal. How many of the 532 persons have been punished? Not a dozen. And if the Law Officers of the Crown thought it right to prosecute 532 persons and not a dozen have been punished, what about the second part of our Resolution as to the absolute failure, and the breakdown and the paralysis of the law in Ireland? With these statistics of crime before him as to the paralysis of the law, all the right hon. Gentleman, when he is asked what he will do, says is—" I shall do nothing." Why has the law failed in Ireland, even 819 the ordinary law? The Solicitor-General gave us a very interesting account as to his opinions as to why the law has failed in Ireland, viz., that hon. Members on this side of the House have gone about saying that the Government are in league with the cattle-drivers. That is hardly worthy of the Solicitor-General. He was at the trials and knew or ought to have known a good deal more about it. I will tell you how it failed. In the first place it failed before the magistrates because ex-officio magistrates came and packed the bench and out-voted the resident magistrates. What is my authority for that? The statement which the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary made in excusing himself at Southampton. I should like to ask him this one question; What are these corrupt magistrates doing now? Are they still on the bench? The right hon. Gentleman says he has done everything possible under the ordinary law to bring about a better state of affairs in Ireland. We know that at the present moment these very magistrates are there doing from day to day exactly what they were doing three months ago. There was one case in which the magistrates on the bench referred to the statement of a noble Lord, Lord Denman, in the other House, in which he said that the Government did not look upon it as a serious crime. What was the statement of the magistrate who adjudicated?When the Government do not look upon this—I quote the words of Lord Denman—as a serious crime, are we magistrates, living in the midst of these people, to look upon it as a serous crime?That is why cases have broken down before juries. I think the Solicitor-General really gives us a great deal too much credit when he tells us that the one thing that was influencing the minds and the wishes of the juries of Dublin was what hon. Members on this side of the House had been saying. No, that was not the defence. I have read the accounts of these cases, and I say that what was put forward by the counsel for the defendants was, first, the statement of Lord Denman that the Government did not look upon this as a serious matter. There "was a graver matter, and it was—If the Government are in earnest and serious about these matters why have they not prosecuted the ringleaders? Are we jurors of 820 Dublin to be asked at the bidding of the Government, who have not got the courage themselves seriously to prosecute those who are giving rise to all this lawlessness in Ireland, to prosecute these mere dupes and corner-boys and in some way or oilier redeem the courage of the Government?I tell the Solicitor-General this—and I speak as an ex-law officer for Ireland and also for England: If you adopted any such course in this country, aye, in this city, and brought up the dupes and refused to prosecute the real criminal and ringleader, there is not a jury in the City of London or in England who would give you a conviction. I say more: There is not one who ought to give a conviction in such a case.
§ SIR E. CARSON
But is it not well that "the jury should be used to get at the real expression of the opinion of the people and what they think of the Executive who are in power for the time being"? I am sorry I must pass on very quickly, for I must only occupy one or two moments more in dealing with this question. The right hon. Gentleman has given us a reason for allowing this state of things to go on. He has told us that after all you must look at the origin of the crime and at the hopes held out to these people. I wish I had plenty of time to argue that question with him. All I can say is, no more dangerous proposition can be laid down by this House than that pending the redress of grievances you are to allow people any latitude in the commission of crime. I dissent entirely from the suggestion that any policy coming from this side of the House gave rise or ought to have given rise to any hopes that those great ranches were to be broken up and that the grazing industry was to be destroyed in Ireland. What is likely to be the effect in Ireland and upon those who are asked to pay the taxes in England for the purpose of raising this money if this kind of crime is to be allowed to go on? Some of these cases were those of men who had bought their land under the Purchase Acts, and they were trying to 821 earn the instalments to pay into the British Exchequer. They have been driven out by these cattle-drivers for whom you now make an apology because it suits you on the present occasion. I do not know how far this is to be allowed to go on, but, if you are going to say, because there is not enough land to go round in Ireland, therefore you are going to excuse and palliate deeds of this kind, I say you are preaching Socialism pure and simple, and Socialism of a more advanced type, I venture to think, than anything that has been put forward by hon. Members inside or outside this House who are said to have raised the red flag. The truth of the matter is that the Government are in an impossible position, and I will tell them why. The right hon. Gentleman said last night that he was a Home Ruler. We all know it, and he has a perfect right to be a Home Ruler. Yes, every man on the Government Bench is a Home Ruler. They are Home Rulers, but they are Home Rulers without the courage to put their policy before the country. They are Home Rulers and would tell you "our hearts' belief is that all this difficulty arises because the Irish people have not got a Parliament of their own." Holding these opinions they dare not try to enforce them, and at once any person can see the weakness of the situation; because if men who believe that is the only remedy go on attempting to govern Ireland as still part of the United Kingdom they are at the same time trying to run Home Rule and Unionism Tinder a united Parliament; and, believe me, no Government has ever been able to pursue a policy of that kind without coming absolutely to grief. I must apologise to my right hon. friend for not leaving him longer time to speak, but I have had to deal with a good deal of matter. I will conclude by reading a statement which was made in a somewhat similar debate which seems to me even now to fit the situation. It is a quotation from the hon. Gentleman who sits opposite and whose opinions are always so valuable because they are always so variable, and they are always delivered in such moderate language as to commend themselves even to the 822 most moderate men in the House. Here is what he said—It is a definite matter of urgent importance. He said that now nobody could challenge that assertion and he maintained this that before they disestablished churches, before they wrecked the empire, before they made a laughing stock of the English Constitution: aye, even before they closed public houses or attempted to close them, which they were not going to do, he said, even before that they were bound to see that every poor man and woman in County Clare had the protection of the law to which he or she was entitled.I am quite satisfied that that should be my last word.
§ THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL FOR IRELAND (Mr. CHERRY,) Liverpool, Exchange
The speech which we have just listened to from the right hon. Gentleman is the greatest example in my experience of what exaggerated and inflamed rhetoric may do and can do without any solid basis of fact and without a single practical suggestion as to what the Government should do under the circumstances. The right hon. Gentleman enlarged in terrific terms upon the terrible evils of boycotting, and in proof of his assertion he mentioned three cases. But he did not mention the fact, which he knows and which has been referred to again and again in these debates, that the amount of boycotting in Ireland now in 1908 or at the end of 1907 is a great deal less than it was in 1902 when his Government was in power. If the House will allow me, I will again mention the figures. In 1902 there were returns of forty-one cases of serious boycotting in Ireland. In the year 1907 there were nine. The right hon. Gentleman asked what are the Government doing—are they abandoning their functions of preserving law and order. I want to know what was the Government of 1902 doing. Were not they doing exactly the same as we are doing, giving every protection we can to boycotted persons, bringing to justice any person who commits an offence against the law, and striving to maintain the law and to maintain the peace of every individual in the country?
§ SIR E. CARSON
If the right hon. Gentleman asks me the question, I am entitled to say that in 1902 the Government did proclaim certain countries under the Crimes Act.
I think if the right hon. Gentleman will look at the statistics and at the Criminal Returns he will find that there were no prosecutions for boycotting in Ireland in 1902.
§ MR. WYNDHAM (Dover)
I am sure the right hon. Gentleman would not purposely mislead the House. I only wish to inform him that he is in error on that point, because in that state of affairs it was the duty of the Government to proceed with prosecutions under the Crimes Act, and they fulfilled that duty.
I do not understand the interruption of the right hon. Gentleman. I asked whether there were any prosecutions for boycotting under the Crimes Act in 1902. I believe there were not. I may be in error but as far as my recollection of the figures goes there were none. So much for boycotting. Time is short and I wish to deal with more serious matters than boycotting, because I think even the right hon. Gentleman would admit, though he takes such a serious view of boycotting, that there are other and more serious crimes, and I think I am entitled to ask the attention of the House to the condition of Ireland in the year 1907 as regards crime generally and not as regards one particular form of crime alone. The right hon. Gentleman apparently disregards the figures, but the House will be astonished to hear that if you take any form of serious crime and go down through the list you will find, with one exception which I will point out in a few minutes, not only that there was less crime in Ireland in 1907 than in any year since 1902, but that it was very little more than half the amount of the average of the five years preceding. These are remarkable facts. Now I will take first the most serious crime known to the law—murder—and bear in mind, I am talking of crime generally now and not confining myself to one particular class of crime. In 1902 according to the Returns, there were thirty-nine cases of murder in Ireland. That is not a very large number. I do not say that it is. As compared with England I daresay it is comparatively small. In the year 1905, which is a year we are told of profound peace under a Unionist administration, there were thirty-six cases. In the year 1906 when the present Government came into power and when, of course, all the disorder at once broke 824 out again, there were nineteen cases And how many cases does the House suppose there were of murder in 1907? Exactly seven, about one fifth of the number in 1902. The average number of cases for the five years preceding 1907 was thirty-nine. The number in 1907 was seven. And yet we are told that Ireland is seething with crime and disorder. Take, next, attempts to murder. They fell from eight in 1902 to three in 1907. Assaults of all kinds, which are serious things—woundings, felonious assaults and common assaults—the average number for the five years preceding 1907 was 315, and the number in 1907 was 177, very little more than half the number. If you go down the list—I regret to say I have not time to do so now—but if you take offences against-property you find exactly the same result. In some classes of crime, there has been an increase in 1907 as compared with 1906, as in the case of riots and affrays which have risen from eight to eleven. If you go back to 1905, the year when Ireland was a paradise of peace according to hon. Gentlemen opposite, you will find that there were fourteen riots and affrays as compared with eleven. I cannot understand why agrarian crime should be worse than any other form of crime. Is it because property in land is more sacred? Is the life of the landlord more sacred than the life of the poor wife who has been murdered by her husband? Hon. Gentlemen opposite always speak as if the only class in the community that is worthy of protection is their own class. As regards both person and property I think all classes ought to be equally protected. But I am willing to take the test that hon. Gentlemen are so anxious for. They want to know about agrarian crime, and they are technically right because the Amendment deals only with agrarian crime, that being as I said, the only matter in their opinion worthy of consideration. Now take agrarian crime—agrarian murders. I have had prepared for me in quinquennial periods the number of agrarian outrages in Ireland, and I will give the House the result very shortly, coming from 1880 down to the present time. The House has been told that there were last year 372 agrarian outrages—a terrible total!—which called for the immediate attention of Parliament, and that 825 there was an increase over the preceding year, an increase, I agree, of 138. Does the House realise what the number of agrarian outrages in 1881 was? Hon. Members laugh I do not know why. The number was 4,439—more than ten times the number of last year—and yet we are told by the Member for South Derry and in another place by the Marquess of Londonderry that Ireland was never in such a state of disturbance as at present. The number has come down from 4,439 to 372. When you take the more serious cases you find the result is still more startling. Take the case of agrarian murder. The average number of agrarian murders in the five years 1881–85 was ten. In 1886–90, when the Crimes Act was in force,; it was 4.4. During the years 1906 and, 1907 I am happy to say there was not one single agrarian murder in Ireland; and yet the House has been told Ireland is seething in crime and disorder. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh, oh."] If hon. Members were speaking in regard to any other country in Europe being in disorder they would readily quote the number of murders. Have hon. Members for Ireland compared the number of murders in such places as Russia, Macedonia, or any one of the South American Republics? Have they reflected what is the number of murders in England? Take, next, assaults endangering life. The average number for the first period of five years I have mentioned was thirteen, for the second period eight, and last year three. Taking incendiary fires, they have fallen from 192 in the first period to thirty-eight in 1907. In ordinary crime, the only increase has been in intimidation. These cases were mostly sending threatening letters, and the persons who received them treated them with contempt. When the more serious crimes have been got rid of, as they have been got rid of, threatening letters become matters which we can disregard altogether. They are only serious when they lead to crime. The policy of the Government has been clear; it is to enforce the ordinary law by the ordinary means, and to give everybody a fair trial. We believe that by abolishing jury-packing and not resorting to exceptional laws we shall gain what we cannot otherwise gain—we shall get the people on the side of law instead of against it. By this means we shall teach 826 the people that the criminal law is not the enemy of the common people but their friend, that its object is to protect and not to oppress them. Our policy will tend to make the people sympathise with the law instead of obstructing it and trying in every way to prevent its operation. Jury-packing has been mentioned. In one of the trials before the Courts in Dublin, after there had been two or three disagreements, an official connected with the Castle came to me and said he had made a list of the jury panel and that there were thirtynine who were thoroughly reliable. If I had exercised my power as Attorney-General of standing aside all the jurors except those thirty-nine, I could have made sure of a conviction in the case. I do not wish to name the official who gave that information. [OPPOSITION cries of "Name."] I shall not give the name. My reply was that I would far rather have a hundred acquittals than a conviction obtained by such means; I would rather fail to convict in a hundred cases than pollute the very fountain of justice by packing the jury. I believe that by administering the ordinary law fairly and impartially we shall do more for the peace and good government of Ireland than by resorting to the Crimes Act or any of the exceptional methods adopted by our predecessors to obtain convictions. The object of the Government has been not so much to punish cattle-drivers as to stop cattle-driving, and in that we have succeeded, because the number of cases in November last was 108, in December eighty-one, and in January this year the total has fallen to thirty-four. I think, therefore, that I am entitled to claim that the decrease of cattle-driving is in large measure due to the policy of the Government. I firmly believe that if we had adopted the opposite policy; if we had filled the gaols of Ireland with cattle-drivers, we should have increased cattle-driving and produced other and worse crimes as well. My speech to the jury at Wicklow has been twisted and turned outside this House as if I had said that Ireland was last year in a state of anarchy. I never said anything of the kind. I always thought that cattle-driving was a very dangerous and very foolish process, and I never condoned it. But, anxious as I was to stop it, I was not prepared to go outside the ordinary law, and in following that course the Government 827 have acted best in the interests of peace. Some cases of boycotting have been referred to. Now, I happen to know well the McCann case which has been mentioned, and I have no hesitation in saying that it has been grossly exaggerated. Mr. McCann carries on the business of a grazier and he has a large shop. His farm is fully stocked with cattle and his cattle are protected. His shop is open and he is doing a large trade, and all this talk about terrible persecution is exaggerated rhetoric. I know there are certain evils in Ireland as in England, and in every other country in the world, but Ireland is no worse than other countries, and any Irishman who says it
§ is so is not a good Irishman. Ireland has been in subjection to the rule of another country for centuries, and the effect of that has been to turn the people against the law. The object of the Government is to alter that feeling, to make Irishmen friendly to the law, instead of being opposed to it, and if we succeed in doing that we shall accomplish more for the peace and prosperity of Ireland than we could do by any amount of coercion.
§ Question put.
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 115; Noes, 414. (Division List No. 3.)831
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Gardner, Ernest||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Percy, Earl|
|Aubrey,-Fletcher Rt. Hn. Sir H.||Gordon, J.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Balcarres, Lord||Guinness, Walter Edward||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Haddock, George B.||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Barrie, H.T. (Londonderry, N.)||Hamilton, Marquess of||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Beach, Hn. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Roberts, S.(Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rothschild, Hon. Lionel Walter|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Rutherford, John (Lancashire)|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Heaton, John Henniker||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Helmsley, Viscount||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hill, Lord Arthur (West Down)||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hill, Sir Clement (Shrewsbury)||Sassoon, Sir Edward Albert|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Hills, J. W.||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Houston, Robert Paterson||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Cave, George||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Smith, Abel H.(Hertford, East)|
|Cavendish, Rt. Hn. Victor C. W.||Kenyon-Slaney, Rt. Hn. Col. W.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Keswick, William||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Kimber, Sir Henry||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E)||King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull)||Starkey, John R.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. J. A (Worc.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staff'sh.|
|Clark, George Smith (Belfast, N||Lee, Arthur H (Hants., Fareham||Stone, Sir Benjamin|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt. - Col. A. R||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham||Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham||Talbot, Rt. Hn,. J. G (Oxf'd Univ.|
|Collings, Rt. Hn. J (Birmingh'm||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Vincent, Col. Sir C. E. Howard|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Courthope, G. Loyd||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||M'Arthur, Charles||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E. R.)|
|Cross, Alexander||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Winterton, Earl|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Doughty, Sir George||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan||Muntz, Sir Philip A.||Younger, George|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield|
|Fardell, Sir T. George||Nield, Herbert||TELLERS POP. THE AYES.—Vis count Valentia and Mr. Forster.|
|Fell, Arthur||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Abraham, William (Cork, N. E.)||Alden, Percy||Ashton, Thomas Gair|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Allen, A. Acland (Christehurch)||Asquith, Rt. Hn. Herbert Henry|
|Adkins, W. Ryland D.||Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Astbury, John Meir|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Ambrose, Robert||Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.||Delany, William||Hemmerde, Edward George|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Devlin, Joseph||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Barker, John||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset)||Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)||Henry, Charles S.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Dickinson, W. H.(St. Pancras, N||Herbert, T. Arnold (Wycombe)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Higham, John Sharp|
|Barnes, G. N.||Dillon, John||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Dobson, Thomas W.||Hodge, John|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone. N.||Donelan, Captain A.||Hogan, Michaell|
|Beale, W. P.||Duckworth, James||Holden, E. Hopkinson|
|Beauchamp, E.||Duffy, William J.||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Beaumont, Hon. Hubert||Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness||Hope, John Deans (Fife, West)|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Hope, W. Bateman (Somerset, N|
|Bell, Richard||Dunne, Major E. Martin (Walsall||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Edwards, Clement (Denbigh)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonp'rt||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Hudson, Walter|
|Benn, W.(T'w'r Hamlets, S Geo.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Hutton, Alfred Eddison|
|Bennett, E. N.||Elibank, Master of||Hyde, Clarendon|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Ellis, Rt. Hon. John Edward||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H (Essex, Romf'rd||Erskine, David C.||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Isaacs, Rufus Daniel|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Essex, R. W.||Jackson, R. S.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Boland, John||Everett, R. Lacey||Jardine, Sir J.|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Farrell, James Patrick||Jenkins, J.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Fenwick, Charles||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Brace, William||Ferens, T. R.||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea|
|Bramsdon, T. A.||Ffrench, Peter||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Branch, James||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire|
|Brigg, John||Findlay, Alexander||Jordan, Jeremiah|
|Bright, J. A.||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Jowett, F. W.|
|Brodie, H. C.||Fowler, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry||Joyce, Michael|
|Brunner, J. F. L.(Lancs., Leigh)||Fuller, John Michael F.||Kearley, Hudson E.|
|Brunner, Rt. Hn Sir J. T (Cheshire||Fullerton, Hugh||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Furness, Sir Christopher||Kettle, Thomas Michael|
|Buchanan, Thomas Ryburn||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Kilbride, Denis|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Gill, A. H.||Kincaid-Smith, Captain|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Gladstone, Rt. Hn. Herbert John||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Glen-Coats, Sir T.(Renfrew, W.||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Glover, Thomas||Lamb, Ernest H. (Rochester)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hn. Sydney Charles||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Lambert, George|
|Byles, William Pollard||Gooch, George Peabody||Lament, Norman|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Grant, Corrie||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)|
|Causton, Rt. Hn Richard Knight||Grayson, Albert Victor||Lea, Hugh Cecil (St. Pancras, E.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)||Leese, Sir Joseph F.(Accrington|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Cheetham, John Frederick||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Griffith, Ellis J.||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Grove, Archibald||Levy, Sir Maurice|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Clough, William||Gulland, John W.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Clynes, J. R.||Gurdon, Rt. Hn Sir W. Brampton||Lough, Thomas|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Lupton, Arnold|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B.||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J (S. Pancras, W||Hall, Frederick||Lyell, Charles Henry|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Halpin, J.||Lynch, H. B.|
|Cooper, G. J.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Corbett, CH (Sussex, E Grinst'd||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk B'ghs|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Harms worth, Cecil B. (Worc'rh||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Cowan, W. H.||Harmsworth, R. L.(Caithn'ss-s)||Maclean, Donald|
|Cox, Harold||Harrington, Timothy||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Cremer, Sir William Randal||Hart-Davies, T.||MaiNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Crombie, John William||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Crooks, William||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N. E.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Harwood, George||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.|
|Crossley, William J.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||M'Callum, John M.|
|Cullinan, J.||Haworth, Arthur A.||M'Crae, George|
|Curran, Peter Francis||Hayden, John Patrick||M'Kean, John|
|Dalmeny, Lord||Hazel, Dr. A. E.||M'Killop, W.|
|Dalziel, James Henry||Hazleton, Richard||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Davies, M. Vaughan-(Cardigan||Healy, Timothy Michael||M'Micking, Major G.|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Hedges, A. Paget||Maddison, Frederick|
|Davies, W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Helme, Norval Watson||Mallet, Charles E.|
|Manfield, Harry (Northants)||Pirie, Duncan V.||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Mansfield, H. Rendall (Lincoln||Pollard, Dr.||Summerbell, T.|
|Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Marnham, F. J.||Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E.)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Mason, A. E. W. (Coventry)||Priestley, W. E. B. (Bradford. E.)||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury|
|Massie, J.||Pullar, Sir Robert||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Radford, G. H.||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Meagher, Michael||Rainy, A. Rolland||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Meehan, Patrick A.||Raphael, Herbert H.||Thomasson, Franklin|
|Menzies, Walter||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarboro'||Thorne, William|
|Mond, A.||Reddy, M.||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Montagu, E. S.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Toulmin, George|
|Montgomery, H. G.||Redmond, William (Clare)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Mooney, J. J.||Rees, J. D.||Verney, F. W.|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Rendall, Althelstan||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Richards, Thomas (W. Monm'th)||Vivian, Henry|
|Morley, Rt. Hon. John||Richards, T. F. (Wolverh'mpt'n||Wadsworth, J.|
|Morrell, Philip||Richardson, A.||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Morse, L. L.||Rickett, Sir J. Compton||Walker, H. Do R. (Leicester)|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Walsh, Stephen|
|Muldoon, John||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Murnaghan, George||Robertson, Rt. Hn. E. (Dundee)||Walton, Joseph|
|Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent|
|Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Robinson, S.||Ward, W. Dudley (Sauthampton|
|Myer, Horatio||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Wardle, George J.|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Roche, Augustine (Cork)||Waring, Walter|
|Napier, T. B.||Roche, John (Galway, East)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wason, Rt. Hn. E. (Clackmannan|
|Newnes, Sir George (Swansea)||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Nicholls, George||Rose, Charles Day||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Nicholson, Charles N. Doncast'r||Rowlands, J.||Watt, Henry A.|
|Nolan, Joseph||Runciman, Walter||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Russell, T. W.||Whitbread, Howard|
|Nussey, Thomas Willans||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Nuttall, Harry||Samuel, Herbert L. (Cleveland)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|O' Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Scarisbrick, T. T. L.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|O'Brien, William (Cork)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||Whitehead, Rowland|
|O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Scott, A. H.(Ashton-under Lyne||Whittaker, Sir Thomas Palmer|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Sears, J. E.||Wiles, Thomas|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Seaverns, J. H.||Wilkie, Alexander|
|O' Donnell, C. J. (Walworth)||Shaw, Charles Edw. (Stafford)||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)||Shaw, Rt. Hon. T. (Hawick B.)||Williams, Osmond (Merioneth)|
|O'Donnell, T. (Kerry, W.)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Williamson, A.|
|O'Dowd, John||Sheehy, David||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|O'Grady, J.||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Silcock, Thomas Ball||Wilson, Henry J.(York, W. R.)|
|O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N||Simon, John Allsebrook||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|O'Malley, William||Sinclair, Rt. Hon. John||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Wilson, J. W. (Worcestersh. N.)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Partingdon, Oswald||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Scares, Ernest J.||Winfrey, R-|
|Pearce, Robert (Staffs. Leek)||Stanger, H. Y.||Wood, T., M'Kinnon|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs., N. W.)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye||Stanley, Hn. A. Lyulph (Chesh.)|
|Perks, Robert William||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)||TELLERS FOR ME NOES. Mr. Whiteley and Mr. J. A. Pease.|
|Philipps, Col. Ivor (S'thampton)||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Philipps, J. Wynford (Pembroke||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
§ Main Question again proposed.
§ And, it being after Eleven of the Clock, the debate stood adjourned.832
§ Debate to be resumed To-morrow.
§ Adjourned at twelve minutes after Eleven o'clock.