§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ MR. HAVILAND BURKE (King's County, Tullamore)
said that, in moving the Second Reading his first duty was to disavow any intention of making any political capital against 566 the two historic British Parties in the House. Ireland in the past had suffered from coercion Bills at the hands of Liberal as well as Tory Governments, and as much cruelty and injustice had been done by Liberal Executives as by Tory Executives in the happy days of the past. Therefore, while he frankly admitted that education in Irish affairs might have made much more progress upon one side than upon the other, and while he gave full credit to the present Administration for having refused to put the Crimes Act of 1887 into force, he could not, in political justice, argue that the Irish people suffered much more tyranny under the Crimes Act of 1887 passed by the Tories than they suffered under the Liberal Crimes Act of 1882. There was this serious difference between the two cases. The Crimes Act of 1882, like the Coercion Acts before it, was a temporary Act, but what they were now asking to repeal was a permanent Act which, by a single scratch of the pen at the caprice of a particular man, might set aside the right of trial by jury or even the right of trial by a Judge without a jury, and that could be done in any part of Ireland or in the whole of it. The Act of Parliament which it was the object of this Bill to repeal was remarkable, not only for its extraordinary invasion of public rights, but for the peculiar circumstances under which it was introduced. It would be within the recollection of all hon. Members that in 1885 there suddenly arose an alliance between the Irish Nationalists and the English Tory Party in this House, and it was not an alliance that was dishonourable to either Party. In the year 1885 Mr. Gladstone announced that at a date in the near future it was the intention of the Government to re-enact some of the provisions of the Crimes Act of 1882, and the alliance to which he had referred resulted in the fall of the Liberal Government in June of that year, and a Tory Government was formed which existed until the general election. What was the policy of that Tory Government? It was the policy not only of dropping coercion in Ireland, but of condemning and repudiating it, and when the late Lord Salisbury was attacked by some enthusiasts on the side of law 567 and order who complained of that policy he made the following historic reply in a speech at a meeting of the Union of Conservative Associations on 7th October at Newport—I have seen it stated that the Crimes Act diminished outrages and that it diminished boycotting. It is not true. The Act did not diminish outrages, and I have had a return for September during which the Act was not in existence and the outrages were considerably fewer than in August when the Act was still in existence.At the general election which ensued, and again at the general election of 1886, the cry of the Tory Party was the same, and its motto was: "Equal laws and no coercion." The Tory Party then said: "We cannot, we will not, give Home Rule, because we think it will impair the security of the Empire, and we do not think it would conduce to the welfare of Ireland herself. But everything short of that we will give you. We will give to Irishmen every right that an Englishman enjoys. Equal laws and no coercion." That was the motto, and that was the policy which flared upon the electors from a million hoardings, and was published in a million leaflets, and on that policy vast numbers of electors who would otherwise have voted for Home Rule in 1886 if it had been presented to them as the only alternative for coercion voted against it because they were told that something quite as good, coupled with absolute equal liberty, could be given to every Irish subject of His Majesty. Having won that election, and having defeated Home Rule in the year 1887, the Tory Party turned one of the most marvellous somersaults ever recorded in the history of mankind. "Equal laws and no coercion" vanished into the background, and instead there was introduced what was called the Crimes Act, or what the Nationalists call the Coercion Act, of 1887. He would not now go very far into the provisions of that Act. He was only a new recruit in that campaign compared with some of the old veterans in the fight which took place in the historic years which ensued. Perhaps he might be permitted to dwell upon what he thought was the worst thing that Act did in regard to the law of conspiracy. There was not a lawyer on either side of the House who would not admit that the law 568 of conspiracy was one of the most elastic, and often one of the most dangerous, laws that could be imagined. The law of conspiracy for its administration required great impartiality, great legal knowledge, and a generous and broad sense of what was right and what was wrong. How was the law of conspiracy interpreted under the Crimes Act of 1889? He could not illustrate the point better than by putting it to those hon. Members who particularly represented the cause of labour. The plain meaning of the law of conspiracy was that if it were put into force in any big shipbuilding or coal-mining centre of England a certain district in a labour dispute being proclaimed, the organisation of an ordinary strike would be an absolute impossibility. What would it mean? It would mean that the Labour leaders or Labour representatives in the House who went down to the district proclaimed under the Act to denounce as blacklegs men who took the employment from which their fellow-workers had been driven out, would be liable without doing a single illegal thing to be charged under that Act with conspiracy to induce or to compel some person or persons unknown to do something that they did not wish to do. That was without exaggeration a plain statement of the broad scope and intention of the Crimes Act of 1887. Together with one of his hon. friends and colleagues he was prosecuted not long ago under that Act, and what was the case against them? It was not alleged that violence had been used or that individuals had been denounced. It was not held that their meeting took place in close or dangerous proximity to the residence of any unpopular person, or that there was the least disorder. There was not a blow struck or a stone thrown. What was the summons? The charge was that his colleague and himself had intimidated some person or persons unknown. What form did the intimidation take? It was brought out particularly against them that they had denounced land-grabbing. He had made a statement on that question on the platform, and he afterwards heard that it was those words that secured the conviction of the whole lot of them. The words he used on the platform, which he had used 569 many times before, and since, were that a man who went and took his neighbour's farm from which that neighbour had been evicted, and who entered into possession of the lands that his neighbour had tilled, drained, fenced, improved, and sunk his money in—the man who did such a thing as that in Ireland was a public enemy and a thief. He had repeated the exact words. They might seem strong, but he was not ashamed of them, and he would repeat them again as occasion might require. They had no laws in England to punish a Labour leader, whether a Member of the House or not, who went down to a crowded meeting, where a bitter strike was in progress, and denounced as blacklegs and a disgrace to the working classes the men who took the work hitherto done by the strikers. He would not have it thought for a moment that he condemned Labour leaders who took such action as that in order to protect working men, and who condemned those who tried to break the back of the working men's organisation. On the contrary, he sympathised with them. What he wanted to point out was that the land-grabber in Ireland was on a much lower plane than the blackleg in England. The land-grabber could not claim that he was out of work, with no food for his children, and that he did not see why he should not take a certain wage for which other men did not care to work. The Irish land-grabber did no such thing as that, for he was generally a man with money put by and a prosperous person. A scandalous case occurred in his own constituency, where a man had a farm in an adjacent county, besides a large timber trade, and he had been the curse and bane of the district for years past, because he took an evicted farm. That was why he drew the comparison he had drawn when he said that if the laws were equal in England and Ireland the organisation of a strike, the denunciation of blacklegs, and picketing, would be absolutely impossible in any part of Great Britain. He might quote, as another instance of the application of the law of conspiracy, the famous case in which his hon. friend the Member for Kilkenny City took great interest, and to 570 which reference was often made. He referred to what was known as the case of the three blacksmiths in County Clare. Those three men refused to shoe the horse of a land-grabber, and they were prosecuted. Each of them was prosecuted for entering into a conspiracy with the other two to prevent him from doing what he was legally entitled to do, namely, shoe a grabber's mare, and they got long sentences of hard labour in each case. Then there was the interference with the rights of the Press. There were many cases where editors were sent to hard labour, and their newspaper property ruined, simply for the crime of reporting proclaimed meetings. The cases were so numerous that it would be impossible for him with any consideration to those who wished to speak in the debate to enter into them, and he would leave that part of the case to abler hands. What he wanted to insist on was the character of the tribunal set up under the Crimes Act of 1887. He ventured to say that there was not a lawyer in the House of Commons, no matter to what political party he belonged, who would not admit that the true essence of justice really lay in the tribunal which was to administer it. Their best statutes might be useless in the hands of a narrow-minded administrator, and a statute that might do a good deal of harm might have that harm mitigated if administered by a humane, enlightened, and, above all, an independent man. What were the tribunals established by the Act of 1887? They consisted of resident magistrates with power of appeal, subject to a certain condition that the application should be made to a County Court Judge. As regarded the right of appeal, there was never a more flagrant breach of faith against the House than was committed by the Tory Government of 1887 when it passed that detestable Act into law. The Prime Minister of the day promised that there should be a right of appeal in every case under the Act of 1887, but what happened? In the wording of the Act the right of appeal applied only in cases where the sentence passed by the two resident magistrates exceeded one month. The Irish police were very ingenious in multiplying charges just 571 as they were ingenious in multiplying outrages. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh, oh."] He would remind his interrupters that there was a Return, which was public property, where three agrarian offences were manufactured out of the fact that two men had assaulted a third, and the third man had hit each of the other two. That was set down as three offences, and cases of that kind were to be counted, not by the dozen or by the score, but by the hundred. In the same way the appeal clause of the Crimes Act of 1887 was brought to nought. The resident magistrates refused in scores of cases to increase any of the sentences by a single day so as to give the right of appeal. The result was that men got three, and in some cases even more, sentences of a month's imprisonment to run concurrently, making the total imprisonment anything up to six months with or without hard labour. He wished to say a word as to the powers exercised by the resident magistrates under the Act. A Return was issued in August last year relative to the resident magistrates in Ireland. It showed that the total number was sixty-six, of whom no less than twenty-seven were ex-constabulary officers. These men did not know the law, and they were naturally incapable of administering justice when political or agrarian issues were at stake. They were drawn chiefly from the constabulary, the military, and the landowning class, and when they were called upon to adjudicate in a political or agrarian case, there could be nothing more like empanelling a jury of wolves to try a sheep than to appoint them to judge in such a case. It should be remembered that the resident magistrates did not hold office for life. They had not the independence which was enjoyed by a police magistrate in the least important police court in Great Britain. They were appointed by nomination, they could be promoted, dismissed, or removed at the will and pleasure of the Lord-Lieutenant. The most wonderful thing of all was that under an Irish law passed in 1840 certain Irish boroughs had the power of appeal to the Lord-Lieutenant to appoint a barrister of six years standing as the stipendiary magistrate for the borough, the salary coming out of the rates. That Act was practically obsolete, and the resident magistrate in 572 Ireland was the only paid magistrate in the three kingdoms, and so far as he knew in the whole civilised world, in whose case no legal qualification or experience whatever was requisite for his appointment. Under the Criminal Law and Procedure Act it was provided that one of the two resident magistrates comprising the Court must be a person of the "sufficiency of whose legal knowledge the Lord Lieutenant has expressed himself satisfied." There were thirty-nine resident magistrates scheduled in the Return issued last year from amongst whom anyone could be appointed as one of the two magistrates to act in any case that arose under the Coercion Act. Of those thirty-nine specially scheduled resident magistrates of the sufficiency resident magistrates of the sufficiency of whose legal knowledge the Lord-Lieutenant had expressed himself satisfied fifteen were ex-constabulary men, six were practising barristers, three were barristers not in practice, one was a Cambridge M.A., one was an Indian civil servant, and others were ex-Militia and ex-Army officers. He contended that the ordinary powers of the law and of the Executive in Ireland were amply sufficient without the Criminal Law and Procedure Act, which was a disgrace to the statute book in which it was inserted. The power of the Executive in Ireland was enormous and no Englishman accustomed to his own atmosphere, so to speak, could realise what could be done, and was constantly being done, under the ordinary law without the aid of any exceptional law whatever. When no Coercion Act was in force he had seen three of his colleagues thrown off the platforms of meetings in their own constituencies. The meetings had been proclaimed at the caprice of the local resident magistrates. He had known a case where hundreds of armed men had been called into a little village where there was no agrarian trouble, but where a meeting in the south of Ireland in a district which was not proclaimed under the Crimes Act, but where there were 400 extra police, every man armed with rifle and bayonet. These men were massed in the village to prevent the meeting being held. He remembered well that when he got up in the morning the county inspector, by way of overawing the people, was putting the 573 men through bayonet exercise on the village green. The meeting was ultimately held in spite of all that was done To his mind the powers possessed by the Irish Executive were disgraceful, and they had been disgracefully exercised. It was an insult and an outrage that a Member of Parliament who chose to address his constituents should be committed to the tender care of a couple of resident magistrates who from professional interest and natural instinct must be against him. The denial of the right of appeal where sentences did not exceed on month's imprisonment struck at the very root of justice. Would any hon. Member get up and say that it was a just state of affairs that, while any notoriously bad character had the right of appeal under English law against the sentence inflicted upon him in any London police court, a public man in Ireland, whether a local man or a Member of Parliament should, without the right of appeal, suffer cumulative sentences for periods of from three to six months with or without hard labour? There was one observation which he desired to address particularly to the Chief Secretary. They all knew that the appointment of resident magistrates went very much one way, no matter what Government might happen to be in power, as regarded the class from which they were drawn. The right hon. Gentleman could do one thing which did not require an Act of Parliament at all; he could use his influence in the Executive to ensure that the resident magistrates scheduled as men who might be appointed to constitute half of the Court before which Coercion Act prisoners were to be tried should at least be men of some legal knowledge and experience, and not, as they were now, largely ex-constabulary men. He could not conceive of any appointment to the office of resident magistrate as being more iniquitous than the appointment of an ex-district inspector or an ex-county inspector of constabulary. These men had been thrown at one time or another into collision with the people. Some of them might to good men and anxious to be fair, but what would be thought in this country of appointing and inspector of police to be a stipendiary magistrate in London? There would be an outcry against such an appointment. He earnestly entreated the House to give the Bill a Second Reading, and to re- 574 peal an Act which he regarded as a gross and wicked breach of faith towards the electors, and as one of the worst stains ever put on justice in the annals of the country—an Act which constituted such a law, and such a tribunal, as existed nowhere in Great Britain, in the British Colonies, and had no parallel, he believed, in any civilised country in the world.
MR. C. MACVEIGH (Donegal, E.)
seconded the Motion.
§ Motion made, and question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."
§ *MR. LONSDALE (Armagh, Mid.)
, in moving the rejection of the Bill, said that when the House was asked to consent to the repeal of a measure which had stood upon the Statute-book for twenty years, it should first of all get a clear idea of the Act which it was asked to revoke, and it should, in the next place, demand the clearest evidence that its removal was desirable in the public interest. He wondered how many hon. Members had taken the trouble to make themselves acquainted with the actual provisions of the Criminal Law and Procedure Act, which they were now asked to repeal. There were, he knew, many hon. Members, below the gangway, who would be able to pass an examination in the details of the Act, because from time to time they had been brought into conflict with it, and he supposed they would not deny that they had come off second best from the encounter. They learned their lesson; but they had found the law a hard schoolmaster, and they had never ceased to agitate for the removal of that Act from the Statute-book But why did hon. Members opposite share the views of the Nationalist Party that that measure should be repealed? Had they any more solid grounds for their sympathy with that proposal than an ill-founded belief in the injustice of the Act? The Chief Secretary—who might be assumed to have some knowledge of the provisions of the Crimes Act—described it last year, in this House, as "a code of tyrannical laws." Personally he was quite unable to understand how 575 any unprejudiced person could arrive at such a conclusion. He thought the House would do well to examine, in an impartial spirit, the Act as it stood, and judge for themselves whether it deserved the harsh description applied to it by the Chief Secretary. The purpose of this measure, as set forth in the preamble, was—To make better provision for the prevention and punishment of Crime in Ireland.No one, he ventured to think, would say that the object was an unworthy one. They must all admit that in the interests of society and civilisation crime should be prevented, and the punishment of the criminal was simply a means of deterring from the commission of crime. But it would be observed that the preamble presupposed that at the time the Act was passed better means for the prevention and punishment of crime in Ireland were needed. In other words, the ordinary law had ceased to operate; and, therefore, special machinery was necessary to deal with the situation which had arisen. Now, he did not see how it was possible for anyone who had personal recollection of the state of Ireland in 1886 or 1887, or who had read the history of that period, to deny that a situation had arisen which could not be adequately dealt with by the ordinary law. To his mind the fact was entirely beyond dispute that at the period when the Act was passed the ordinary law was not enforced over a large part of Ireland, and that, in fact, the law of the land was entirely superseded by the law of the National League. The two chief causes which at that time rendered the Courts of Law in Ireland inoperative were: (1) The difficulty of getting evidence; and (2) The difficulty of getting verdicts according to the evidence. In other words, witnesses were terrorised, and juries were afraid to convict. The Act, therefore, borrowed from the ordinary law of Scotland—[An HON. MEMBER on the IRISH Benches: Poor Scotland!]—a method by which magistrates could examine witnesses upon oath, even in cases where no person was charged before them with the committal of a crime.
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL (Donegal, S.)
said he would not like the hon. Member 576 to make a statement, even unintentionally, which was incorrect in fact. The late Lord Advocate for Scotland, Mr. J. B. Balfour, afterwards Lord Justice General of Scotland, in this House and from the Bench opposite stated that no such law prevailed in Scotland; and that to say so was to state what was absolutely untrue.
§ *MR. LONSDALE
said that the hon. and learned Gentleman would have an opportunity of explaining his view of the law of Scotland. He could assure the hon. and learned Gentleman that he had been reading the facts very carefully, and had drawn his information from them. The hon. Member might have stated the case so far as he knew it, but in the absence of strong evidence to the contrary, he maintained that this law was part of the ordinary law of Scotland. Under that section the magistrates had power to summon and compel to appear before him all persons whom he might have good reason to believe could give evidence as to the facts of a crime, and compel them to state on oath what they knew. Was there anything tyrannical in that provision? He submitted that the tyranny lay, not in that section of the Act, but in the condition of affairs which made it necessary. What was needed, then, was a strong weapon to enable the State to defeat the tyranny of the organised terrorism, which prevented men from obeying their natural instincts. Section 2 of the Act provided that two magistrates should have summary jurisdiction in dealing with certain classes of indictable offences which lay at the root of all disorder in Ireland, including criminal conspiracy, boycotting, rioting, assaults on officers of the law, taking forcible and unlawful possession of houses or lands, and inciting to those offences. The reason for that provision was the wholesale refusal of juries, under the system of organised intimidation which prevailed, to convict persons charged with those offences, even in the face of the clearest evidence of guilt. Persons brought before that Court of Summary Jurisdiction were ensured a fair trial and they had the right of appeal to quarter sessions. That provision was also borrowed from the ordinary law of Scotland, but it was 577 made more favourable to the accused person, because in Scotland summary cases were tried by the sheriff or the sheriff-substitute sitting alone, without any right of appeal upon the merits of the case. He had never heard that the people of Scotland had complained of that law as tyrannical. It existed to-day and had done so for many years. Sections 3 and 4, authorised the Attorney-General, in cases in which persons were charged with crimes committed in a proclaimed district, to have a special jury empanelled; and also to have the trial of prisoners held in another county. He asked where was the tyranny in that provision? Special juries were not unknown to the ordinary law in this country. He might remind the House that, quite apart from the Crimes Act, the Attorney-General for Ireland so recently as January last had to resort to special juries for the trial of cattle-drivers, after he had discovered, by painful and degrading experience, that the ordinary juries could not be relied upon to do their duty. All that those sections did was to strengthen the arm of the law, to enable it to deal with an exceptional situation. The sixth section of the Act empowered the Lord-Lieutenant to declare any organisation in Ireland, formed for the commission of crime, aiding, encouraging, promoting, or inciting to crime, violence or intimidation, or interfering with the administration of the law, to be a dangerous association, whereupon all meetings of such an organisation were liable to be dealt with as unlawful assemblies. Well, that was the Act the House was asked to repeal. He would ask hon. Members to observe, in the next place, that the demand for repeal came, not from the people of Ireland as a whole, but simply from the Nationalist body. The Unionist and Loyalist section of the community did not join in the request. On the contrary, they were absolutely united in the opinion that the Act should be retained on the Statute-book. They had lived under the Act for twenty years. They had not groaned under the tyranny of it. They regarded it as a safeguard of their rights and liberties, and in their view the Executive ought to be retained in possession of the special powers conferred 578 by the Act, for use in case of need. The hon. Member who moved the Second Reading of the Bill referred to the want of necessity to pass it, but he maintained that the efficacy of the powers had been proved on many occasions since 1887. When it was first put into operation by his right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition, it produced an immediate diminution in crime and out-rage, and after two or three years of vigorous administration, it was found to be possible to suspend its operation, because it had succeeded in its purpose. It was a point to be remembered, that the Act was only operative when the Government of the day found it necessary to resort to it. At other times it lay dormant. It remained on the Statute-book as a weapon in reserve, but so long as it was not used, how was anybody injured by its being there? It was not a political weapon, and it had never been used to serve political ends. It was simply an instrument for the purpose of checking lawlessness and restoring order, and that was the sense in which it had always been applied. Why did the Nationalists want to get rid of it? He submitted that hon. Gentlemen below the gangway must advance arguments of a far more substantial kind than they had yet put forward, before Parliament would consent to the revocation of these powers. They dared not avow their real object in bringing forward the present Bill. At the same time they got some hint of their purpose, both in their actions and in their words, and he invited the consideration of the House to the indications which recent movements and announcements had furnished. He did not propose to ask the House to go once more through all the miserable history of disorder and contempt of law which marked the progress of the cattle-driving conspiracy. The facts connected with that movement, a movement which the Chief Secretary in a candid moment characterised as "dishonest," "reprehensible," and "illegal," were fresh in the recollection of the House. They were discussed at great length at an earlier period of the session, and they proved beyond all shadow of doubt that the Nationalist movement in Ireland was still wedded to criminal methods of promoting its disloyal objects. Nobody, he ventured to think, would now dispute 579 the proposition that the ordinary law—as administered by the Chief Secretary and his legal advisers—entirely failed to suppress that illegal agitation, or protect those whose interests and property were attacked by it. Throughout a large part of Ireland the law was openly flouted. In many cases the persons injured were afraid to take proceedings. Owing to the system of intimidation which prevailed, witnesses could not be induced to give evidence to support prosecutions. Magistrates were in many cases openly on the side of the law-breakers and many others were deterred, by fear of the consequences, from doing their duty. Juries refused to convict, even in cases where the guilt of the persons accused was established in the clearest possible manner. The jury system broke down absolutely in the attempt to secure by the ordinary process of law the due punishment of offenders, and the suppression of this illegal conspiracy. Change of venue was tried. Special juries were also appealed to, but the Executive was beaten on all sides, and the paralysis of the law was complete. In November there was a series of abortive trials. In case after case, where the evidence was clear and the facts practically undisputed, the jury disagreed. The proceedings became a pitiable farce. The Judge—it was Mr. Justice Wright—at last asked the Solicitor-General whether there was any use in going on with the rest of the cases. The Solicitor-General replied: "Oh, my lord, we must persevere with them"; where-upon the Judge said: "Very well. It is the most degrading experience that I have had since I have been on the Bench." Judge after Judge called attention to the absolute failure of the ordinary law. At the Munster Assizes on December 3rd, the Lord Chief Justice said—The law was publicly spurned, and he said with the deepest regret that in reference to this offence the Executive authorities responsible for the peace of the country were openly derided by those who break the law—openly flouted and treated as nothing. That was most deplorable and most demoralising to the people.They were told at the beginning of the year that all this lawlessness was to cease. A ukase was to go forth from the political headquarters that the unlawful agitation was to be damped down, and disorder was to cease. The cattle-drivers were actually told by their leaders to put 580 their hazel rods up the chimney for the time being, but to hold them in reserve. These order were given in pursuance of the policy which was known as "giving the Chief Secretary a chance"! The right hon. Gentleman had promised a University Bill, and a Land Bill, and it was recognised at headquarters that the spectacle of Ireland seething with disorder was not calculated to favour the passage of those legislative projects. But what sort of a chance had the Chief Secretary had? Had cattle - driving ceased? The answer to that question was furnished by some figures given to him by the Chief Secretary a few days ago. The right hon. Gentleman informed him that in January there were thirty-five cases reported; in February there were thirty-one cases; in March, fifty-seven; and in April, forty-seven. There they had 170 cases already this year, and the total number of cases for last year was 381. Had agrarian outrages generally shown any tendency to diminish? He would ask the House to bear with him for a few moments while he read to them a few extracts from the address of the Lord Chief Justice to the grand jury at Ennis on 3rd March, this year—He regretted to say that the returns which had been presented to him by the constabulary authorities presented a rather melancholy aspect. He found that since the winter assizes there were thirty-one agrarian offences, and not a single individual had been made responsible for any of them. There were three aggravated cases of attempted murder. There had been a very considerable increase under the head of intimidation—the sending of threatening letters and notices, and the firing into houses. In 1906 taken as a whole there were sixty-nine outrages recorded; in 1907 there were 129 outrages recorded, an increase of sixty. He found that police protection in this country stood as follows: There were four men under constant police protection, and fifty-six under protection by patrol. Constant protection meant that the police resided in the house of the man to protect him from outrage. Patrol protection meant protection by men who patrol about the houses where the people reside. He found that there were seventeen of these men, who were said to be under patrol protection, absolutely guarded by the police. When they leave their houses police go with them on bicycles.His Lordship added—They knew very well, as he did, that there were certain counties in Ireland, that were in a very disturbed condition. There was nothing in Ireland so contagious and infectious as lawlessness.581 Then they had Mr. Justice Wright, at the Sligo Assizes on 8th March, making the following declaration—There are also in this country several areas, at all events, that are more or less disturbed, in which a condition of lawlessness prevails, in which the law is not obeyed. I do not say that the law is entirely powerless, but I have too much reason to believe that the only law respected—I would not say respected, but the only law feared and obeyed is the law not of the land, but of the United Irish League.It would be possible to give to the House many cases to illustrate the hardships which were being daily inflicted upon unfortunate people who had incurred the hostility of the United Irish League. He would not, however, allude to more than one or two. Hon. Members, no doubt, had seen in the papers recently the story told by Mr. Walter Joyce. Mr. Joyce was not a Protestant. He was a Roman Catholic, but he was a landowner. He refused to sell his property on terms which were dictated by the United Irish League. Immediately all his servants and labourers received notice from the League that they were to leave his employment. He was left without a single man to do anything on a farm of about 1,200 acres, which he farmed himself. An attempt was made to frighten away his single maid-servant, but she, to her credit be it said, had the courage to stand by her master. The League thereupon attacked the girl through her mother, who was rigorously boycotted, and is now supplied with necessaries by Mr. Joyce. After three months without a hand or labourer of any kind Mr. Joyce obtained a labourer from another part of the country. The boycotters savagely attacked this labourer and he, and all connected with Mr. Joyce, were now under permanent police protection. That was no isolated case; there were dozens of such cases in Ireland to-day. There was the case of the M'Cordicks of Stroke, to which he ventured to invite the attention of the Chief Secretary. It was a very hard case, and it was made worse by a lamentable failure on the part of the magistrates to do their duty. If the House would permit him he would read the newspaper report of this case from the Roscommon Herald, a Nationalist paper—11th April. At Ballinamore (County Letrim) Petty Sessions on Wednesday, before 582 Messrs. Reilly R. M. (presiding) Kean, Mulcahy, M'Loughlin and Upperton, Felix Prior and John Logan were charged with having at Ballinamore, on 7th February last, persistently followed Sarah and Florence M'Cordick, of Stroke, from place to place, to prevent them procuring groceries and provisions from certain shopkeepers. From the evidence of Mrs. M'Cordick and her daughter it appeared that she came into Ballinamore for groceries, and after passing Prior's house Prior followed her. He was afterwards joined by Logan. Both followed her to a shop, and told the shopman that she and her daughter were a grabber's wife and daughter. They were refused goods in the shop, and she entered five other shops, into each of which defendants followed, with the result that she was refused in all, and had to return home without the articles that she required. She and her daughter informed the police, who followed the defendants and cautioned them and took their names. It also appeared that M'Cordick and his family had for years past been under a rigid boycott and a branch of the League instructed the Vigilance Committee to keep a close watch on the grabbers, so that they might not be supplied with provisions either in Ballinamore or get them by rail.A majority of the magistrates voted for dismissing the summonses. It would, he thought, be superfluous to add any comment upon the facts of this case. They spoke for themselves. What did these facts prove? They showed to his mind, that, they had in Ireland to-day—held only partially in check, in order to "give the Chief Secretary a chance"—a spirit of lawlessness, which was capable of working untold mischief if the hands of the Executive were further weakened by the repeal of the Crimes Act. The paralysis of authority which they had witnessed during the last few months, was, he did not hesitate to say, due to the announcement of the Government that they would under no circumstances make use of the Crimes Act. The Chief Secretary said in this House at the commencement of his period of office—As long as the present administration remains in power this Act—(that is the Crimes Act)—is to all intents and purposes dead and buried.The Attorney-General, on the same occasion, said—They believed that if they showed the juries throughout the country that they were to be trusted, and that they were really made responsible to preserve law and order they would respond to that appeal and do their duty.Everybody knew the results of that policy of trusting the juries. But the 583 events of last year had no effect upon the determination of the Chief Secretary, and the echoes of his famous "I won't," were, no doubt, still rolling about the recesses of the building. The House knew that the right hon. Gentleman's tenure of his present office hung by a thread, according to his own statement. It depended upon his success or failure to pass the Universities Bill which he had brought in. But whether he went or whether he remained, he would himself acknowledge that there was small chance of his being the last of the Chief Secretaries. He might be succeeded by a statesman—even before the close of the present Administration—who might have occasion, and the courage, to say "I will," with just as much emphasis as the right hon. Gentleman had said "I won't." That possibility pointed to the desirability of the Government declining to have anything to do with this proposal to repeal the Crimes Act. Right hon. Gentlemen opposite might affect to think the possibility a very remote one. They had, however, but a very poor and incomplete knowledge of the Irish people if they did not recognise the truth of the Lord Chief Justice's words—There was nothing in Ireland so contagious and infectious as lawlessness.If the Government still regarded with complacency the prospects of the future in Ireland, they must surely be oblivious to recent announcements of policy by the Nationalists Leaders. Did the Chief Secretary read the speech delivered by the hon. and learned Member for Waterford in Dublin during the Easter recess? The Member for Waterford recalled the fact that—Last autumn he asked the country for a vigorous agitation.And he added—If the agitation was not as vigorous as it ought to have been he could claim it was not his fault.He thought the criminal statistics for the year 1907 ought to show that the agitation was a fairly vigorous one. But still it did not come up to the ideas of the Leader of the Nationalist Party, as to what such an agitation ought to be; and therefore they found him 584 saying to his followers these significant words—To-day it was his duty to ask for a still more vigorous movement during the coming months.He asked the Government—Were they going to prepare for the vigorous movement, threatened by the Member for Waterford, by removing from the armoury of the Executive the weapon of the Crimes Act? If they doubted the meaning of the threatening words of the Member for Waterford, let them refer to the hon. Member for Cork. As hon. Members might be aware, the Member for Cork believed that the existing difficulties in connection with land purchase in Ireland might be solved by a new Land Conference; but he had been unable to convince the majority of hon. Members below the gangway that the course he recommended was the right one. Apparently they held to the alternative policy. And what was that alternative policy? It was stated by the Member for Cork in the speech he made to the Party in Dublin last week, and he took these words from a report which the hon. Member himself caused to be sent to the Unionist Press. The hon. Member warned his fellow-Nationalist Members what would happen if they rejected his Conference proposals—You will," he said, "have nothing to fall back upon except the policy of general Hell in a few poor districts, which will be entirely too feeble to frighten England, but which will be quite enough to hunt Mr. Birrell from the country, to force the Liberals to coercion and jury-packing, and the brilliant result will be that next year, perhaps, you will have brought back the Tories.That was the warning of the Member for Cork; but it was unheeded. His counsel had been rejected, and his policy put on one side. The Nationalist Party apparently had committed themselves to a policy of disorder, as soon as they had got their Universities Bill safely through Parliament. That being the prospect, any Government that would support the repeal of the Crimes Act at this juncture would be false to its elementary duty. But whatever course might be taken by the Government—and the majority of the House—he ventured to predict that the Criminal Law and Procedure Act would not be repealed this session, or during the life-time of the 585 present Government. It would be retained, simply because it could not be revoked with safety. The conditions which made this Act necessary still prevailed; and Parliament would not dare to deprive the Executive of powers which experience had shown might be effectively applied, without injury to any law-abiding person, to the suppression of disorder, and the protection of life and property in Ireland. He begged to move.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG (Antrim, S.)
said he thought the House must admire the courage of hon. Members below the gangway in coming to the House in 1908 to ask for the repeal of the Crimes Act. What was the condition of Ireland at the present time? Figures which they had lately been able to extract from the law officers and the Chief Secretary for Ireland, with reference to cattle-driving, which was at the present time the most prevalent form of crime there, showed that instead of Ireland becoming more peaceful, it was week by week and month by month becoming in a more disturbed condition, and therefore he saw a certain amount of humour in hon. Members below the gangway having what he must call the effrontery to come to the British House of Commons and to ask them to remove what had been found for many years past to be the only weapon which the Executive had for dealing with a state of crime and lawlessness which was out of the normal. He did not know whether the ordinary Englishman had a very clear conception of what that dreadful so-called Coercion Act really was. It was simply that it had been found in innumerable cases, in certain districts only—they never put forward the plea that the Crimes Act was necessary for the whole of Ireland at a time, for it was only necessary to deal with a state of affairs which arose from time to time in particular districts—that the ordinary law was not sufficient to deal with the outburst of outrages and crimes which from time to time arose; and Government after Government in this county had found themselves compelled, much against their will, to strengthen their own hands for the purpose of preventing those particular districts from getting into a state of 586 anarchy. There was nothing extraordinary in that. He had read the speeches of hon. Members below the gangway saying that the Crimes Act was a stain and an insult and an outrage, but it was no more that than any preventive law upon the Statute-book at the present moment. They might as well say it was an outrage that there should be a law against stealing. There were hundreds of thousands of offences created by statute, and it was no more a stain or an outrage to a country to have it on record that punishment must be inflicted if a person committed a crime than to have it on record that certain extra powers might be used by the Executive in Ireland to deal with what he had said was not a normal, but an extra-normal, state of affairs. He desired to read an extract or two to show the state of affairs in Ireland at the present time. His hon. friend who proposed the Amendment had referred to the figures which he had obtained from the Chief Secretary, with reference to cattle-driving, and within the last two or three days cattle-driving had been if anything more prevalent than at any time during this year, and that at a time when one of the great Bills which they were told by the Chief Secretary tended to Ireland's becoming peaceful in that respect, and when another great measure, the Land Bill, was shortly to be introduced. He took this quotation from The Times of the 7th inst.—The Irish Executive views with serious concern the renewed prevalence of cattle-driving and other forms of lawlessness. These have broken out in districts hitherto unaffected, and for the past fortnight the columns of the daily Press have testified to a steady growth of agrarian disorders. On Monday twenty-five men were charged at Tuam with cattle-driving on the estate of Mr. Robert Blake on 1st May. A policeman swore that 150 men armed with sticks and beating drums drove off the cattle. The defendants were ordered to enter bail to be of good behaviour. At Ballinasloe yesterday twenty-five men were also charged with cattle-driving on the lands of Carroreagh, and were bound to the Peace. In each case bail was given.In reference to that, the punishment inflicted was of absolutely no use. The idea of binding a man over to be of good behaviour when he had driven cattle off a particular piece of land of which he hoped within a few months to get a slice 587 must appear to anybody with any common-sense at all to be utterly inadequate. There were lots of people left to drive cattle off neighbouring farms. Binding over those people was absolutely no use, because, as was proved amply by the fact that those cases were increasing day by day, there were still more than enough people to take part in those operations. That was one of the very cases dealt with by the Crimes Act which it was proposed to do away with. If the Act were enforced those people who drove other people's cattle away, sometimes to a distance of eighteen miles, could be dealt with summarily. The right hon. Gentleman and his law officers had never denied, although they had produced extenuating circumstances to any number, that those men were acting illegally; they had never attempted to tell the House that cattle-driving could be good for the country, and yet, in spite of that, he was certain the right hon. Gentleman must know that it was a fact that if the Crimes Act had been put in force cattle-driving could have been nipped in the bud. If the Act had been firmly and fairly administered the word "cattle-driving" would have been forgotten in Ireland. Here was another extract from The Times—Seven men, one of them a secretary of a branch of the United Irish League and two women were arrested at three o'clock this morning and taken to Athlone, where they were charged before Mr. Byrne, R.M., with unlawful assembly and with having intimidated Michael Burke from putting stock to graze on Mount William Farm on 1st May. Burke was examined, and stated that when he reached the farm with the stock he was met by a large crowd who set dogs at the cattle and hunted them in different directions. Head-constable Feeney said that the crowd was greatly excited. He saw women setting dogs at the cattle, but he could not identify them. Mr. Byrne said that it was plain that the defendants had assembled for an illegal purpose. He ordered them to find security to keep the peace.What use was that? On the next day, in the same district, cattle-driving was going on in greater numbers than ever as follows—Another big cattle-drive was carried out in the Delvin district of County Westmeath on Sunday night, when a number of men drove 200 cattle off the lands of Southill, Mitchelstown, and Robinstown. This is the fourth occasion within twelve months when cattle have been driven off these lands. The animals 588 were taken back to the farm on Monday by policemen.Here was another case—It is reported here to-day that 300 persons assembled yesterday at Gralla Farm, near Loughrea, for the purpose of driving away the cattle. Forty policemen who were hurried to the, scene tried to persuade the people to disperse; they refused, and the policemen charged them several times with batons. The crowd attacked the constables with sticks and stones and compelled them to retreat. Many persons were injured on both sides. It is stated that the people remained on the farm to prevent the stock from being driven back again, and that food was sent to them to-day from Ballinasloe.Those cases were all taken from the Irish notes in The Times of one day, and hon. Members had only to look at The Times from day to day, and they would find that similar cases were reported almost every day. Certainly if not in the English Times they would be found in the Dublin paper. He had used the word "effrontery" a short time ago, and he thought hon. Members would agree that it amounted to that for any party or any individual in that House to ask the Executive to divest itself of the only weapon it had got for dealing with cases of that kind. There was one more case he would like to read to the House—On Friday last the May lettings of grass lands began in the Athlone district. Interest chiefly centred in one farm of 70 acres, which the local branch of the United Irish League had ordered to be kept unlet so that it might be purchased by the Estates Commissioners for distribution.That was another case of the league's usurping functions to which it had no right, and to which he maintained no self-respecting Government ought to submit for a second. The Report continued—Members of the local Vigilance Committee were in the district during the day, and when two men attempted to put cattle on the farm the animals were worried by dogs and hunted away. The police took the names of a number of men who were present.His hon. friend the mover of the Amendment referred to some words of the Attorney-General last year when they were discussing that very same subject, and there was another expression of his of which he would like to remind him. He said on 13th March last year that the aim of every Government in Ireland should be to convince the mass of the 589 people that the law was their friend and not their enemy, and he had no hesitation in saying that so long as the Crimes Act was made use of in the prosecution of crimes in Ireland, it would be impossible to get the majority of people to believe that or agree with it. He (Mr. Craig) would like to ask if the right hon. gentleman was still convinced that the aim of his Government was to impress the people with the fact that the law was their friend, whether he had impressed that upon them since March, 1907. There must be hundreds and hundreds of persons who had suffered from cattle-drives. There were dozens, if not hundreds, of persons who had suffered injury to health and loss of property through boycotting, and dozens of other persons whose houses had been fired into, and who had been subjected to treatment which would not for one second be permitted in this country, and would hardly be permitted ill the most savage country in Africa, and yet they were told by the right hon. and learned Gentleman that for the sake of teaching the Irish people that the law was their friend and not their enemy, they were deliberately going to deny themselves the use of that perfectly fair and legitimate weapon which they held for preserving peace in Ireland. He went on to say in the same speech that it was his firm belief, and that of his colleagues, that by pursuing that course they would put an end to intimidation and boycotting. It was in vain to hope that they would bring about any reasonable state of peace by ordinary methods. It would be out of order under present circumstances to advocate putting the Crimes Act in force, but he might go so far as to say that the proposal made by the hon. Member below the gangway to take the Act off the Statute-book would lead to a state of things which would go from bad to worse, and instead of Ireland being disturbed in a few particular districts as at present, the state of unrest and outrage would rapidly spread all over the country. Hon. Members on the other side of the House and probably hon. Members on that side did not intimately know Ireland, and he ventured to say that they had no conception of the state of affairs which existed there or of the 590 difficulties which Unionist representatives from Ireland had in bringing home to the ordinary English Member the condition of affairs in that country. He had always said that if the ordinary Englishman realised the state of things in Ireland he would rise in indignation and in the course of a week or two put an end to it once and for ever. He had not the slightest doubt about that whatever. The Chief Secretary had informed the House a little over a year ago that Ireland was in a more peaceable condition than she had been in for 600 years, and in face of that statement he was justified in reading the following placard of a demonstration at Thomas-town, Kilkenny, of the local branch of the United Irish League. (The hon. Member read the placard.)
At the end of the poster were the words—No violence, justice will prevail.He supposed that was a piece of humour. He drew the attention of the House particularly to those words. If hon. Members knew more of Ireland they would understand more fully what the placard meant. He was happy to say that in that particular instance the Chief Secretary intervened by sending such a large force of police into the district that the promoters were unable to hold their meeting and therefore no particular harm was done.
§ MR. CHARLES CRAIG
said he could not answer that question, but he would point out to the hon. and learned Member that it was not necessary to have it proclaimed. The hon. and learned Gentleman would know that the Crimes Act was the ordinary law of the land. But the fact remained that the meeting announced on the poster to which he had referred was an example of the apt methods of the United Irish League, and if hon. Members knew more about Ireland they would understand the true effect of a meeting to be held under such a notice—"no violence"—a meeting probably attended by some 400 or 500 persons, who had been informed by the poster that a certain person was to be 591 denounced for having done some things or refrained from doing some things which he had a perfect right to do or refrain from doing. [An HON. MEMBER: Grabbing.] In this case he had a letter in which it was complained against a man that he either held a farm which he should not hold or, as hon. Members below the gangway would describe it, had "grabbed." But those two operations, however described, were perfectly legal, and no assembly of persons had any right to object by holding a meeting announced in a manner which was intimidatory. Putting at the foot of the notice that no violence was to be used could only be regarded as a joke by the person who framed it. He based his objection to the removal of the Act from the Statute-book on the fact that so long as it was on the Statute-book, and was not put in force, there was no reason why a single person should even be aware that it was in existence. The Act was in abeyance at the present time, and unfortunately it might as well be off the Statue-book altogether, so far as its effect on the daily life of Ireland was concerned. He had no idea what the intention of the Government was with reference to this Bill, whether they would do as they had so often done, say they were sympathetic with its objects, but owing to pressure of time, and so on, it must be obvious to hon. Members below the gangway, that the measure could go no further, and, therefore, they would allow the Second Reading and consent to a Motion that it be committed to Committee of the Whole House. That might be the attitude taken by the Government. He sincerely hoped it would not be. He trusted events would show that they had a little strength of mind, and that they would say that in their opinion—an opinion with which he entirely disagreed—the moment had not arrived nor any necessity arisen to put the Act in force, but that the time might come when they would be reluctantly compelled to use it, and that under those circumstances they did not see their way to repeal the Act.
To leave out the word 'now' and at the end of the question to add the words 'upon this day six months.'"—(Mr. Lonsdale.)
§ Question proposed, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ *MR. JOHN O'CONNOR
said that when he interrupted the hon. Member who had just sat down, it was for the purpose of asking whether the district where the meeting was summoned was proclaimed under the Crimes Act, because the hon. Gentleman had stated that the meeting was prevented by the authorities. If the district was not proclaimed under the Crimes Act it was evident that the primary law was sufficient to prevent meetings that might be thought by the Government to be undesirable. Therefore, his object was to point out that the very argument that the hon. Member had used in his endeavour to sustain his view of this case was one that told very much in favour of the repeal of the Act. He must confess that he was greatly disappointed with the two speeches from above the gangway. He had come that day expecting that he would be treated to the usual chapter of horrors which was always read out to them when such a Motion as the present was before the House. He must confess that he thought Lord Ashtown had written his various volumes in vain. What had become of all the subscriptions collected throughout the length and breadth of this country, if they could produce nothing more terrible than the mild-mannered acts of boycotting read so copiously from the newspaper extracts by hon. Members above the gangway? They had not heard a word from Lord Ashtown. Was it to be assumed that they had thrown Lord Ashtown over? If that was the case it was right that the people of England should know that Lord Ashtown was not relied on in that House, that his facts were disregarded, and they ought to be called upon to withhold their subscriptions from these monthly publications. The hon. Member for Mid Armagh had quoted very freely from speeches by the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland and Mr. Justice Wright. Those were the very men who put the Act into operation. Those were the very men who changed the venue, who packed the juries, and who wished the Act to the put in operation at the present day. He must express 593 his admiration, and he thought that of all those who sat near him, for the Law Officers of the Crown at the present time in standing up to the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, and declining at his instigation to follow his discredited example. He had expressed his disappointment at the speeches of hon. Members above the gangway, but they still had left the hon. Members for North Armagh and East Down, and the versatile and hon. Member for Cambridge University, who might be relied upon to dig up the dead bones of buried controversies in order to harrow the feelings of the House. He had said that the statements of hon. Members above the gangway were very mild-mannered. They were the merest milk and water compared with the speeches that were delivered in support of the First and Second Readings of the Act. On 28th March the Bill was introduced by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London, and in introducing it he said—I do not rely upon crime in Ireland. I introduce this Bill because the League with which we are going to deal leans on dynamite and daggers.There was a flavour about that speech. It was something like a speech. Exactly a month later, or 28th April, the Bill was read a second time; and on that morning, in The Times newspaper lauded by the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down, was published the Pigott forgery. The hon. Member for the Tullamore Division had spoken of the circumstances under which the Bill was introduced, but he had omitted those two circumstances, the dynamite and dagger speech and the publication of the forged letters. It was under these disgraceful auspices that that Bill was introduced, and he had heard it stated now by hon. Members above the Gangway that it was not passed for political purposes and was not put in operation against political antagonists. This circumstance had been well arranged, and Pigott, whose forgery was published by The Times so timely for the Second Reading of the Bill, committed suicide a few years afterwards, and The Times, the accomplice of the forger, was not in a very happy position at the present time, and did not seem to have a 594 single friend in the world. About that time what was the condition of the country? It was little wonder that the right hon. Gentleman who was then Chief Secretary for Ireland should say he did not rely upon the condition of the country, because if there was in all Europe, in the whole world, a crimeless country in the year 1887 it was Ireland. He based that statement on the results of the assizes that were being held in Ireland at the very time that the Act was being passed. It was a causeless Act passed for a crimeless country. There were only fifteen bills in five counties presented to the Grand Jury. In Queen's County there were only two. In Wicklow Baron Dowse said—I am here to discharge the gaol, and there is nobody in it. I find only two offenders are out on bail.In Carlow, Kilkenny, and Waterford he congratulated the Grand Jury on the crimelessness of the country. Then he came to another Judge. He had just received his reward. He had piloted the Bill through the House, and he had been the leader in all the misrepresentations that carried the Bill through, and by the bitter irony of fate he was presented with a pair of white gloves at his very first Assizes. Immediately afterwards he congratulated four Grand Juries in nine different counties on the crimelessness of their jurisdiction. In Antrim, where twenty Bills were presented to the Grand Jury, they had more in 1887 than were presented to the Grand Juries in the whole circuit presided over by Baron Dowse in the south of Ireland. In Fermanagh, Longford, Sligo, West Meath, and Wexford there were two Bills each. In Cavan, Kilkenny, South Meath, South Tipperary, three each; Donegal and Louth, four each; and Kildare, five. In the nine other counties the Judges addressing the Grand Juries stated that "crime was of an ordinary character," or "without any feature of difficulty," was "insignificant" or "not serious." Cork City was absolutely free from crime, and at the Drogheda, Kilkenny, and Waterford Assizes white gloves were presented to the Judge. That was the condition of the country in the summer of 1887, when the Bill was being piloted through the House on 595 the strength of the dynamite and dagger speech, and through the influence of the forged documents. The Act, he submitted, was got from Parliament by fraud, and that was one of the reasons why he asked that Parliament should atone for its fault in the past and repeal the Act. So much for the manner in which it was got, and so much for the condition of the country. It did not long remain in that happy condition. The instrument, having been manufactured, had to be used, and the Government in conjunction with the landlords of Ireland, so well represented by hon. Gentlemen above the gangway, very soon joined forces and immediately proceeded to make a little hell of Ireland. The Government had forged its Coercion Act and the landlords began their capricious evictions. They fell like snow-flakes on the country. The Government was not behindhand. It brought its police, its battering rams, its petroleum fuses, its ambulance waggons, and its galvanic appliances. All these were the concomitants of the evictions that immediately began. The history of the administration of the Act was a disgraceful history. It was enforced by the right hon. Gentleman in the spirit of the dynamite and dagger speech. The men who were arrested and put into prison had their clothes torn off their bodies, and in some cases convict dress had been forced upon them when they did not wish to use it. Some men declined to use this badge of crime and guilt, and lost their lives in consequence. They remained without clothes in the cold cells for days and nights, and as a result contracted illness which ended in their death. Hon. friends of his lost their lives in that manner. Respectable men, guilty of no crime, had their hair cropped close, and had their beards taken off, against their will. They were compelled to perform duties in prison of a menial and low character, which were generally given to convicts to do. They were compelled to herd with the common criminals of the land. The Act was enforced and every possible brutality insisted upon. Men were arrested at all hours of the day and night, and especially at night. He remembered a most pathetic incident mentioned by one of his friends last year, who described how he himself was 596 arrested in the dead of night, and taken from the bed beside his wife, dragged away from his children, and taken off, when a simple summons would have brought him to the nearest Court to be tried if it were necessary. But every brutal means was adopted by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, whom he wished were present, as he would like to tell him so to his face. Every severe means of putting the Act into operation was adopted by the right hon. Gentleman.
§ CAPTAIN CRAIG (Down, E.)
called attention to the fact that forty Members were not present.
House counted; and forty Members being found present—
§ *MR. JOHN O'CONNOR
, continuing, said that at the commencement of his observations, he alluded to the Nemesis which overtook the conspirators who brought about the Act. Pigott shot himself, and he was glad to know that The Times newspaper, amongst its other misfortunes for which he had no sympathy whatever, had just been mulcted in damages to the extent of £7,500. Perhaps the hon. Gentlemen above the gangway would be glad to know that. Reverting to the manner in which the Act was put into operation, the hon. Member said meetings were suppressed, magistrates were sent down to try people, the police had orders "don't hesitate to shoot" and all sorts of severities were used in order to put down the agitation. He believed there were about 3,500 people put into prison under that Act in the years 1888 and 1889. Twenty-five of those were Members of Parliament and one of them was an English Member. The people who were imprisoned consisted of agitators, editors, tenants, and shopkeepers; indeed all sorts and conditions of men were put into prison under the conditions he had already referred to, until the people of England rose en masse. He was one of those, he was happy to say, who took part in going about this country, enlightening, as he hoped they did enlighten, the people of England, in regard to the operation of the Act in Ireland, He well remembered that on 23rd March, 597 1889, he stood on that very spot and moved a Bill for the purpose of modifying the punishments under the Act of 1887. At that time he was under sentence of four months imprisonment for a speech made to his constituents. He had always thought that his speech on that occasion was a political speech. It did not refer very much to agrarian matters, and when it did only for the purpose of politics. But, notwithstanding that, he had been tried by two of these removable magistrates and he received a sentence of four months imprisonment, and at the time he introduced his Bill he was there pending the hearing of his appeal to a County Court Judge. The Bill had for its object the modification of punishment in the matter of clothing, so that the wearing of convict dress should not be insisted upon, and provided that prisoners should not have their hair and beards cropped, nor do menial service nor take exercise with criminals. Those were the four points of his Bill, and he well remembered the present Member for the City of London using these words—I am not at all prepared to say that the judicious efforts of the gentleman who got up a national protest may not have produced an effect upon the public mind in some parts of the country.And further, he said—I quite admit that there may be and very likely is something entirely justifiable in the feeling which has been aroused and of which the Bill is the logical and not unreasonable expression.The Bill was opposed by the right hon. Gentleman, but he met the four points of it by an alteration of the rules, and by not insisting upon those practices which were, and had been pointed out in the course of the discussion to have been, absolutely against the rules of the prison authorities of the time, and so in the face of the public opinion which was aroused and expressed throughout England those unnecessary severities were not further insisted upon. He submitted, therefore, that that Act, from its very inception, had been discredited, and ought no longer to be kept upon the Statute-book. It was also ineffective. The speeches to which they had listened from above the gangway were intended to show that the Act was 598 absolutely necessary, that it had been effective in putting down crime, and that the agitation it was aimed at had always been suppressed. He had told the House the exact number of those who were imprisoned and who they were, but what followed? He knew very well that the right hon. Member for the City of London claimed that he conquered the organisation, but they in like manner claimed that he did not. They claimed that they did the very same things for which they had been punished time and again without being punished, and that the Act ceased to be put into operation. He would tell the House what followed. The Act had been in use for four years, men had continued to be put into prison all that time, and in 1891 the Land Act of that year was passed, which earmarked and placed at the disposal of certain Commissioners no less a sum than about £33,000,000 in order to carry out a land purchase scheme. Later there was a recrudescence of those severities, and again some years afterwards hon. Members of this House began to be seized. In 1902 the hon. and learned Member for East Clare was suffering imprisonment, as also was the hon. Member for Leitrim, and some nine of his friends altogether were in the same position. Other persons were also being taken up and put into prison, and severity was again being used. And what followed? The Land Act of 1903. So that instead of having any effect in putting down agitation the only effect of the operation of the Crimes Act was to produce a Land Purchase Bill in order to put an end to landlordism altogether. The result of the operation of the Crimes Act had never been the submission of the people but always the submission of Government. He would not dwell upon the point that had been made by a Gentleman above the gangway about its being used against political opponents, but it must be allowed that the meetings that had been suppressed under the Act had nearly always been proposed to be held in districts where such meetings were required. Meetings had not been allowed to take place for a very long time near the estate of the Earl of Clanricarde, and yet he submitted that there was no district in Ireland where a meeting was more wanted. 599 The voice, therefore, of legitimate complaint was hushed by the Act. His hon. friend the Member for the Tullamore Division had dealt with the special clauses of the Act, and he did not want to weary the House about the suppression of meetings, change of venue, change of juries, and so on, but a great deal had been said in discussing the Act about what was called the crime of boycotting. The word had been used by the hon. Member for South Antrim that day. Boycotting was no crime, as had been declared by the Court of Appeal in Ireland and also by the late Attorney - General for Ireland. He would read the right hon. Gentleman's words. It was in a case that was tried in Dublin of a young girl who was boycotted by the Orange community, because she was a Catholic, and because she had been appointed sewing-mistress of the Carntall School, County Tyrone. The right hon. Member for Dublin University said—There were two classes of boycotting and one of these was boycotting in the popular sense, which he said, was not illegal.The defendant, Mr. Coote, a magistrate, arranged for the withdrawal of a large number of children, including his own from the school; and he admitted that he had no other object except to compel the dismissal of the Catholic sewing-mistress. The late Attorney-General for Ireland said that—As long as the act done was legal a co-existing intention to injure would not make it illegal.The Lord Chancellor, in the course of the argument, maintained that concerted action resulting from coincidence of opinion, even though the intent was to injure a third party, was not actionable. Lord Justice Holmes, to whom he had already referred, and who said a good deal about boycotting when the Act was passed, illustrated his own view of law. He said—Now, suppose the parents of the children of the school met and said they would not send their children again to the school of a certain teacher, would not they be withdrawn, and he or she must leave the school: could an action be sustained? If it could he did not know where the thing would stop.600 Lord Justice Fitzgibbon, in giving his judgment, said—It would be an interminable task and a presumptuous one for him to analyse the judgments of the highest authority on this matter; but he was satisfied that there was no authority or principle to support a proposition that an act might be done lawfully by each of two people without incurring any legal liability for loss consequent thereon, and yet the same act, done in the same way, with the same intent, and the same consequences, would be actionable if it was done in pursuance of an agreement made between them before they did it.That was Lord Justice Fitzgibbon's statement of the law of this case, but if these things had been done by some of the members of the United Irish League it might be expected that the Judges would take an entirely different view. But Mr. Coote was a justice of the peace, came from a favoured part of the country, belonged to the Orange Society, and of course—What in the captain is but a choleric word, is in the soldier rank blasphemy.
§ MR. MOORE (Armagh, N.)
inquired whether it would not be fair to tell this House that there was no criminal information and that this was not a criminal offence.
§ MR. JOHN O'CONNOR
said they had heard a great deal about boycotting and these assumed outrages. He would read to the House the opinion entertained by a learned Judge on the Bench in Ireland—he alluded to Mr. Justice Johnson, who said in Dublin not three months ago, referring in the course of his review of a case, to bogus outrages—One had only to take up the newspapers and read the proceedings of Parliament to see that many of these reports of alleged outrages were bogus altogether and were got up to befoul the country by people who ought to know better.They had heard a great deal about the condition of these unfortunate boycotted people. He had read an account of one given by a man on the spot, who went there for the purpose of investigating the case. He wrote—Out of the town of Loughrea I met a cheerful, smiling, bustling, red-bearded man delivering bread from a donkey-cart. He was the most marked sign of commercial activity 601 I had seen in the place. He had a friendly word or a nod for everyone he met, and was so cheerful and popular and prosperous that I supposed he must be at least the president of the local league. But I found he was a boycotted Protestant shopkeeper, and incidentally an official of the Clanricarde estate office, the most obnoxious person in the place of the League, boycotted, under police protection; but there he was, as happy as a grig, doing bustling trade and apparently on cheerful terms with everybody. The fact that he was boycotted, it appeared, gave him the practical monopoly of the custom of all the boycotted families as well as the police and officials in Loughrea and for miles around.That account was taken from an article written by the well-known correspondent, Charles E. Hands, and contributed to The Daily Mail. That was his opinion of the unfortunate people whose grievances had been called up with such force that day. He submitted that the Crimes Act from its very inception was a discredited measure, and that it ought to be removed from the Statute-book. It was obtained by fraud. It had been ineffective in its operation. It had been harshly enforced by the predecessors of the present Government, and there was no reason why a discredited and ineffective Act should be maintained on the Statute-book. It should be removed at the earliest possible moment.
§ MR. BYLES (Salford, N.)
said he was only an English Member, and perhaps it might be thought that the Crimes Act did not trouble the people of this country, but he thought it was a discredit to England as well as to Ireland that the Act should remain on the Statute-book. He could never forget the anger which he and vast numbers of Englishmen felt when it was proposed twenty-one years ago that an exceptional Act for dealing with crime in Ireland should no longer be temporary, as had been the practice hitherto, but that it should be placed permanently on the Statute-book. Ever since then he had been desirous that some opportunity should be taken to repeal it. The large majority of the representatives of Ireland had never ceased to ask that the Crimes Act should be removed from the Statute-book. It was astonishing to him that Irishmen, who must know better, and who, one would think, must love their people, should come to the 602 House to blacken their country as previous speakers had done in the debate. The mover of the Amendment used a mysterious sentence, which he did not understand, when he said that the Nationalist Members dare not avow their real object in asking for the repeal of this Act. He would like to have an explanation of what was supposed to be the real object of the Irish Members. Did the hon. Member think that they were anxious to break out in a new Fenian insurrection? Did he think that the cabins of the country were stored with rifles and pikes to overthrow the dominion of the British Government? Then they were told that the Irish Nationalists were still wedded to crime, and that the Chief Secretary had entirely failed to suppress crime. The crime was that of cattle-driving. Well, he did not want to uphold cattle-driving, he wished it would cease, he thought it was reprehensible and mischievous, but it was perfectly natural after all. It was not a serious crime to open the gates of a field and let the cattle out. It was not a hanging matter.
§ MR. BYLES
said it had been stated that the hazel rod was now up the chimney, and that so long as it remained there it was not likely to do any harm. That was to say that the cattle-driver was quiescent for the moment, but surely the credit for his quiescence should go to the Chief Secretary who had to bear the blame where cattle-driving had occurred. But if the Crimes Act were to be enforced, would the hazel rod remain up the chimney? He thought they would see something more harmful than the hazel rod—some more potent weapons quickly in use. The hon. Member opposite had told the House that juries had failed to convict, and that the whole system of administration was a pitiable farce. He himself took a different view of the duties of Juries from that which seemed to be held by some hon. Members. He understood that the liberty which was won for them many centuries ago was the liberty to have a charge proved 603 or disproved before twelve of their Peers. He understood that to mean that they were not to be punished for, and that laws were not to prevail against them in respect of, conduct which the general sentiment of the country approved. The policy of the present Government, as he understood it, was to bring about a state of things under which the people of Ireland would agree with the laws imposed upon them and would obey them. The Viceroy was the representative of the King in Ireland. When the Unionist Government was lately in power, Lord Dudley said—No Government could hope to be permanently successful in any country unless it was supported by public opinion. In Ireland that support was too often withdrawn. If he could not maintain the Union by sympathetic and conciliatory methods, if he could not succeed in bringing home to the people its advantages, if he was unable gradually to develop respect for the law and to establish a feeling of general contentment, then he said frankly that he would rather consider the possibility of an amendment in the system of government than fall back on the permanent attitude of force which some Unionists seemed to desire.That was said by a Tory Viceroy who went to Ireland no doubt animated by exactly the same sentiments as were held by some of the Irish Unionist Party to-day. Plenty of his predecessors and other great officials had come to the same conclusion when brought face to face with the facts. The Crimes Act was a slur upon the people of Ireland, it was an irritation to them, it was a constant cause of provocation to them. Crime was by no means serious in Ireland as compared with other countries. Crime in Ireland was only provoked by the maintenance on the Statute-book of this menacing and irritating Act. He would appeal to patriotic, intelligent, and honourable men, even to those with whom he disagreed, and ask whether there was one of them who did not know that the Crimes Act they were now asked to repeal, and the eighty Crimes Acts which had preceded it since the Union, were bitter memories to the great majority of the Irish people. How many of the hon. Members below the gangway who had been sent to Parliament from Ireland by enormous majorities had escaped prison, and how many of them on coming out of prison had failed to be honoured 604 by their people for the part they had taken in repelling tyranny, as they regarded it, and as it was regarded by the people of the country? These were the representatives and the leaders of the people in Ireland, and it was to them we ought to look for the pacification of their country.
§ *MR. BUTCHER (Cambridge University)
said they had heard that afternoon some faint echoes of the denunciations of 1887 against his right hon. friend the Leader of the Opposition. History had already sufficiently answered those attacks, and he would not waste time in going over an old story. The other main arguments used in favour of this Bill consisted of denunciations of resident magistrates and of the way they had administered the Crimes Act. All that had been said against the resident magistrates was but a repetition of what hon. Members invariably said when they attacked the Judges. The merits of the Act had not been seriously discussed by hon. Members below the gangway, but he had heard a great many personal reminiscences and unverified assertions. The Act made no new offences. Everything that was an offence under that Act had been an offence hitherto in the law of England, Ireland, and Scotland. As it made no new crimes, so also it imposed no new punishments. The penalties in the Act were rather more lenient than the penalties under the ordinary law. What it did was to direct a new procedure in the case of certain crimes like intimidation, violence, riot, and unlawful assembly. The Act was not directed against crime in general, but against terrorist and conspiracy. The main operative provisions of the Act were already in the law of Scotland, and when he heard hon. Members denouncing the Act as an infringement of personal liberty he would remind them they had only to cross the Border into Scotland to find the same provisions at work.
§ *MR. BUTCHER
said he would do so. The operative clauses of which he spoke 605 were those relating to summary jurisdiction in Scotland. Take first the preliminary investigation under the Crimes Act, before anybody was committed for trial. Similarly under the law of Scotland witnesses were examined in private by the Procurator-Fiscal who took down in writing their precognitions or depositions. If they declined to give information they were examined on oath before the Sheriff, and if they still declined they were committed to prison for contempt. As to the summary jurisdiction, in Scotland the crimes were tried by one sheriff or sheriff-substitute; in Ireland by two magistrates. Further, in Scotland there was no appeal except on points of law; in Ireland there was an appeal on questions of fact, where the sentence exceeded one month, and in all cases on a point of law. He need not go further into the minutiæ of the Act, for the main points were the summary procedure, the nature of the penalty, and the nature of the appeal. Now, what was the evil which this Act attempted to remedy? It was, in a single word, the paralysis of the law, which was shown in two ways—first by the difficulty in getting witnesses; and second, by the difficulty, or impossibility of getting verdicts. Everybody who was familiar with these things knew that when juries would not convict, witnesses were very reluctant to come forward, especially in Ireland where they were easily disheartened and frequently intimidated; even the men who were themselves the sufferers often dared not come forward as witnesses. The object of the Act was to set free the course of justice. The arguments in favour of the Crimes Act were now very much stronger than they were when the Bill was brought before the House in 1887. At that time the failure of the Act was confidently predicted, and the House was told that its provisions were such as would have no effect. They had just heard that the provisions of the Act had been wholly ineffectual, and he could hardly believe his ears when he heard the statement. He would take a single instance, he meant boycotting. In his opinion, of all the crimes known to the law boycotting was the most difficult to deal with. It was the most intangible and at the same time the most cruel and inhuman 606 invention. He could not help alluding to the description of boycotting given by the hon. Member below the gangway who pictured a boycotted man in Loughrea as a prosperous individual, living on the best possible terms with everybody, whose lot apparently was of the happiest. Anybody who lived in Ireland knew what amount of truth there was in that description. But the House could judge for itself. Here was a verbatim report of a speech delivered by an hon. Member below the gangway—In this case it was not so much the actual acts against these people, or against their business that had produced such terrible effects, but it was the necessary relentless, insistent, boycotting of themselves and their friends and supporters.Necessarily relentless, insistent boycotting! They sometimes heard language from Irish Members in Ireland which they did not hear in England, and the speech he had just quoted, boasting of the inhuman sufferings which a man and his family had endured in North Longford, appeared in the Roscommon Herald on 1st Febuary, 1908. To go back to his argument. He was speaking of the success of the Act even in dealing with the difficulties arising in cases of boycotting. In 1887 the number of boycotted persons in Ireland was 4,835. In 1892 after the Act had been in operation for five years, there were fifteen persons boycotted. It was notable that in the single year 1887–8 the number of boycotted persons was reduced by 3,663. Through a series of years the Irish administration was carried on, sometimes under the Crimes Act, and sometimes not, until they reached the culminating year 1906, when Ireland was more free from crime "than she had been for 600 years." The law was made supreme in spite of the predictions that the Crimes Act would do nothing to restore the supremacy of the law. That was the positive evidence; let him now contrast with that success what he thought everybody would call the failure of the law in the year 1907, when the Chief Secretary would neither put into operation the Crimes Act, nor consistently enforce the ordinary law, which was frequently suspended in the interest of certain privileged malefactors. From July to December certain crimes were 607 committed, regarding which there was practically no defence. Of 287 persons indicted only eight were convicted, and at the winter assizes in Dublin Mr. Justice Wright made the observation that it was—The most degrading experience that he had ever had since he had been on the Bench.
§ *MR. BUTCHER
said he was quite aware of that. If they were asked what was the cause of the success of the Crimes Act, his answer was, first, that the Act was a permanent and not a temporary one. Everybody knew that one of the curses of English rule in Ireland had been the fitful administration of the law, the alternations of petting and coercing; and this Act had one great merit that it remained permanently on the Statute-book and while lenient was yet efficacious. Its permanence was the first and main reason for its success. The second reason was that while the Act was not limited in point of time, it might be limited in point of space. If crime in Ireland was not universal but only partial, the Act could be put into operation in a single county. It was a remarkable thing in Ireland that in one county or even in part of a county, as in the case of County Clare, they might have the law undisputed and supreme, while just across the border in an adjoining county, or in part of the same county, the law was trampled in the dust.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND (Clare, E.)
said he wished to protest against what the hon. Member had said about County Clare. There was far less crime, and the law was as well respected in County Clare as in any county in England.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said the hon. Member must not be offended when he said that the inhabitants of County Clare were most law-abiding. What he meant by crime was murder such as there was in England.
§ *MR. BUTCHER
said he was speaking of part of the eastern portion of County Clare, where everybody knew the law was not respected.
§ *MR. BUTCHER
said he would now come to the third great reason why the Crimes Act had been successful. It was that it had been found that it did not interfere with the personal freedom of any citizen, and that it did not interfere with the liberty of the Press. It was an Act which restored liberty, and did not restrict it. Those who desired to expunge the Act from the Statute-book must have some alternative to offer, and he would like to know what the alternative policy was?
§ *MR. BUTCHER
said that before going into that alternative he wished to put it to the House—and he did not think anybody would question it—that there were periods when parts of Ireland were swept by lawless emotion. At such times law disappeared, it went under, and its place was taken, not by the will of the community, or even the passion of the individual, but by the organised tyranny of a clique, generally a powerful clique, which was backed by an appeal to the cupidity of individuals. The gravity of that state of things, with which everybody was familiar, was to be found not so much in the frequency of crime as in the rarity of convictions; not so much in open crime as in the system of unseen terrorism which made crime superfluous. Crime, intimidation and boycotting, and the paralysis of the law were the grave and menacing factors of Irish disorder, which to-day, on a smaller scale, and in a more restricted area, repeated the history of the eighties. Now, he asked, what was the alternative? He put the question to the hon. Gentleman below the gangway from the Nationalist point of view. He supposed that most of them would admit that things were not quite satisfactory. Some of them no doubt thought that they were more than satisfactory as they 609 had been busily engaged in organising he lawlessness which most people deplored. However, he could not conceive that the majority of the hon. Gentlemen below the gangway did not regret the fact that parts of Ireland were exceedingly uncomfortable for honest men to live in. [An HON. MEMBER on the IRISH Benches: You are not made uncomfortable.] No, he was not; but he could not help speaking of what they all saw and they all knew. If he were himself a Home Ruler he would feel that to accustom people to anarchy was the worst possible training for self-government. He believed that the Leader of the Nationalist Party, who exhibited many statesmanlike qualities, must feel in his heart that it was not well for a people to throw off all the restraints of the law.
§ CAPTAIN CRAIG (Down, E.)
asked whether the hon. Member was in order in saying his hon. friend knew what he was stating to be lies.
§ MR. WILLIAM REDMOND
said he had no hesitation in telling the House what he had said. The hon. Member stated that training in anarchy was a bad preparation for self-government. He said what was worse for the country was that people should tell lies about it, and that was perfectly true.
§ *MR. BUTCHER
did not think he had said anything provocative to anybody. He did not think there would be a man in the country who would deny the fact that training in anarchy was a bad preparation for self-government. What then was the alternative to the Crimes Act? He put it to the Liberals. He gathered that the alternative was to do nothing because the Government thought everything was 610 satisfactory as it was and believed that the things which the Opposition deplored were mere fictions of the imagination. They must look at the future as well as at the present. It was impossible for them not to be aware that some of those things he had spoken of in Irish history might again occur even if they were not already happening before their eyes. If this Act were expunged from the Statute-book, what did the Government propose to do? Was it to give over Ireland to lawlessness, or had they the confidence expressed some months ago by the Chief Secretary that the law would be respected in those parts of Ireland in which it was not respected at present? Last June the right hon. Gentleman said that the Government still had confidence in the ordinary law, properly and impartially administered, and he thought he might fairly ask whether that confidence was still unshaken. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would state how he proposed to deal with those outbreaks of lawlessness with which he had hitherto coped in vain. One thing was certain, and that was that the Government which was not able to cope with Irish disorder sealed its own doom. He knew how strongly the Chief Secretary disapproved of the Crimes Act and what his alternative to it had hitherto been. He had resorted to an antiquated Act of Parliament.
§ *MR. BUTCHER
said he would call it an old Act of Parliament, under which a single magistrate could bind to good behaviour the persons charged, and if they did not give the required promise could send them to gaol. No evidence could be heard in their defence. Apparently it was quite consonant with Liberal principles that one magistrate should send a man to gaol for twelve months or longer without appeal. On the other hand, it was nothing short of gross tyranny for two magistrates sitting together to send a man to gaol, after hearing all the evidence adduced, for a period not exceeding six months, with the right of appeal. That contrast 611 offered a fair test of the sincerity of Liberal convictions when they were dealing with the Crimes Act; they approved of the one Act and looked upon the other as simple tyranny. The measure which it was proposed to repeal restrained nobody from doing any act which a civilised man might desire to do. It had removed obstacles in the way of justice and saved innumerable innocent men from a state of cruel thraldom and terrorism which ruined both public and private life and strangled industry. Personal freedom was at the very basis of the welfare of the State and of national greatness, and as an Irishman he looked on everything that impaired that freedom and took away from honest men the means of obtaining an honest livelihood as the greatest natural disservice that could be done to Ireland. To repeal this Act would be simply to throw Ireland back upon the old evils of fitful and uncertain legislation and capricious administration.
§ MR. BIRRELL
The Party to which I have the honour to belong has never, on this question of a permanent Coercion Act, taken any but one view—namely, that such an Act is intolerable and should be repealed at the earliest possible moment. That has been illustrated by numberless speeches made Gentlemen who now occupy prominent positions in this Government, and they havenever, whilst in opposition, failed to support the Gentlemen below the gangway in a Motion corresponding to this Bill. Accordingly, without any doubt or hesitation we shall vote for the Second Reading. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down began by saying that he proposed to devote the greater part of his remarks to a description of the Criminal Law and Procedure Act, and to show how inoffensive it is and how it can never fall heavily on any law-abiding citizen. But he soon went off in another direction. Beginning where he began, he said that this Act, to which he rightly stated that I took considerable exception, created no new offence. That is a proposition which I for one most emphatically deny. Look at Section 6 of the Act. If the Lord-Lieutenant is satisfied that any association interferes with the administration of the law or is 612 calculated to disturb the maintenance of law and order, he may, by proclamation, declare to be dangerous any such association or associations; and when he has done that all the penalties of Section 7 apply to such an association. It is provided that—From and after the date of such order and during the continuance thereof any meeting or assembly of such association, or the members of it, as such members, in the specified district, shall be an unlawful assembly, and the association itself shall be an unlawful association, and every person calling together a meeting of such association in the specified district or of any members thereof as such members, or knowingly taking part in any such meeting, or publishing with a view to promoting the objects of such an association notice of the calling together of such meeting or the proceedings of such meeting, shall be guilty of an offence, and may be prosecuted in a Court of summary jurisdiction under this Act.Is not that the creation of a new offence?
§ MR. BIRRELL
pointed out that the words "formed for the commission of crime" were followed by various alternatives beginning with "or." There was much virtue in "or."
§ MR. BUTCHER
In subsection 4 it is laid down that any proclamation issued under the Act must be laid before Parliament.
§ MR. BIRRELL
It is not dependent upon Parliament whether the consequences of the proclamation as to the illegality of the assembly shall follow. The Lord-Lieutenant having proclaimed the assembly, certain consequences follow. That proclamation has to be laid on the Table of the House and may be made the subject of debate or criticism, but the consequences of which I speak follow from the issue of the proclamation and do not depend upon the consent or approval of this House. I say, therefore, the Act does create distinctly a new offence.
§ MR. BIRRELL
I hope I shall be allowed to proceed with my speech. It is difficult to do so amid these interruptions. A distinguished Lord Advocate in this House has said it is quite clear that there is in this law no analogy to the old law existing in Scotland. But even if the two things were much the same, I put it to the House whether it is a reasonable view of criminal law to take that because one country has for a good many centuries been satisfied with its sheriff and sheriff-substitute, distinguished lawyers, many of whom have subsequently been raised to the Bench of the Supreme Court—and with a certain method of their own—therefore you can suddenly thrust a new and alien idea of criminal procedure upon another country in a crisis of political trouble. I say it is impossible to do anything of the kind. So far as the first section is concerned it has been very little use, and may be disregarded. The important sections are those creating this summary jurisdiction. When the hon. Member was dealing with summary jurisdiction in Scotland he did not draw any attention to the difference in the tribunal. There is all the difference in the world between entrusting duties of this kind to regular legal functionaries who occupy a position in their profession and who themselves often become Judges in their turn in the Supreme Courts in Scotland and handing them over to resident magistrates. I am not going to say a word against resident magistrates. Why should I? But nobody will say that they are persons remarkable for their legal knowledge, training, and experience. Their qualifications and character are to be judged of by the Lord-Lieutenant, and I say it is not fair altogether to disregard the character of the tribunal. This Criminal Law and Procedure Act is open to the very gravest constitutional objection. It is a favourite argument—you hear it in every country where the Constitution can be set aside by the executive—that no law-abiding citizen need be afraid. Only obey the law, do what you are told, regard the rights of property, and be a self-respecting citizen, and you will never get into any trouble 614 at all. I suppose the great majority of Englishmen pass through their lives without ever coming into contact with the criminal law in any way whatsoever, except, perhaps, as grand jurymen or something of that sort. But exactly the same thing occurs in Russia. In Russia you have the most perfect system of constitutional government. You have trial by jury provided for in almost every case, and if you read their laws you wonder why there should be any trouble or difficulty whatsoever. But then you find side by side with the constitutional methods the power of the executive to deprive people of them whenever they think fit. That is my great objection to this Act of Parliament. The hon. Gentleman said he liked it because it was permanent. But it is not permanent in the true form. It is an Act of Parliament which is put in operation at the will of the executive. Unless the executive chooses to proclaim counties and deprive people of the rights of citizens, the ordinary law and constitution applies. Therefore, you are exactly in the condition of those unconstitutional countries where you have side by side a constitutional and an unconstitutional system which is dependent entirely on the will of the executive. I would much sooner, speaking as an executive officer, you had made the Act apply without any intervention of the Lord-Lieutenant, without any proclamation of counties. It is an admirable measure according to my hon. friend. No law-abiding citizen need fear it. Why not all be subject to it at once? Let us all come under this admirable system. What is the good of trial by jury—twelve stupid men in the box, humbugged and hoodwinked by counsel, taking a view either for or against the Judge according to the tact which he displays? Get rid of the system altogether. There are a great many people who are dissatisfied with trial by jury in both civil and criminal cases, and, therefore, it would be much better if the Leader of the Opposition had taken his courage in both hands, and said "This is a simple and desirable measure, and henceforth and for evermore it shall be the law of Ireland, whether they like it or not, and without any reference to a fitful Lord-Lieutenant and a changing Chief Secretary." The Act of Parliament is 615 open to every conceivable objection. It is an unconstitutional Act of Parliament; it takes away the rights of the Irish people fitfully and not permanently at the bidding of one political party or another. Look at the Act itself. What happens under it? It came into force on 19th July, 1887. A Liberal Administration was in power from August, 1892, to June, 1895, and the Unionists were in office for the remainder of the period 1887–1904. I say nothing about the circumstances under which the Act was passed. All I can say is, that I wish every Member who has not acquainted himself with those debates would read and study them, and if he did that he would be at no loss to understand the strong feeling that the great majority of the Irish people entertain to the Act. The hon. Member who moved the Second Reading of the Bill, in a speech of great moderation, referred to the alliance that at one time existed between the Tory Party and the Nationalists. Everybody, or every Liberal, who took part in the election of 1885 remembers that very well, because we had the whole of the Irish votes against us. It was my first general election, and I had the full Irish vote in that part of Liverpool for which I stood directed against me. It was the last time, and I hope it will remain so, on which I had not the Irish vote. On that occasion, a Tory friend of mine, now a distinguished Judge on the Irish Bench—such is the fate of mortals—was given the benefit of the Irish vote. Between 1885 and 1887 something happened, and this Act was introduced. These are the figures which I had prepared for me. The number of persons proceeded against under the Act in 1887 was 628, in 1888 it was 1,475, then it went down to 839, then to 531, and then to 243, and then the Land Purchase Act was introduced. Possibly that had something to do with the decline, and in 1892, 155 was the total number of persons proceeded against under the Act. In 1903, my right hon. friend—I cannot yet bring myself to call him Lord Morley of Blackburn—came into office, and in 1893 and 1894 no steps were taken under the Act at all. It lay dormant. In 1895, Mr. Gerald Balfour was responsible as Chief Secretary. I believe he was not at that time in the 616 Cabinet, but he was Chief Secretary in 1895, 1896, 1897, 1898, 1899, and 1900, and the Act remained dormant. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover in 1901 proceeded against 29 persons, in 1902 against 157 persons, and in 1903 against 3 persons. Then the famous Land Purchase Act came into existence. Since then, although there have been changes in the Government, although counties have been proclaimed, no proceedings whatever have been taken, and, therefore, since 1903, it has lain completely dormant, as an instrument, available, no doubt, but one of which no use has been made. It is a little difficult in this debate to distinguish the two points. The real point is, should this Act be allowed to remain on the Statute-book or be repealed? The debate has also turned into a repetition of the frequent discussions we have already had as to whether I am to blame for not having, during my term of office, availed myself of the machinery of this Act. If I had I should have done something which has not been done practically since the Leader of the Opposition left Ireland in 1892, because, although there were sporadic movements under the regime of the right hon. Member for Dover, that was immediately put an end to by the great concordat of the Land Purchase Act, and since that time no Chief Secretary has proceeded against any person under the Act. Whether I ought to have done it, whether the present condition of Ireland is such as to render it necessary and proper for me to do it, is a question which I do not think is very relevant for the purposes of this debate, but which has been almost necessarily, perhaps, mixed up with it. However, I ask myself, what is the present position? The hon. Gentleman the Member for Cambridge University spoke with emphasis, and not at all with too great emphasis, about the horrors of boycotting. Now boycotting is one of those things which may be atrociously cruel and horribly offensive, and a thing which shocks me more than anything else one can well imagine in human affairs short of absolute murder or outrage. It is perfectly true that an hon. Member read from the report of a very keen witted, quick-sighted gentleman, who writes in the Daily Mail, and who 617 gave his account of the boycotted person, and although I should deprecate the notion that there was no such thing as cruel boycotting in Ireland, it is true that there is a great deal of exaggeration about a good number of the cases in which persons are alleged to be boycotted. I could myself give an account of conversations which I have had, and experiences I have had, with boycotted persons, but I do not wish to do that, because I agree that in certain cases boycotting is carried to very cruel lengths. At the present moment those cases are not more than they have been for the last ten or twelve years. The cruel and vindictive cases at present in Ireland are not more than twelve or thirteen, and at that figure they remained during the administration of the right hon. the Member for South Dublin. For years past there has been this number of serious boycotting cases. I deplore and reprobate them, but you do not want to turn the whole law upside down to deal with them, even if you could. It is said that in the time of the Leader of the Opposition there were 4,000 cases of boycotting. These have now happily disappeared, and I cannot at the most find more than twelve serious cases, and perhaps 125 or 130 minor cases. I deplore them. I ought not to be asked to get up on my legs and deplore things of that sort, because all right-feeling and right-minded men do deplore them; but you cannot do away with them by setting up the Crimes Act. Lord Salisbury was perfectly right when he made the statement on a celebrated occasion, that you cannot put down exclusive dealing by the provisions of an Act of this sort. What is the other state of affairs in Ireland? With regard to cattle-driving, I have said all that I have to say, over and over again. I deplore it as an illegal, reprehensible, and very stupid thing. Some hon. Gentlemen below the gangway may differ from me. Having had some experience of the matter, I think it a most dangerous and foolish thing, particularly at the present crisis of matters with regard to land purchase in Ireland. The continuance of wholesale illegal acts of this kind is not calculated to benefit the Irish people or to reduce the price of land per acre by a single pound, 618 nor will the people obtain possession of the soil from which they have driven the cattle. Therefore, I say, speaking with the full sense of my responsibility, that it is not only reprehensible and illegal, but a stupid thing, calculated to tie the hands of this Parliament in dealing, as we shortly shall be called upon to do, with a question of the utmost difficulty. Surely, while we are negotiating this land purchase, are we going to upset Ireland and declare war with her, for an incident in the land purchase proceedings? The whole of this cattle-driving arises from the belief that they must become the transferees of the soil and that they are entitled to it. They may have exaggerated and possibly have misunderstood some of your fervent speeches and some of your impassioned perorations, and they may not altogether have distinguished between tenanted land and land lying within the parish occupied by the grazing of beasts, but which is as much necessary as the other land if peace is to be restored to Ireland on the footing of a peasant proprietary. I believe it would be an act of sheer insanity for any Government to proceed rashly and hastily to upset negotiations between this country and Ireland, which are absolutely essential if you are to carry out a gigantic scheme involving millions of money, only one-third of which is carried out and two-thirds of which remain, to some extent, trembling in the balance. Regarding, as I do, cattle-driving as an incident of land purchase, not on the same footing or in the same category as what has been called the dynamite and dagger kind of argument, I say we have exercised a wise discretion in refusing, even if we ever contemplated it, which we did not, to put into operation the inefficient and, as I think, unconstitutional and unsatisfactory provisions of an Act of Parliament which I for one should be very glad to see expunged from the Statute-book. The question has been put to us, What is your alternative? What are you going to do? I would suggest in the first place that the onus lies with hon. Gentlemen opposite to show that it is my duty to upset the ordinary law of the land and put into operation an Act that imposes on the Executive the whole responsibility 619 of saying whether the ordinary law is to be superseded. I say the onus is rather on you to show that a state of things has arisen that compels us now, or may at some future time, to put the provisions of this Act into force. The alternative on which I rely is the law of the land. The Lord-Lieutenant and the Government do not desire to put into operation the proclamation of any particular county. We rely on the ordinary law of the land and upon the remedial measures and upon the prospect of the carrying out as quickly as possible, with the support, I hope, of the Treasury if need be, of a great scheme of land purchase, at present only partially, but bound to be completely, carried out. That is our alternative. You may laugh at it and ask what is the good of doing this or that. The same question might arise in England or Scotland if a violent difference of opinion on any particular point arose between the inhabitants of particular parts of the world and the rest of the community. It has not been our practice in England, though face to face with difficulties and disturbances, to pass Acts of Parliament superseding the ordinary law and putting it in the power of the Home Secretary by a stroke of the pen to say whether the people in a particular county are to have the privilege of trial by jury. We have to face these difficulties; I do not deny them, but we mean to keep along on these lines. We do not anticipate any appalling difficulties, and I deprecate altogether the notion that Ireland is a seething mass of illegality. I am not to be persuaded by quotations, whether acurate or not, from Judges, Lord Chief Justices, or anybody else, from taking a bird's-eye view of the whole of Ireland, which as a whole is a peaceful and law-abiding country. In some parts there is a spirit of lawlessness which I deeply deplore, but which is connected very clearly to my mind with the legislation of this House and with promises made in this House. It is a somewhat demoralising thing to do, and I am not enamoured of it by any means, but it has got to be gone through with now, and for us at this crisis to pretend that it is necessary to govern Ireland by coercion rather than by the ordinary law would be not only unnecessary, but an act of 620 futility and almost of political insanity. Therefore, if we are to look forward to troublous times coming in Ireland, the worst thing I have heard attributed to us is that my rule would bring the Tories back in a year. Is that such a terrible prospect for hon. Gentlemen opposite to contemplate? Is other suffering likely to follow from that? As far as I am concerned, we are prepared to face the future with remedial legislation and with courage, with a courageous administration of the law. They say that we are doing nothing. I wish the hon. Member for Cambridge University would join the Irish Constabulary for a month; at the end of that time he would be able to tell us whether we were doing anything or not. He would find that the whole forces we have at our disposal—and we are ready to increase them if necessary—are placed, and have been placed, within the reach of persons whose property is affected.
§ MR. BUTCHER
I wish to explain to the right hon. Gentleman that he must be thinking of somebody else. I never suggested that the Government were doing nothing. I know what they are doing perfectly well.
§ MR. BIRRELL
Then my ears must have distinctly deceived me. I often say things that I do not mean to say, but I am persuaded that the hon. Gentleman made the accusation that we were doing nothing. I will not press the point but will agree with him that we are doing something, and that cattle have been restored in Roscommon and Galway. [OPPOSITION laughter.] Hon. gentlemen do not seem to mind that. Their one anxiety seems to be to get people into prison. [OPPOSITION cries of "Oh" and "Withdraw."] They do not seem to care that cattle have, with hardly an exception, been restored to their owners under the law of the land, and that those who have sustained damage have been compensated. We do not anticipate any very terrible things in the future, but if the occasion should arise we shall feel it our duty to come to this House and state the facts and receive fresh authority before we try to interfere with the ordinary law. I have never taken part in a debate of this character before, but 621 I quite agree with my colleagues in the Government that this is an Act which, in its permanent character, ought never to have found a place on the Statute-book, and the sooner it is taken off the better.
§ MR. WALTER LONG (Dublin, S.)
Before I proceed to criticise the general remarks of the right hon. Gentleman let me express profound surprise that the Chief Secretary, who does not generally, since the moment when he thought fit to designate hon. Members on this side by an offensive term——
§ MR. BIRRELL
Since the right hon. Gentleman chooses to refer to that, I beg leave to say that I never designated hon. Gentlemen opposite by any name. I simply adopted the usual course and compared their action in a particular matter to that of certain things. In the same way I have heard hon. Members compared here to boa-constrictors and Scottish terries, whose heads are indistinguishable from their tails. Nobody has ever said that by adopting such language they were calling hon. Members by any name.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I do not wish to raise a controversy over this now, but desire to remind the Chief Secretary that when his attention was called to that language in this House he admitted its accuracy and expressed his regret for using it. I do not now understand his denial.
§ MR. BIRRELL
You have said that I designated hon. Gentlemen opposite by an offensive name. I did nothing of the kind; I never called them carrion crows.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
That is a distinction more likely to be effective in the Law Courts than in the House of Commons. But whatever may have been the action of the Chief Secretary on that occasion, he has now, in the memory of the House, stated that the object of hon. Gentlemen on this side is to put their fellow-countrymen into prison.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
From that cheer I understand I am right in assuming that the head of the Irish Bar does not desire, when the evidence is as clear as the light of noonday, that those charge with an offence should be sent to prison. That is the position of right hon. Gentlemen opposite. We have had some wonderful opinions from the head of the Irish Executive and as time goes on they are more remarkable still. The Chief Secretary has told us what his objections to this Act are. I am not in the least surprised at the decision which has been announced. Indeed for my part I may say that if it were not for the fact that changes occur both of Governments and Chief Secretaries and that I believe that this Statutes is necessary in certain cases for the preservation of order in Ireland, I should be prepared to admit that its preservation on the Statute-book is in existing circumstances of no value whatever, because I hold that the Government have not made every effort to put down disorder in Ireland. The Government have not made full use of the powers they possess. A moment ago the Chief Secretary took up a remark made by my hon. friend the Member for the Cambridge University in which the Chief Secretary thought the hon. Member said the Government were doing nothing, and he said he wished that my hon. friend could be for a short time a member of the Royal Irish Constabulary that our charge lies. It is not alleged that they have not, in circumstances of terrible difficulty, done their best. What is said is that these guardians of peace, law, and order in Ireland are not supported by the Government as they ought to be. When we were debating months ago the state of Ireland the Attorney-General laughed at the allusions to cattle-driving, as he always does, and said they were a day too late for the fair, and that cattle-driving was over. What about the Answers the Chief Secretary has been compelled to make to Questions lately. Is cattle-driving over? We have been told it is over now owing to courageous enforcement of the law.
§ MR. WALTER LONG
I do not want to quarrel with the words of the hon. Gentleman. I thought he said "come to an end;" he now says the words he used were "seriously diminished." What of the figures produced recently? Have they been merely indicative of a partial recurrence of this crime? They have been much more that that. They have shown that the number of the cases monthly has been growing; they have indicated a rapid increase; and yet we are told that the ordinary law is sufficient for its purpose when we are dealing with this crime which the Chief Secretary, while denouncing it here, is apparently unable to cope with in the country, and which he seeks in a remarkable way rather to seem to justify by saying that it is the result of our agrarian legislation and that until we have carried through the Land Acts we must expect this kind of thing. Why do I say in connection with this that the police are not to blame, but the Executive? Everybody knows that these cattle raids mean the assembling of a large number of people determined to drive off cattle. The Chief Secretary said it means opening a gate and letting out a certain number of cattle, and that this ought to be put an end to, but is not a serious offence. That can best be judged by those who have to suffer from it. If the Government mean to put this down and are using the police to do so, how is it that we read, in case after case, that the police have been driven back by the mob and have been unable to prevent the mob from carrying out their intention? We have had to deal with mobs before now, with assemblies that had to be put down. We have had to disperse mobs, but when I was responsible for the government of Ireland, the policy was to see in advance that the force of police was sufficient to make it possible and probable that the mobs would be despersed without even the use of the baton. During the time that I was Chief Secretary I had on 624 several occasions to secure the dispersal of meetings and a baton was never drawn. The Government say they do not want the Crimes Act, and yet they are forced to admit, day after day, that the condition of things in certain parts of Ireland is not only deplorable, but such as the forces of the law as at present existing are unable to cope with. The Chief Secretary criticised the Act on four grounds. He said that the Government voted against it when in opposition, and that they supported a Motion for its repeal. It is quite possible that it will not require much argument on their part to say they stand now in the same position that they stood in then. But I am rather astonished at what the Chief Secretary says. He says the sixth section creates a new crime. Many distinguished lawyers hold the contrary; they also nearly all admit that in nearly every respect this law is similar to the law of Scotland. Then it does not seem to be very strong ground for advocating the revocation of this it is never used. That is rather a reason for amending it. Then there is the criticism of the resident magistrates not being fit as compared with the Sheriffs of Scotland. It is a remarkable fact that when the Liberal Government came into office they accepted the denunciations of the resident officials, but how did they propose to fill the vacancies that occurred? Did they seek to alter the conditions? No. The nominees of the Liberal Government were selected from exactly the same class as that from which the Unionist Government made the appointments. It has been the practice in Ireland to appoint a certain number of police officers who have risen to distinction. Everybody who knows the work of the Royal Irish Constabulary in Ireland is aware that they have to be well versed in the law and in the practice of the law if they are going to do their duty without getting into trouble. Therefore I do not think the criticism of the resident magistrate is very serious. The other criticism is that the Act is dependent on the will 625 of the Executive. If the criticism that the Act, is dependent on the will of the Executive is the main objection to the Crimes Act, let it be no longer so dependent; but let it become the general law of the land. No law-abiding man in any part of the kingdom has reason to fear the operations of the Crimes Act. That case has never yet been answered. Do the law officers contend that? In the north of Ireland, not among the rich, wealthy, and well to do, but among the people there is this objection that is to be found among those for whom hon. Gentlemen below the gangway spoke. The Solicitor-Genera sits for a constituency in the country to which I allude. Does he suggest that there is a rooted objection there to this law as being against the rights and privileges of the people? We know that there is no feeling that the Act is an insult to that country. I admit the justice of the criticism of the Chief Secretary regarding the debate, which has become a double debate. The Bill is for the repeal of the Crimes Act, but it is inevitable that those who think this Act ought to be retained, that it might become necessary, in arguing the immediate question should have to discuss existing weak points in the Irish administration. That was the course taken in the debate of 1894. One of my hon. friends quoted a speech made by the Vice-President of Department of Agriculture. I venture to say there is not a word of that speech from beginning to end which those who sit on this side of the House could not take as a pronouncement of their case. Now the Chief Secretary says, and is entitled to say, that they do not want to use this statute; they object to it; they decline to use it; and when I asked for his alternative—I beg the attention of the House to this—while guarding him self by saying that the alternative should come from us and not from him, he gave his alternative in a powerful sentence. He said—If I find such a condition of things in Ireland as requires the imposition of the existing 626 Crimes Act, then I will come to the House and ask for permission to carry such a Bill.How any man who is conversant with the real and grave difficulties which exist in Ireland can make such a proposition passes my comprehension. We were asked last year to say why we thought the Government ought to have used their powers under the Crimes Act in dealing with cattle-driving cases. The Attorney-General used language, Heaven knows, strong enough at that time and used it properly I think, when prosecuting on behalf of the Crown. What we pointed out then was that, because you chose to rely upon the ordinary law, you had to wait for a change of venue for months and months, that these cases were kept hanging over for months before they could be tried, and that you tried only the followers, and not the leaders. If you had used the Crimes Act, you could have got a change of venue, and the case could have been tried while fresh in the minds of the people. The mere fact that you brought the malefactors speedily to trial would have strengthened the Government, and added materially to the prospect of securing a conviction. The Chief Secretary cannot deny, and he has never attempted to deny in answer to Questions, that in some parts of Ireland, only a limited part, happily, in 1894, there were grave difficulties to be dealt with. He admitted that offences of the use of firearms had increased, and he deplored it. He admitted that agrarian offences had increased in certain parts, and he deplored it. But he was unable to say that in any case they had been able to detect the delinquents or secure a conviction. What is the alternative now? The right hon. Gentleman says there is no prospect of a sudden uprising or of any grave condition of things in Ireland. While he would vote for the repeal of the Act, should difficulties arise he would have Parliament summoned, and come here and ask for special legislation. Those who have followed the history of Ireland, who know what has gone on from time to time, must surely realise that this is an 627 alternative which anybody acquainted with that country must condemn as utterly unworthy and utterly inadequate to secure the end in view. Why, when the Government had made up their minds that the condition of things required special laws, and they had come here to vote them through, it would take two, three, or four months to carry the very Bill which they had just removed from the Statute-book. What would be the condition of Ireland and of the suffering people in the meantime? If your only grievance against this Act of Parliament is that it requires amendment, then amend it by all means; but if you admit, as you are forced to admit, that there may be circumstances which require special assistance, if you admit that the law has been insufficient for your purpose in many respects up to the present, why should you take off the Statute-book a measure which, though you no longer use it, may be required, and is there to be used by others, if necessary, for the protection of the innocent and the detection of the guilty? I do not believe there is anything in the Crimes Act which need make any innocent man fear. I believe that there are in this Statute powers whose mere existence, with the knowledge that they can be used, exercises a powerful and direct effect in Ireland for the preservation of law and order. The right hon. Gentleman knows, and all who have followed the history of Ireland know, that as much depends upon the spirit of those who administer the law as upon the mere act that they perform. There are many who will regard this proposal to get rid of the Act of 1887 as a sign of weakness in the Administration. The right hon. Gentleman has deliberately from the beginning declared that he intends to govern Ireland without the aid of special laws, and that he hopes to get peace, the restoration of tranquility in all parts of Ireland, not so much by the general administration of ciriminal law as by legislation which will remove the causes of the difficulty. He 628 talked just now of cattle-driving. He called our attention to the fact that this is only an expression of the desire on the part of the people to possess the grazing land. That was cheered by the Attorney-General. Is that altogether the fact? Take the latest case quoted by my hon. friend behind me, of a farm on the Clancarty estate. I do not know whether the Chief Secretary has had his attention called to that case. It has only occurred within the last two or three days. If he has not may I pray him to take note of it, and to give us information at a later period as to the facts. I am informed that the man who occupied the farm is not a grazier in any sense of the word. He is an ordinary tenant and is precisely similar to the tenants who surround him. Because it was desired to take his ground his cattle were driven off and the ordinary prosecution of his industry was rendered impossible. My hon. friend quoted the case of Mr. Joyce, and hon. Gentlemen below the gangway again charged us with trying to blacken the character of their fellow-countrymen in Ireland because we quoted those cases. This is not a case of blackening men's characters. Nobody would rejoice more than I and my hon. friends behind me if it were rendered unnecessary to refer to these cases by the fact that they no longer existed. Is never a word to be said in this House on behalf of the man who is the occupier of the farm to which I have referred? Is never a world to be said in this House on behalf of a man like Joyce? Are we to assume that all that is necessary is that the Government should look with complacency on cases of this kind and say "We have no power," and do no more? This Act gives you the power, and if need be you can exercise it; if you do not choose to exercise it the responsibility must rest with you, the Government of the day. I for one shall oppose, as I am convinced my hon. friends above the gangway will, this attempt to repeal an Act of Parliament which is there for use if it is required. I would point out that this alternative of the Chief Secretary, 629 of coming to Parliament for special Powers, is certainly open to the criticism that I have already addressed to it. But I think the use of the Crimes Act is practically subject to the same sort of criticism, because if it is put in force in districts under proclamation what happens? This House, if it is in session, is immediately called upon to discuss it, the Government of the day have to justify what they done, and, as we know, certain of the powers cannot be called into operation without reference to this House. That being the case, I repeat that this Act is one which may be necessary, and which I believe if it had been used would have put a stop to cattle-driving altogether eight or ten months ago. We believe it to be necessary as a part of the law which it would not be safe or just to abandon, and I shall vote with profound conviction against the Motion, and for the rejection of the Bill proposed by the hon. Member for Tullamore.
§ MR. J. DEVLIN (Belfast, W.)
said that those Members who had listened to the debate must have been struck by the remarkable character of the speeches of those who had opposed the Bill. He proposed to examine the credentials of those monumental upholders of law and order to whose splendid eulogies of the Crimes Act they had listened. He was somewhat surprised, when listening to the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Dublin, to hear him declare that the law at all costs must be preserved and upheld by the House, the Government, and the country. He did not tell them that he himself was not always a law-abiding citizen; he did not tell them it was not so many months since he was impeached in a Dublin Court for endeavouring to pollute the founts of justice in Ireland. He, an ex-Chief Secretary for Ireland and a gentleman responsible for the whole government and administration of the country, did not tell them that he was impeached, and that owing only to the mercy of the right hon. Gentleman the Attorney-General a 630 heavy fine was not inflicted upon him for his lawlessness. He could not deny that he was impeached in an Irish Court, and that the Lord Chief Baron, one of the most eminent Judges in Ireland, declared that if the right hon. Gentleman had been brought before him he would have inflicted a heavy fine. He did not, therefore, think it lay in the mouth of the right hon. Gentleman to stand there and with his feeble arguments, if violent gesticulations, appeal to English Members of Parliament to put in operation a Coercion Act for the Irish peasant, while he, a gentleman of England, an administrator of the law, a representative of British authority in Ireland, so despised law and order. He took it, having listened to the various counts in the indictment, that the general reasons why the Coercion Act should not be repealed, but rather why it should be brought into operation by the Government, were the following:—First of all, lawlessness. That came from the right hon. Gentleman. The next was boycotting. He would have something to say as to the credentials of the gentleman who made boycotting one of the chief items in the impeachment. The next was intimidation. They would see what the credentials of the gentleman were who spoke of intimidation. Finally, there was crime. Crime, intimidation, boycotting, and lawlessness. He had told the House the character of the chief impeacher of lawlessness. He would now come to the question of boycotting. He was somewhat amazed at the speech of the hon. Member for Cambridge University. He seemed to know everything about Ireland. Sometimes he gave the impression that he knew something about everything, but in this particular instance he knew everything about Ireland. He knew Ireland better than they did. He was better acquainted with its economic, its educational, its agrarian and political history than those who lived in Ireland. Some of his friends could acquaint him with the facts of one of the grossest 631 acts of boycotting that had ever come to his (the speaker's) knowledge. It occurred in one of the most Unionist counties in the north. It was one of the most unfair attempts to deal with the liberty of the subject that had ever been recorded in the history of boycotting. What was the case? ["It has been given already."] Were they ashamed to hear it again? There were more Members in the House now than when it was given before. Perhaps he ought to follow the example of the hon. Gentleman above the gangway and put down a series of Questions every day, showing how criminal was the county of Tyrone, because the most nefarious cases of boycotting took place there under the auspices and guidance of the party supporters of the hon. Gentleman. They were dealing that day with cases of boycotting which sprang from agrarian agitation. It was the same sort of protest which strikers in great industrial communities made against attempts to interfere with their rights and principles. Boycotting in Ireland was the manifestation of the people's protest against the seizure of land which should be theirs and against an agrarian system which even the Leader of the Opposition had admitted to be the worst in the world. What was the case to which he had referred? It was the case of a Catholic sewing mistress employed by a Protestant minister in a Protestant school. She was a teacher of sewing, and not of theology, yet those paragons of virtue who sat on the benches above the gangway, and who filled the Order Paper of the House of Commons every day with the lawlessness of the Irish people, called a public meeting of their supporters and denounced the Protestant minister for employing the woman. The woman protested, and asked to be retained. The minister tried to keep her, telling his constituents that she was not teaching theology, and that there was no harm in her teaching sewing; but they hunted her out, and then came to that House and asked the Government to put into operation the Coercion Act. 632 The people of whom the Unionists complained boycotted landlords, with all their wealth, with all their power, and with the Imperial police at their backs, and faced the consequences; they did not go to Tyrone to boycott women. Not a single one of the Unionists would hurt his finger for any cause or any interest. Here was a case of genuine lawlessness on the front bench, a case of boycotting in its most acute and malignant form. The gentleman who led this propaganda, the inspiring agent of this campaign, was Mr. Cook, who was, it appeared, on the bench of magistrates administering justice. He would like to know, if he had been a Nationalist, would he have been retained on the bench even by the present Lord Chancellor for Ireland? He had dealt with lawlessness and boycotting. Let him go on to intimidation. Was there ever a more cruel case of intimidation than that disclosed in the Bailey correspondence? It was a case of Members of that House attacking an official who was discharging his duty according to an Act of Parliament—not a Liberal but a Tory official, appointed to administer the Land Act by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover, and because Mr. Bailey desired to administer the Land Act according to the views and aspirations expressed at the time by the Government—and he was the only official he knew who had endeavoured to do so—the hon. and learned Member for Armagh wrote him a letter threatening him that if he continued his policy of doing justice to tenants and landlords alike and holding the scales evenly between the two parties concerned he would be dismissed when the Tory party came into power. The hon. Member who had attacked a public official in this way came to the House of Commons and paraded his own virtue. They all came there to parade their own virtues, though, in his opinion, they had shown themselves to be the greatest enemies of law when the law was not to their liking, the greatest agents of disorder when order did not suit 633 them, the best friends of intimidation when intimidation was to be used as an official instrument for the purpose of intimidating those who were opposed to them. Now let him come to the question of crime. This had not only been a debate upon the repeal of the Coercion Act, but it had been also a demand that the Government and the Chief Secretary should put the Coercion Act into operation. But what did the recent official Returns show? They showed that while there was absolutely no crime in twenty counties, while Ireland to-day was the most crimeless country in the world, while in many cases the Judges were being presented with white gloves, in the only counties in which there was any increase of crime were the counties of Down, Derry, and Antrim, represented by the Gentlemen who wanted coercion. Coercion might be a good thing or it might be a bad thing. If it was a good thing, why was it not put into operation in the Northern counties? He himself would oppose the Coercion Act as bitterly for Portadown as he would for Limerick. He wanted to know how the people in the Unionist parts of Ulster would like it if trial by jury were suspended because on the 12th of July there was lawlessness, if the freedom of the Press were abolished, if two removable magistrates were sent up from Cork to sit and convict, to send Protestant ministers and Unionist Members of Parliament to gaol for six months, and compel them to associate with ordinary criminals under the ordinary routine of the prisons. He wondered how long the Unionists of Ulster would submit to a system like that. When they were told that these removable and resident magistrates tribunals were established because convictions could not be secured, let the House remember that when they were established the Government took mighty good care that there was a conviction in every case. Under trial by jury a conviction was obtained sometimes. Under trial by resident magistrates convictions 634 were always secured whether the man tried was guilty or not. Let the House remember who these prisoners were Members of Parliament, priests, county councillors, men eminent in their localities, and honoured by their own people, and it was rarely that one of these men escaped conviction once they were impeached, simply for defending the people in their natural protest against wrong, and in their passionate desire to have restored to them the land which an Act of Parliament had declared ought to be theirs. They had heard a good deal about cattle-driving. He hoped the House would understand what cattle-driving was. There had been more cattle houghing in England during two years than in Ireland in ten years, with the possible exception of the cattle houghing carried on by Sergeant Sheridan, one of the agents of the Tory Administration, who had to leave the country because he was found committing these crimes. Cattle-driving must be morally good or morally bad. His own experience in Ireland was that most of the reforms they had succeeded in securing for Ireland had been won by a not too squeamish desire to observe the law. He had always found that the way to ensure a Governmental promise being kept was to stir up public opinion in Ireland and keep the grievances of the people before the Administration. Cattle-driving to a large extent had been a purely harmless proceeding. He had seen one part of County Mayo where nearly twenty small tenants were living on patches of five acres of barren land, and right in front of these wretched cottages were 6,000 acres of the richest land in the county, owned by one man. In Ireland their natural passion was to live on the land. They could not get people to live on the land in England. It was one of their greatest difficulties in dealing with economic and social problems. In Ireland they wanted to live on the land, but were not permitted. He held it was the intention of the Land Act of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover, the spirit in which it 635 was accepted by Members at all events, that almost immediately steps should be taken to have those vast grazing lands distributed to the people who were living in wretchedness, and economic holdings created. That was not done. Cattle-driving was a logical and inevitable consequence of broken Tory promises. Let the House remember that the moment the spirit of the Act of Parliament was carried into operation cattle-driving would cease. It would never by ended by the application of coercive measures. There was more crime in Ireland when they were imprisoning Members of Parliament and priests than when they were endeavouring to solve these problems on constitutional lines. When they heard these flippant denunciations of the only methods that the people had to get these lands distributed, he hoped it would be remembered that they were only endeavouring to put into operation an Act of Parliament. With regard to the Coercion Act it might be asked why, if the Act was not in operation, they wanted it repealed. They wanted it repealed because it was an Act which branded the Irish people as a race of criminals. There was no such Act of Parliament in England or Scotland. There ought to be no such Act of Parliament in Ireland. They asked for its repeal because it could be brought into operation at the caprice of a Minister. The Chief Secretary said he did not need it. The right hon. Member for South Dublin said he might need it and that he wanted it, and the meaning of that declaration was that when his Party got back to power they would once more arouse these old passions and prejudices which had done so much to destroy the good feeling and amity which they desired to exist between all that was generous in England and all that was generous in Ireland. They wanted the Act repealed because they believed that while it stood upon the Statute-book it would be regarded as a national insult, and they would take every opportunity that was presented to make their protest 636 and to bring the necessary influence to bear upon the Government to remove from the Statute-book an Act that would never have been passed if it were not for the methods employed—The Times forgeries, and the propaganda that was carried on in 1887 and 1888 to blacken the fair fame and to outrage the national spirit of a country that was universally admitted to be the most crimeless in the world. They had brought this Bill forward in order that the brand might be taken from the brow of Ireland. They regarded it as an insult. They believed it unneeded. They had the declaration of the Chief Secretary that, as he conceived, it was much more possible to create contentment in Ireland, or at all events a passive respect for the law, than by keeping the Act on the Statute-book or bringing it into operation. The best way to get rid of evils in Ireland was not by driving them under the surface but by rooting them out altogether. What was the moral to be drawn from that discussion? Twenty years ago Mr. Gladstone introduced his Home Rule Bill and told the English people that at the end of nearly 100 years English rule in Ireland had been a failure. Repression, coercion, and persecution had been tried, and had not succeeded, and they invited the people of England, Scotland and Wales to try the other alternative of peace, conciliation, and appeasement. That policy was denied recognition by the Unionist Party, and Lord Salisbury offered the alternative policy of twenty years of resolute government. Twenty years had come and gone. There had not been a single instrument of torture that could be applied under a so-called constitutional regime that had not been brought into play against Ireland. They abolished trial by jury, practically suspended the constitution, destroyed the liberty of the Press, imprisoned the representatives of the people, and hunted, in that period of twenty years, 40,000 a year of their people across the seas. Were they nearer the solution of the Irish problem now than at the beginning of the period? 637 They were discussing not how to end this weary war between two great peoples, but whether the chains might be still more firmly rivetted upon Ireland, upon a race which even their enemies had admitted had played so mighty a part in the building up of Colonial greatness and was the marvel of the world in the United States for its splendid genius for government. They were discussing again whether the Coercion Act was to be put in operation or whether it should be repealed. Hon. Gentlemen above the gangway were arguing that the Act was not put into operation. That was their policy. Was that worthy of Irishmen—for he held they were Irishmen. At all events they represented Irish constituencies. Could they not possibly sometimes think well of their own country? Was it not a scandal to find that a number of Irishmen could find no more fruitful occupation in that Imperial Parliament than to be engaged in a constant propaganda of slandering their own countrymen and ever exposing their weaknesses? Granted it were all true, was it patriotic or an honourable pursuit? He would not dream of putting down a Question that would bring shame to the cheek of any Ulster Unionist or scandal to the province from which he came. He would not mind in the slightest degree what capital it made for his party or for the cause which he represented. To him it was an abhorrent task, a proceeding unworthy of men who, at all events, loved their country, he believed, and ought to find some higher object in life than to hold it up to the scorn and ridicule of another country. For these reasons, and because he was convinced that the solution of the Irish problem lay in a generous recognition of what was good in Ireland rather than in a policy of repression with only evil results, he appealed to the House to carry this measure of repeal and wipe off the Statute-book of England the stain which degraded it and, at all events, until they gave Ireland Home Rule, restore to them the constitutional right 638 of freedom which they enjoyed in England.
§ MR. MOORE
said that in the very few moments that were left to him he would certainly not follow the hon. Member into the subject matter of two-thirds of his speech. He had often heard the hon. Member speak but did not remember a single occasion on which he did not conceive that it strengthened his position or helped his argument to attack the personal character of all those who differed from him. Fortunately he was endowed by nature with such methods of attack that the persons who were supposed to be injured could very readily disregard them. He had one classical model. He was sorry he had not Pope's translation of the Iliad of Homer. Exactly the same line was taken up by Thersites in his counsel to the Greeks before the war of Troy. He suggested that the hon. Member should read it, and see if he could not bring himself nearer to the model he had voluntarily selected. They had had presented to them the bogus case of Sweeney v. Cook, which was dismissed by the highest Court of Appeal in Ireland, whose decision was affirmed by the House of Lords. It did not afford a very substantial peg on which to hang a suggestion of boycotting against Members on these benches. What were the facts? It was a bogus blackmailing action brought before the Irish Court of Appeal, who found against the protegé of the hon. Member below the gangway. The hon. Member could get English Radical Members to believe almost anything about the Court of Appeal in Ireland because it was only an Irish Court, but if he was going to carry his argument so far as to say that the Law Lords acted corruptly in the case in dismissing it as unfounded and unsustainable, and hon. Members opposite believed it, they were ready to accept a great deal more from him than they had done up to the present. Then they had been attacked because, in pursuance of what they thought their duty, they had 639 brought and intended in the future still to bring, notwithstanding their censures, to the notice of the Imperial Parliament the wrongs, miseries, and cruelties that were daily being inflicted on isolated subjects of the King in Ireland. Why should they not? It was said in theory they had the Executive to protect them. They had the King's Courts. He regretted to say in the presence of the Chief Secretary that in nine cases out of ten the protection which they received from the Executive in Ireland was wholly inadequate. There was a conviction in every man's mind that the Executive did not wish to protect them. The Royal Irish Constabulary felt that if they stepped by a hair's breadth beyond the law in giving protection—and an emergency sometimes called for some action—to one one of these unfortunate individuals, he would be thrown over by the Executive.
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W||Henry, Charles S.|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Corbett, C H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)|
|Agnew, George William||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Higham, John Sharp|
|AinsWorth, John Stirling||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Hobart, Sir Robert|
|Alden, Percy||Crooks, William||Hogan, Michael|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Crosfield, A. H.||Holt, Richard Durning|
|Ambrose, Robert||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Horniman, Emslie John|
|Astbury, John Meir||Delany, William||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Devlin, Joseph||Hudson, Walter|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Dillon, John||Jackson, R. S.|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred|
|Beale, W. P.||Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea|
|Beauchamp, E.||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Jones, Leif (Appleby)|
|Bell, Richard||Elibank, Master of||Jowett, F. W.|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Joyce, Michael|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Everett, R. Lacey||Kennedy, Vincent Paul|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Ferens, T. R.||Kincaid-Smith, Captain|
|Boland, John||Ffrench, Peter||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Findlay, Alexander||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Lamont, Norman|
|Bright, J. A.||Fuller, John Michael F.||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Fullerton, Hugh||Layland-Barratt, Francis|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Gibb, James (Harrow)||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Grant, Corrie||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Gurdon, Rt Hn Sir W. Brampton||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas|
|Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Lupton, Arnold|
|Byles, William Pollard||Hall, Frederick||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Cameron, Robert||Halpin, J.||Maclean, Donald|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Haworth, Arthur A.||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Hayden, John Patrick||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hazleton, Richard||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.|
|Clough, William||Helme, Norval Watson||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||M'Callum, John M.|
§ MR. MOORE
said he made it on his own knowledge and experience, and his opinion was entitled to as much weight as that of the Chief Secretary on a matter of opinion. Then they had the King's Courts. To what had the Attorney-General reduced the King's Courts in Ireland? They knew perfectly well that trial by jury, when it came to vindicate or assert the protection of the individual, had ceased to exist.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 209 Noes, 76. (Division List No. 79.)
|M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Parker, James (Halifax)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|M'Kean, John||Perks, Robert William||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|M'Laren, Sir C. B. (Leicester)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||Verney, F. W.|
|Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Power, Patrick Joseph||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Marnham, F. J.||Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E.||Wadsworth, J.|
|Meagher, Michael||Radford, G. H.||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.||Raphael, Herbert H.||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.||Reddy, M.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent|
|Menzies, Walter||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'n|
|Money, L. G. Chiozza||Redmond, William (Clare)||Wardle, George J.|
|Montagu, E. S.||Rees, J. D.||Waring, Walter|
|Mooney, J. J.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan|
|Morrell, Philip||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Murnaghan, George||Roe, Sir Thomas||Watt, Henry A.|
|Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Myer, Horatio||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Schwann, Sir C. E.(Manchester||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Nicholson, Charles N.(Doncast'r||Sears, J. E.||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Nolan, Joseph||Seaverns, J. H.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Williamson, A.|
|Nuttall, Harry||Sheehy, David||Wilson, Henry J. (York W. R.)|
|O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|O'Brien, William (Cork)||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Soares, Ernest J.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Stanger, H. Y.||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Steadman, W. C.||Young, Samuel|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)||Yoxall, James Henry|
|O'Grady, J.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N||Stuart, James (Sunderland)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|O'Malley, William||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)||Ctaptain Donelan and Mr.|
|O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury||Patrick O'Brien.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fardell, Sir T. George||Nield, Herbert|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Fell, Arthur||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gardner, Ernest||Percy, Earl|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hamilton, Marquess of||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Helmsley, Viscount||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hills, J. W.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Kerry, Earl of||Renton, Leslie|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Keswick, William||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kimber, Sir Henry||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Cave, George||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Starkey, John R.|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn J. A. (Worc.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham||M'Arthur, Charles||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wortley, Rt. Hn. C. B. Stuart-|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Craig, Captain James(Down, E.)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Moore, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Cross, Alexander||Morpeth, Viscount||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Viscount Valentia.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield|
§ Question put accordingly, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
|Abraham, William(Cork, N.E.)||Hall, Frederick||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Halpin, J.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Agnew, George William||Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Grady, J.|
|Alden, Percy||Hazleton, Richard||O'Kelly, James(Roscommon, N|
|Ambrose, Robert||Helme, Norval Watson||O'Malley, William|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Astbury, John Meir||Henry, Charles S.||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Perks, Robert William|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Higham, John Sharp||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Hobart, Sir Robert||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Hogan, Michael||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Holt, Richard Durning||Price, Robert John (Norfolk, E.)|
|Beale, W. P.||Horniman, Emslie John||Radford, G. H.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Bell, Richard||Hudson, Walter||Reddy, M.|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Idris, T. H. W.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Jackson, R. S.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Boland, John||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor(Swansea||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Joyce, Michael||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Bright, J. A.||Kekewich, Sir George||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Kincaid-Smith, Captain||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Schwann, Sir C. E.(Manchester)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Laidlaw, Robert||Sears, J. E.|
|Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Lamont, Norman||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Byles, William Pollard||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Cameron, Robert||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Sheehy, David|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Lewis, John Herbert||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lupton, Arnold||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Clough, William||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Steadman, W. C.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Maclean, Donald||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Corbett, C H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||MaeVeigh, Charles(Donegal, E.)||Tennant, Sir Edward(Salisbury|
|Crooks, William||M'Callum, John M.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||M'Kean, John||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Delany, William||Mallet, Charles E.||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Devlin, Joseph||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Verney, F. W.|
|Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Marnham, F. J.||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Meagher, Michael||Wadsworth, J.|
|Dillon, John||Meehan, Francis E.(Leitrim, N.)||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Duncan, C.(Barrow-in-Furness||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.||Walker, H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Duncan, J. H. (York, Otley)||Menzies, Walter||Ward, John (Stoke upon Trent)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'n|
|Elibank, Master of||Mooney, J. J.||Wardle, George J.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Morrell, Philip||Waring, Walter|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Murnaghan, George||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Findlay, Alexander||Myer, Horatio||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Nannetti, Joseph P.||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||Nolan, Joseph||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||Nuttall, Harry||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Grant, Corrie||O'Brien, Kendal(Tipperary Mid||Wiles, Thomas|
|Gurdon, Rt. Hn. Sir W. Brampton||O'Brien, William (Cork)||Williamson, A.|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||O'Connor, James(Wicklow, W.)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
§ The House divided:—Ayes, 201; Noes, 77. (Division List No. 80.)
|Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—|
|Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)||Young, Samuel||Captain Donelan and Mr.|
|Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)||Yoxall, James Henry||Patrick O'Brien.|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fardell, Sir T. George||Nield, Herbert|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Fell, Arthur||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gardner, Ernest||Percy, Earl|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O||Hamilton, Marquess of||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashf'rd||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Helmsley, Viscount||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hills, J. W.||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bull, Sir William James||Kennaway, Rt. Hn. Sir John H.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Kerry, Earl of||Renton, Leslie|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Keswick, William||Roberts. S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Kimber, Sir Henry||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Cave, George||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt. -Col. A. R.||Smith, Hon. W. F. D. (Strand)|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Long, Col. Charles W.(Evesham)||Starkey, John R.|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn. J. A. (Worc.||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G.(Oxf'd Univ|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Coates, E. Feetham (Lewisham)||M'Arthur, Charles||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Corbett, A Cameron (Glasgow)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Craig, Capt, James (Down, E.)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Moore, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Sir|
|Cross, Alexander||Morpeth, Viscount||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Viscount Valentia.|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Nicholson, Wm. G.(Petersfield)|
§ Main Question put, and agreed to. Bill read a second time.
|The House divided:—Ayes, 74; Noes, 190. (Division List No. 81.)|
|Anson, Sir William Reynell||Fardell, Sir T. George||O'Neill, Hon. Robert Torrens|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major||Fell, Arthur||Percy, Earl|
|Arkwright, John Stanhope||Gardner, Ernest||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Arnold-Forster, Rt. Hn. Hugh O||Hamilton, Marquess of||Randles, Sir John Scurrah|
|Balcarres, Lord||Hardy, Laurence (Kent, Ashford||Rasch, Sir Frederic Carne|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Ratcliff, Major R. F.|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Helmsley, Viscount||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Hills, J. W.||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Bull, Sir William James||Kerry, Earl of||Renton, Leslie|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Kimber, Sir Henry||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edw. H.||Lambton, Hon. Frederick Wm.||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Lockwood, Rt. Hn. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos. Myles|
|Cave, George||Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Long, Rt. Hn. Walter (Dublin, S.||Starkey, John R.|
|Cecil, Lord John P. Joicey-||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Chamberlain, Rt Hn J. A.(Wore||M'Arthur, Charles||Talbot, Rt. Hn. J. G. (Oxf'd Univ|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||M'Calmont, Colonel James||Thornton, Percy M.|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Magnus, Sir Philip||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thos. H. A. E.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Wolff, Gustav Wilhelm|
|Criag, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.||Moore, William||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen)||Wyndham, Rt. Hon. George|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Morpeth, Viscount|
|Cross, Alexander||Morrison- Bell, Captain||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Sir|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield||Alexander Acland-Hood and|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Nield, Herbert||Viscount Valentia.|
§ Motion made, and Question put, "That the Bill be committed to a Committee of the Whole House."—(Mr. Long.)
|Abraham, William (Cork, N.E.)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Henry, Charles S.||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Agnew, George William||Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||Power, Patrick Joseph|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Higham, John Sharp||Radford, G. H.|
|Alden, Percy||Hobart, Sir Robert||Raphael, Herbert H.|
|Ambrose, Robert||Hogan, Michael||Reddy, M.|
|Ashton, Thomas Gair||Holt, Richard Durning||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Astbury, John Meir||Horniman, Emslie John||Redmond, William (Clare)|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Hudson, Walter||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Idris, T. H. W.||Roberts, John H. (Denbighs.)|
|Barry, E. (Cork, S.)||Illingworth, Percy H.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.||Jackson, R. S.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Beauchamp, E.||Jacoby, Sir James Alfred||Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)|
|Bell, Richard||Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Jones, Leif (Appleby)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Joyce, Michael||Schwann, Sir C. E.(Manchester)|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Kekewich, Sir George||Sears, J. E.|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Seaverns, J. H.|
|Boland, John||King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Bottomley, Horatio||Laidlaw, Robert||Sheehy, David|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Lamont, Norman||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Smeaton, Donald Mackenzie|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Layland-Barratt, Francis||Stanger, H. Y.|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Lewis, John Herbert||Steadman, W. C.|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Lupton, Arnold||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Byles, William Pollard||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Stuart, James (Sunderland)|
|Cameron, Robert||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radclffe)|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Clough, William||M'Callum, John M.||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||M'Hugh, Patrick A.||Torrance, Sir A. M.|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W||M'Kean, John||Verney, F. W.|
|Corbett, C H (Sussex, E. Grinst'd||Mallet, Charles E.||Villiers, Ernest Amherst|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Wadsworth, J.|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Marnham. F. J.||Waldron, Laurence Ambrose|
|Crooks, William||Meagher, Michael||Walker. H. De R. (Leicester)|
|Crosfield, A. H.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent|
|Davies, Timothy (Fulham)||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampt'n|
|Delany, William||Menzies, Walter||Wardle, George J.|
|Devlin, Joseph||Mooney, J. J.||Waring, Walter|
|Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Morrell, Philip||Wason, Rt. Hn. E (Clackmannan|
|Dillon, John||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Murnaghan, George||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Elibank, Master of||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Watt, Henry A.|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas||Murphy, N. J. (Kilkenny, S.)||White, Sir George (Norfolk)|
|Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Myer, Horatio||White, J. D. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Nannetti, Joseph P.||White, Luke (York, E. R.)|
|Ferens, T. R.||Nolan, Joseph||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Norton, Capt. Cecil William||Whitley, John Henry (Halifax)|
|Findlay, Alexander||Nuttall, Harry||Wiles, Thomas|
|Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||O'Brien, Kendal (Tipperary Mid||Williamson, A.|
|Fuller, John Michael F.||O'Brien, William (Cork)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|Gibb, James (Harrow)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Grant, Corrie||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Gurdon, Rt Hn Sir W. Brampton||O'Doherty, Philip||Young, Samuel|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||O'Grady, J.||Yoxall, James Henry|
|Halpin, J.||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N|
|Haworth, Arthur A.||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—|
|Hayden, John Patrick||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Captain Donelan and Mr.|
|Hazleton, Richard||Parker, James (Halifax)||Patrick O'Brien.|
|Helme, Norval Watson||Perks, Robert William|
§ Bill committed to a Standing Committee.648
§ Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3.
|Adjourned at twenty-six minutes after Five o'clock till Monday next.|