§ Order for Second Reading read.
§ Mr. MOORE
I beg to move "That the Bill be now read a second time."
I feel that I ought to apologise for the absence of my hon. and gallant Friend (Captain Craig), whose name stands first on the Bill. He cannot be here to-day, and I hope to put before the House what are the objects of the Bill. The House will observe that the Bill is to alter the system of appointing assistant revising barristers in Ireland. When I say "alter" I mean that the proposal is simply to make the system of appointment in Ireland exactly the same as it is in England at the present day. The system of revising barristers became necessary in England on the extension of the franchise in 1885. In the United Kingdom there was a great deal more revision work to be done, and in Ireland the County Court judge, being the normal person to revise the registers, found that there was so much extra work thrown upon him that assistant barristers were appointed, and they received their appointment from the Lord Lieutenant. In England, in the same year that the Act was passed, every appointment of an assistant revising barrister was made by the senior judge going on Assize. I think the judges who make these appointments must be on the circuit, and the vital difference between the two systems is this, that in Ireland the appointments are made by the Executive, and necessarily made by the party in power, while in England the appointments are made by a non-political authority. What we wish to do is to take out from the patronage of a political party in Ireland the making of these appointments. I hope I shall be able to satisfy the House how unfairly the present system works, and to show that the patronage should be put into the hands of a non-political authority, as in England. I do not think it is a very unreasonable request, but I am bound to say that we [Unionists from Ireland] never yet have moved a Bill from these benches in respect of which either the Chief Secretary or the Leader of the Nationalist party has not been able to find some sort of reason for objecting to it, and although I wish to put the facts 1268 fairly and moderately before the House, I do not believe we will ever have the least chance of passing a Bill in existing circumstances. The present procedure under which revising barristers are appointed by the Executive has, I think I may say, worked very well until the last few years.
Notice taken, at a quarter after Twelve of the clock, that forty Members were not present. House told by Mr. Speaker, and thirty Members only being present, Mr. Speaker retired from the Chair.
At one minute before Three o'clock, House counted by Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Mr. Whitley), and forty Members being found present—
§ The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. Ellis Griffith)
He will be here in a moment.
§ Mr. MOORE
We had to wait, and I do not see why he did not, because I was just interrupted at the moment when I was about to explain to the House how, under his treatment, the administration of this Act had become a perfect scandal in Ireland. I quite understand the-anxiety of the Government Whip to keep his men out of the House, and I. can quite understand, too, the Nationalist Members leaving the House. In the interval of adjournment, I was thinking as to what was likely to happen to a Unionist minority in a Dublin Parliament. The probability is that the Nationalist Members would get up and leave the House as soon as the minority wanted to raise a grievance. It was easy for the Nationalist Members to enter now that a House had been formed, but when the Speaker, before the adjournment, called on "strangers" to withdraw, the Nationalist Members also withdrew, rather than allow an Irish grievance to be discussed.
I think our treatment in this House is what it is likely to be in a Dublin Parliament. Every tactical or technical device in the way of unfairness which could be used against the Unionist minority would be used. What chance would that minority have? There may be on the Nationalist 1269 and Government Benches those who desire to burke discussion owing to the fact that they do not wish such a disgraceful scandal as exhibited in their treatment of the working of this Act to be exposed. This is quite a modest Bill. It is to adapt the English procedure to Ireland for the appointment of revising barristers. In England revising barristers are appointed by judges; that is by a non-political authority. In Ireland they are appointed by the Executive, and the appointment, of course, is purely political. I should like to point out, that although this Act has been in force since 1886, under Unionist and Liberal Governments there has never been any complaint as to the working of it until the right hon. Gentleman assumed the reins of his office. If there had been any unfairness, anything such as we complain of now, I am sure the House, on whatever side hon. Members sit, would have had it remedied. Especially, if it had been an Unionist Government, hon. Members below the Gangway would have dragged it out and exposed it to the light of day. Up to 1910, certainly up till 1906, the party that was in power never made any partisan appointments. Barristers were selected to assist in the revision, to assist the County Court judges, and it was a point of honour, even with the Liberal Government of 1892–5, that no appointment should be made that was partisan or that could reasonably give offence. I may say this also, that there never was a case of a defeated candidate in Ireland, after defeat, being made a revising barrister. A man has a perfect right to stand for Parliament if he wishes. He has a perfect right afterwards to accept a judicial appointment. I make no complaint of the Nationalists who stand for Parliament, and who subsequently become County Court judges. When they are appointed they are not dependent upon the favour of any party.
But if you make a man a revising barrister you only make him one for three weeks of the year at the outside. He is judged by his results by the party in power, and he has, I think, to look to the interests of the party in power. I think it was rather scandalous, and contrary to one's sense of fair play, that for the first time in the administration of this Act, that of four defeated Liberal candidates at the January election of 1910, three of them—I think the fourth did not apply—were appointed revising barristers in the September following. That is not the English 1270 idea of fair play. That would not be possible in England, because the judges appoint, and I do not think a judge in England, I do not care to which side he belongs, would appoint a defeated candidate. The work of these appointments is not judicial, it is purely political. Fancy a man who is a Liberal candidate canvassing for Liberal votes—doing it as in this case—and nine months afterwards deciding in another constituency whether a Liberal or Conservative should get on the register. That is not fair administration. I would like to go further. There were thirty-three revising barristers appointed in Ireland last year. The numbers vary, but the normal number may be taken as about thirty. Surely if these gentlemen must be appointed revising barristers, it would be far better they should be sent to revise Nationalist parts of Ireland. I put that as a proposition of fairness. What happened? The appointment of these gentlemen is in the hands of the Executive, and these gentlemen were put to revise Unionist constituencies where the candidate is usually returned by a very small figure. You could not pick out from the point of view of either side more "dicky" constituencies than those that these Liberal candidates are sent to revise. I say that is not fair play, and I say it destroys all idea of fairness in the administration of justice.
§ Mr. MOORE
Mr. Brown was a candidate and fought my hon. Friend the Member for North Derry, and he was made revising barrister in South Dublin, which is a seat we only lost in 1910. I do not want to give names. I think my statement ought to be taken without the name, because the facts cannot be contradicted. If you want more names I might mention that Mr. Williamson fought my hon. Friend the Member for East Down, and he was made 1271 a revising barrister in Tyrone. There is no dispute about these things. I assure hon. Members I do not want intentionally to make any mistake. I do not want to give names. I am a member of the Bar myself. This Bill was to have been moved by my hon. Friend (Captain Craig), but he is not here and I have taken his place. I do not shrink from a matter of duty, and I think all fair-minded people ought to take the opportunity of expressing dissatisfaction with this system. We want to assimilate the Irish practice to that in England, because that would put aside all suggestions of unfairness and all genuine cause of complaints. There have been protests in the Press, and I think 100 meetings were held on account of the scandals that have prevailed. I think it is bad for the administration of justice, and I cannot see how any fair-minded man could object to a change of the system whereby revising barristers should be appointed by a non-political body. I do not object to all these revising barristers. There were I think thirty-three appointed last year, and of that thirty-three there were I think twenty Nationalists. I believe of these twenty men, with the exception of one or two, eighteen out of the twenty would act as fairly as any Unionist. The list includes seven Protestant Home Rulers. I do not care for Protestant Home Rulers, but except three or four I think nothing could be said against the rest. There are three or four gentlemen—I am not going to say that it is intentional—whose frame of mind makes them partisans, and such partisans that they cannot bring themselves to believe that any Unionist ever swears the truth anymore than they could bring themselves to believe that any Nationalists claimants swear what is false. I say no Parliamentary candidate on either side should be made a revising barrister.
There are three or four of these gentlemen so notoriously partisan, that the proceedings of their Courts are a public scandal. The Chief Secretary knows who they are, and he ought to see that such partsians are not appointed. The Chief Secretary was asked something about these appointments and he said everybody in Ireland have their own political opinion. Why not? We do not object to that. There is a barrister, Mr. Lynch, who is a very staunch Nationalist, who was appointed for Belfast, and I believe there is no Unionist who would not allow his 1272 case to be decided by Mr. Lynch. He is a perfectly staunch Nationalist and a perfectly honest man. I said I did not wish to mention names, but while there is general dissatisfaction in the Province of Ulster with a great many of these appointments, there is one man whose name which has come to be so notorious that I must mention it. His conduct has been protested against in letter after letter in the Northern papers, and meetings of protest and indignation have been held against his action. As a matter of fact I am making no private attack on this man the whole thing is a public matter. I refer to the case of Mr. Patton. Mr. Patton and Mr. Lynch were appointed to revise West Belfast. Mr. Patton is a Protestant Home Ruler and Mr. Lynch is a Catholic Nationalist. From start to finish there has been no complaint against Mr. Lynch or his course of action. We differ from him in politics, but he is an upright judge. Mr. Patton is not a defeated Liberal candidate, but he is the next candidate for Derry city. [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no!"] I may be wrong, but that is his reputation. He spoke at the by-election in Derry in 1913. I do not complain of his speech, but I ask the House to say whether this gentleman who makes a speech of this tenor, ought to be appointed a revising barrister. This is what he said:—Speaking to the voters of Derry, what I say is this: Some people who are not Catholics will vote with you. But—and this is the word I would like to remain in the minds of my Nationalist friends—the Catholic people of, Derry must go to the ballot booths as a solid unit. I ask the Catholic voters in Derry to go to the poll on the appointed day with the treasured wrongs of three centuries flaming in their blood. I have now got tired of producing instances of Catholic tolerance. Let us have one single instance of Protestant tolerance. Forget Belfast and all the well-paid lines of employment from which the Catholic is now ousted. These things will cure themselves.And after making that public attack on the hustings at the Derry by-election, where he had a perfect right to go, the Government had no right to make that man a revising barrister in West Belfast.
§ Mr. MOORE
A man who makes a speech like that in support of the Radical candidate and attacks Belfast, should not be put into a judicial position in Belfast nine months later. There are two Courts in West Belfast. One Court, presided over by Mr. Patton, deals with Nationalist claims and Unionist objections. The other Court, over which Mr. Lynch presides, deals with Unionist claims and 1273 Nationalist objections. In Ireland it has frequently been said that elections are won in the Revision Courts, and I think that applies with great truth to nearly every constituency in Ireland except West Belfast, because not only are they overset in the Revision Courts in Belfast, but they are overset by personation on the day of the polls. I should say that in West Belfast the arts of electioneering have been brought up to a higher state of perfection than anywhere else, and they win by perjury in the Revision Courts and personation. [An HON. MEMBER: "On which side?"] On the Nationalist side. West Belfast contains what may be described as the only slum quarter of the town. There are in West Belfast street after street of four-roomed houses.
§ Mr. MOORE
But this is Nationalist Belfast. These are four-roomed houses, built originally for the occupation of one family. For the sake of manufacturing votes, which is a prominent industry in West Belfast, these four-roomed houses are made to produce two votes. The only sanitary accommodation which these houses have are the usual offices and a water-closet.
§ Mr. MOORE
Yes, and every time the corporation has tried to deal with them they have been opposed by the Nationalist Members in this House and the Nationalist members of the corporation, because they would rather keep the insanitary conditions than run the chance of losing their seats. These four-roomed houses have got only ordinary sanitary accommodation. The water is laid on in the backyard, and if you are going to put two families into these houses, one on the top floor and the other on the lower floor, the people on the top floor, who get a vote, would naturally go down through the kitchen to use the lavatory accommodation in the yard, and they would take their water from the yard. Ordinary common sense would satisfy anyone as to that. Now, if it is established that the man upstairs comes down and passes through the kitchen downstairs, either to go to the offices or draw water, then the man on the lower floor loses his rote. That is a case which has 1274 been fought again and again in the Revision Courts in West Belfast. Nationalist claimants come forward and say, "My father is the tenant of this house and I live upstairs. My father never comes upstairs; and, what is more, I never go to use the lavatory downstairs, and I never draw my water there, because if I did I should have to go through the kitchen." There is a typical case of the proceedings before Mr. Patton, in which the upstairs occupier claimed the vote. In one case the claimant was asked, "How do you get rid of the slops?" and he replied that they never got rid of their slops, but carried them out. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"] And this shows that perjury can be developed' to a fine art.
Here is another case where the claimant occupied the upper part of the house, and the lower part was occupied by a man named Mulholland. If there was a right of way through Mulholland's kitchen to the lavatory, the man on the upper floor would lose his vote, and this man was asked, "Do you ever use any other part of his premises?" and he replied," Certainly not." Then he was asked, "Not even to go to the yard?" and he replied "No." Then he was asked, "What do you do with your slops?" and he replied, "Put them down the grate." He was asked, "Where?" and he replied, "Down at the foot of another street." He was asked, "What street?" and he said, "I do not know." He was asked, "Where is this grate?" and he answered, "It is down at the opening of Servia Street." One witness said that the slops were emptied in this way two or three times a week. There are quite a hundred of these cases, in which the claimants swore that they lived upstairs and carried their slops out once or twice a week rather than utilise the sanitary accommodation of the yard. They declare that they carry the water in, and that they never use the lavatory accommodation. One man said that when he wanted lavatory accommodation he went to a public-house, and when further questioned he said that he could not tell exactly where the public-house was. Of course, this matter had to be tested. It would be a very scandalous state of affairs for any corporation to allow this state of things to go on. The hon. Member below the Gangway suggested that the Belfast Corporation were liable and responsible for allowing such insanitary conditions 1275 to exist, but perhaps I may point out in reply to that remark that the corporation took the matter up. They had an inquiry. They took thirty-two of the worst eases and they sent a reputable inspector to inquire, and he found that in every one of these eases those people who in the Revision Court swore they never used the downstair premises were doing so every day. Nevertheless, in those cases, Mr. Patton put them on the register.
Mr. W. A. REDMOND
Did the corporation say they would provide proper accommodation for these tenants and build fresh houses for them?
§ Mr. MOORE
There is proper accommodation for them, but when Nationalists desire to manufacture votes and place two families in one house, then the accommodation is not sufficient. They resort to this practice in order to get on the register, and Mr. Patton believes what they say. There is a case in West Belfast where a son swore that he never used the lavatory or water accommodation, and Mr. Lynch said, "I am not going to believe that any son lives in the same building as his father and does not use the accommodation of the whole house." That is a Nationalist revising barrister, and he takes the ordinary view. In every case where a Nationalist swore this ridiculous story, the facts of which were all disproved by the corporation inspectors, notwithstanding that, Mr. Patton not only insults the Unionist agent, but he puts those men on the register.
§ Mr. MOORE
Certainly, because they were not entitled to a vote, and the law must be observed—even in Ireland. The Chief Secretary claims a dispensing power in this matter. The Executive sends down a barrister, who is not concerned with the law, but with the interests of his party, and that is what we complain of.
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Birrell)
Do you make this complaint against Mr. Patton because he stood as a candidate?
§ Mr. MOORE
I say he showed his bias, and that he was not fit for this post in consequence. He is not a man who ought to be sent to do justice between two warring parties in Belfast. I say also that from his actions on his bench, which became a public scandal, it was evident that he would always accept the word of a Nationalist, and always reject the word of a Unionist. His conduct was an absolutely-marked distinction from that of other Roman Catholic Nationalist revising barristers as to whom there was no complaint. In the case of Mr. Patton—I am sorry to say it, but I believe it, and hundreds more believe it, having been driven in view of what happens day after day to the same conclusion—there was one law for the Nationalists and another for the Unionists, and a very bad law for the Unionists. I believe his position can best be denned by this description, and I base my general case against him on it:—He brought a mind so biassed by political prejudice as to render him incompetent to give a fair and impartial judgment. The whole effect of these proceedings was to generate very strongly a want of confidence in the administration of the law.Those are the words used by the hon. Member for South Donegal (Mr. Swift MacNeill) regarding an English judge, and he wanted to put his case fairly and moderately. I was reading the Debate, and I thought that in every respect they described exactly the condition of mind of Mr. Patton. Of course, I have no doubt that I shall be abused and criticised. I like it and I do not mind it a bit, but I do not want abuse or criticism of me to lead the House away from the consideration of the real case. I say that a partisan, an open, avowed, unblushing, unashamed partisan, should not have been sent to revise these lists; but Mr. Patton is a man so biassed by political considerations that he cannot hold the scale of justice. There is an idea in the Bar of Ireland—it has only sprung up lately, and I am sorry that it should exist—that unless men of this class sent by the Government to particular places, give satisfaction to the party sending them, they will not be sent again. I do not know how far that idea weighs with them, but it is a temptation. You have plenty of impartial men at the Irish Bar, whether they are Nationalists or Unionists, and I put it to you on grounds of common fairness. The system is abused. You always send these men down to risky seats. It is not playing the game fairly, and the only hope we can have is to have the present system altered, unless the 1277 Chief Secretary will see that it is fairly administered. Make it the same as in this country where a political revising barrister is unheard of. I suppose that a majority of the Irish Bench have been appointed by this Government. I say nothing about that; but all this unpleasant talk by people that they are not getting fair play creates a very unhealthy atmosphere in a community, and in view of the very serious complaints which have arisen in the last three or four years, I do ask the House to give this Bill a Second Beading, and to put the system in Ireland beyond the reach of party temptation to take a party advantage.
§ Mr. HUGH BARRIE
I desire to second the Motion
Nowadays, we hear much, both inside and outside this House, of the desire of Nationalists to treat Ulstermen fairly, and I think it would have been asking very little, by way of testimony of the reality of those professions, to ask that they should this afternoon unanimously support this Bill. It is only asking that the English practice should in future, in this important matter, apply to Ireland. In view of what has happened in recent years in connection with the Revision Courts in Ireland, I should have thought it would have been felt by all reasonable-minded Members of the House that the time had arrived when what has become a public scandal should be put an end to, and when efforts should be made by the Government to restore public confidence. The Chief Secretary may not be personally responsible for the particular appointment to which my hon. Friend has referred, but we do know that the system under which he was appointed is a vicious system, has shaken public confidence, and has led to the most open and public abuse. Although my hon. Friend referred to a certain gentleman who did me the honour of opposing me at the last election, so far as my Division is concerned, I have no grievance of any kind whatever. That is because in my Division Unionist opinion predominates, and under the vicious system which this Bill hopes to remove we are never likely to have a partisan revising barrister sent to us. I can recollect half-a-dozen barristers of Nationalist politics who have come to Londonderry and have discharged their duties to the complete satisfaction of both the political parties. These objectionable appointments are confined to four or 1278 five Ulster seats, and one Division in Dublin where the political margin is and always has been narrow. It is the popular opinion, and it would be impossible to convince people otherwise, that they have been deliberately selected because of their strong political opinions, and because they have shown that they carry their politics into the discharge of their duty.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
Does the hon. Member know that where more than one barrister is appointed, as in the case of Belfast, the Government has nothing whatever to do with the part of Belfast to which any particular barrister is sent?
§ Mr. BARRIE
That may be so. I am not a lawyer, and I cannot dispute it, but I am convinced that my hon. and learned Friend behind me is probably more acquainted with the legal order ruling in these matters than any other Member of the House. Whether that be so or not, the fact remains that on no occasion has the Government failed to send a barrister of extreme partisan opinion to deal with the revision in West Belfast. The effect has been deplorable. It is impossible to convince any Unionists or any moderately minded politician in these closely balanced constituencies that there is anything in the nature of fair play prevailing. I entirely endorse what has been said by my hon. and learned Friend as to what we believe is the explanation under the system which prevails, so un-English and so foreign to all our ideas of fair play. These men appointed from year to year temporarily have a firm conviction that a renewal of the appointment for the current year is contingent upon their being successful in reducing the Unionist majority. In that effort they have been most entirely successful. Our Nationalist friends have done all they possibly could, first by withdrawing from the House when we wished to have a full day's discussion, and then by threatening opposition to further progress, but I hope wiser counsels may now prevail on their part.
This is an essentially reasonable measure. We only desire to have what England has long enjoyed, and until this is done I beg respectfully to submit that the existing sense of a deep-rooted and substantial grievance must continue to prevail in those parts where this system is in full working order. I have heard what has been said about the cases of double tenancies in Ireland. I have no hesitation 1279 in saying that perjury was full and free, and entirely unchecked by the revising barrister from day to day. The easy formula of Mr. Patton seemed to be that whatever a Unionist suggested in opposition to these audacious claims could not be believed, while every word that fell from the Nationalist speakers was accepted as solemn truth that could not be controverted. I hope that, as a result of this discussion, the Chief Secretary will have brought to his knowledge the grave public scandal which prevails, and, though we shall fail in passing this measure, because our Nationalist friends oppose it, I trust the right hon. Gentleman will feel his responsibility and, so long as he occupies his high office, will see to it that in future, in those constituencies where the political margin is narrow, he selects out of the wide choice at his command, barristers who, although they may be Nationalists, are men of full responsibility, still possessing some standard of common decency.
§ Mr. MULDOON
moved to leave out the word "now," and at the end of the Question to add the words "upon this day six months."
I should not have taken part in this Debate had it not been for the character of the speech delivered by the hon. and learned Member for North Armagh (Mr. Moore). As a member of the Irish Bar, I never listened to any speech in this House with more pain. But I do not intend to get away from the facts of this case. If one-half of the hon. and learned Gentleman's speech had been true as regards appointments in Ireland, I say that the Provisional Government proposed to be set up for Belfast ought to be set up in Dublin. A more powerful Home Rule speech I never listened to than that of the hon. and learned Member. He made it clear that it was not to the action of the Nationalist revising barristers he took objection, but to that of the Liberal revising barristers, who are declared by him to be such strong partisans. In the course of his speech he used the words "Nationalist perjury" four times, and I ask the House to remember that this hon. and learned Gentleman might himself, if things had turned out differently, have expected to hold judicial office in Ireland. What would be thought by the Nationalists of Ireland if they found him installed in office performing judicial duties concerning themselves and their neighbours? It is 1280 no wonder there is a strong Home Rule agitation in Ireland—an agitation which has penetrated to Ulster, and secured the majority there. It should not be forgotten it is the primary duty of County Court judges in every case to carry out the revision of the voters' lists. It was so from 1850 to 1886, but the extension of the franchise in 1884, and the acute political situation in a number of Northern constituencies, made it necessary for assisting revising barristers to be appointed. These appointments, on the average since 1886, have numbered about twenty-two, and all but six are reserved for the province of Ulster. This is, therefore, an Ulster question to a very large extent. It is a really live question in Ulster, and I welcome the introduction of the Bill from the point of view that it gives us an idea what the Northern Unionist Members are thinking of. They evidently have in mind civil proceedings in the Revision Courts next September and October, so that the Provisional Government, heralded in August last, is not likely by that time to be in operation.
These additional revising barristers are appointed by the Lord Lieutenant, acting on the advice of the Law Officers of the Crown. Whatever may be said of the Act of 1886, it has been the Unionist party which, from 1886 to 1906, with the exception of two years, has made the appointments. They might have done—as was done in the case of the Land Commission—they might have appointed half and half from each political party. But they did nothing of the kind. I have had the curiosity to look at the appointments made in the year 1887—when the first batch of appointments were made—and I find that out of thirty revising barristers selected, only two were non-Unionists! Nothing which has been said by the hon. and learned Gentleman will lead me to criticise colleagues of my own at the Irish Bar who filled judicial office between 1886 and 1906, or who all fill it now. The Bill of the hon. and learned Member has not been introduced bonâ fide for the purpose of changing the law. The object is to use the privileges of the House of Commons in order to attack colleagues of the hon. and learned Gentleman who are members of the Irish Bar.
§ Mr. MULDOON
Nine-tenths of the speech of the hon. and learned Gentleman consist of attacks on colleagues of his own at the Irish Bar. I will deal with those attacks later on, but I would like to read some observations by the late Mr. Myles Kehoe, K.C., County Court judge of Clare, who was much more intimate with the proceedings of these Courts than the hon. and learned Gentleman. In the year 1906 he wrote:—Of the revising barristers appointed by the Tories since the Act came into operation, apart from those who have obtained valuable but minor appointments, no less than twenty-five got places such as that of County Court judge or the like.Some of these men I know, and some of them are highly honourable men. Twenty-five of the thirty hold high positions. I see no difference whatever in giving a judicial position to a gentleman who has filled the position of chief revising barrister or of assistant revising barrister. The hon. and learned Member said that there was no complaint about revising barristers until 1906. That is quite true. It was because the view taken by those on these benches during all those years was that these men filled judicial positions, and that there was some remedy by way of appeal if there was any objection to them. That remedy was largely availed of, and with considerable success during all those years. On one occasion it was debated in this House, and Mr. Sexton from this very seat complained on that occasion that, during the six years he sat for West Belfast, he was faced every year with four Unionist revising barristers. We afterwards found that these gentlemen were appointed County Court judges in Ireland. The hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned names. I deeply regret that he so far forgot what is due to the great institution to which he and I belong, and to its great traditions.
§ Mr. MULDOON
I am not sorry in one sense that the names were mentioned, because it enables me to put the true facts before the House. Some of the names have taken me considerably by surprise. He mentioned the name of a gentleman who fought the seat in North Derry against the hon. Gentleman who sits on the second bench (Mr. Hugh Barrie.) That gentleman was a distinguished member of the Bar and one of its ablest men. He had a distinguished 1282 undergraduate career, and is now a County Court judge. Will it be believed that, by the Tory party to which the hon. and learned Member belongs, he was appointed a revising barrister from 1896 to 1905, when they were in power?
§ Mr. MULDOON
It is quite unfounded. Several men who had been candidates at conventions at Newry, in County Down, and elsewhere were appointed. Take the case of an hon. gentleman, a high-minded gentleman, who is now the County Court judge at Donegal. In the year 1900 he was candidate for that county in Ulster.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. and learned Member was listened to very quietly, and I hope he will listen to other Members.
§ Mr. MULDOON
I pointed out at the commencement that the County Court judge is the chief revising barrister for the county. The others with whom we are dealing now are the assistants. I do not know by what process of reasoning the one is to be attacked for partisanship, and the other allowed to go free. Let me proceed. The present distinguished County Court judge of Donegal, a gentleman against whom I have nothing whatever to say except that he was an ardent and devoted Unionist, fought East Donegal in 1900, and two years afterwards he was appointed County Court judge for the same county. He is, and has acted since as revising barrister for the county. I could give the names of other gentlemen. I can remember the case of a very distinguished gentleman in county Tyrone, but as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for North Tyrone (Mr. T. W. Russell) may speak afterwards, I pass from that case. I know of two or three other cases in which colleagues of the hon. and learned Gentlemen above the Gangway were defeated and were afterwards sent to revise the lists in a neighbouring county, and when the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary came into Office they were continued as revising barristers, and some 1283 of them acted last year upon the nomination of the right hon. Gentleman. I have never made a complaint in this House one way or the other against these gentlemen, because there is a right of appeal practically upon questions of law and to some extent also on fact.
§ Mr. MULDOON
I know a great deal more about this subject than the hon. and learned Member for North Armagh. It is ridiculous at this time of day, with all the cases which have come before the Court of Appeal, to say there is no appeal upon findings of fact. Only last year decisions of seven revising barristers were upset in the Court of Appeal upon bare questions of fact. In the case of one gentleman named, he was acting as revising barrister before he was appointed to the city of Dublin in 1909 and to the county of Dublin in 1910. During his career of nearly twenty years a number of appeals were taken against his decisions and only two of them were reversed. Take the case of the revising barrister to whose actions three-fourths of the speech of the hon. and learned Member was devoted—the case of Mr. Patton. I am not going into all the details. Speaking for myself, I have heard from the Nationalists in Belfast that Mr. Patton showed them absolutely no fair play whatever. The complaint on the other side is nearly as strong as that uttered by the hon. and learned Member. These gentlemen have to go into a constituency where every single vote is contested, and where it is a fight from beginning to end. Some of the proceedings in West Belfast upon the last occasion, when armed men went into Court, were a great deal worse than I hope will ever take place under the Provisional Government. Mr. Patton has only been acting as revising barrister since 1908. All the questions with which the hon. and learned Member dealt were open to appeal, and, in fact, an appeal was demanded. One of the Unionist papers in Belfast said:—One hundred and fifty appeals are going to be taken against the decisions of Mr. Patton.In the result the 150 were boiled down to one single appeal, and with that they never went on. Another gentleman who has been named is Mr. Williamson, whose decisions have occupied the Court of Appeal for several terms in past years, but the Court of Appeal have continually 1284 upheld his decisions, except in one case. That is the record upon which the whole law is to be changed in order to give these appointments to the judges. I must say that if I had dropped into the House and heard this question debated as I submit it ought to be debated, without members of the Irish Bar taking part in the discussion upon their colleagues, I might really toss up a coin to see which way I should vote on this Bill, because the carrying of this Act, by which the appointments would all be given over to the judge, would not be the end of all things. Judges sometimes have the habit of appointing their relatives, but in this case there would be so many appointments that they would not have enough relatives unprovided for to go round, and so they would have to go into other channels. But I oppose this Bill, and shall vote against it because of the terms in which it has been proposed to the House. The proposal of the Bill is not bonâ fide, and it is brought for the ulterior object of preventing men doing their duty by intimidation carried on in this House, and carried on also in; the Courts where they appear. I have said that the Unionist party gave the setting to this Bill, and I say that during all that period, when they had the appointment of revising barristers absolutely in their hands, the great majority of them, sometimes twenty-five and twenty-six out of thirty, were appointed from the side to-which hon. Members above the Gangway belong. When the Liberals came into power in 1906 the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Moore) delivered a speech in the North of Ireland in which he said that the course of conduct of the Tory party was going to be reversed and that he had discovered a plot on foot to disfranchise Unionist voters in the North of Ireland by the appointment of new revising barristers. What took place in 1906 was that one-half of the men who had been appointed in the previous year by the Tory party were reappointed by the Liberal party, and to this very hour the appointments as assistant revising barristers have been continued—the very men who were appointed by the Unionists when they were in power themselves. No case has been made for this Bill except a dishonest case.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
With the concluding observations of the hon. Member, of 1285 course, I have nothing but entire agreement. It would, indeed, be a very lamentable state of things that any person should be called upon to perform the duties of revising barrister whose state of mind was of the sort that the hon. Member (Mr. Moore) attributed to Mr. Patton. Such a state of things, if it existed, would, of course, be in the nature of a scandal. Of that there can be no doubt whatsoever. It is of no use to take the line that at this hour of the day, and at this particular time in Irish history, we should transfer to the judges what evidently, from the speeches which have just been delivered, is a most delicate and difficult task. We have in Ireland a system whereby the revising barristers are the County Court judges. There is a large number of gentlemen who perform these duties all over the greater part of Ireland, but under a recent Act a number of deputy or assistant revising barristers have been appointed, chiefly operating in Ulster—about thirty every year on the average. These are annual appointments, and the Act of Parliament gave the duty of appointing these gentlemen to the Executive. I am not going to repudiate any responsibility in this matter because I have a responsibility, and must accept it, but of course the hon. Member (Mr. Muldoon) was candid enough to say it is obviously a duty that has to be performed in the main by gentlement who from their legal position are acquainted with the personages of the Irish Bar, namely, the Law Officers. I cannot pretend to have that intimate acquaintance with the gentlemen of the Four Courts as will enable me to say which of them had a judicial mind—which of them could put aside his politics, because after all most barristers have politics. The essence of a judge is that when he is acting judicially he should be able to put all this entirely on one side. We do not always hit it, but we aim at the appointment only of such persons who can be trusted, sitting in a Court of Justice, to forget to what side of politics they belong. Therefore, the Law Officers do their best in this matter.
But what I want to pont out is this: Mr. Patton's jurisdiction is in West Belfast. No Law Officer and no Chief Secretary had anything whatever to do with the assignment of Mr. Patton to that particular division of Belfast. The County Court judge and the revising barristers for Belfast meet together and assign to one 1286 another their particular jobs. Of course, the whole difficulty in this case arises from the fact that there are four of five constituencies in Ireland where the Revision Court is of the utmost importance, and these, of course, are the constituencies where feeling runs very high. The smaller the majority, apparently, the higher the state of feeling. That is natural enough. Therefore, the whole difficulty arises with reference to some three or four, or at the most five, places where this high state of feeling arises. An angel from heaven would not escape severe criticism in these particular places. The hon. and learned Gentleman was very kind and spoke what represents the feeling of Belfast with regard to Mr. Lynch. He said Mr. Lynch is all right; Mr. Lynch is a Catholic and a Nationalist. Mr. Patton is a Presbyterian, the son of a Presbyterian Minister in Derry, which accounts, I suppose, for his having made a speech on one occasion in that city, where oratory also runs high, and he is a Protestant and a Protestant Home Ruler. He, says the hon. and learned Gentleman, has a judicial mind and Mr. Patton has not. The hon. and learned Gentleman would hardly attribute preknowledge of Mr. Patton's frame of mind to the Law Officers who recommended him. You cannot tell beforehand whether a man has a judicial mind or not, and some of the most distinguished advocates have been made judges and have lamentably failed, simply for the reason that they have not got the judicial mind. Therefore, it is really very hard to bring an accusation against the present mode of exercising this patronage simply on the ground that the hon. and learned Gentleman is dissatisfied with Mr. Patton.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I happened to be in Ireland at the time Mr. Patton got into a considerable amount of commotion, and I was in the neighbourhood, and consequently I read the local print, and without ever having heard of Mr. Patton before, or knowing anything at all about whether he had a judicial mind or not, I came to the conclusion that there was a very dead-set made against him, and that the manner in which he was treated in his own Court was of such a kind that if it had occurred in England it would have been a scandal of no ordinary dimensions. But the allegation made against Mr. Patton is that he is so enamoured of the Nationalist cause, that he is so determined to put voters on, 1287 that he listened to perjured testimony and believed it, and did not listen to the testimony on the other side. He must have had two sides presented to him, and the allegation against him is that he was so unfit for his office that, in the teeth of all evidence, he decided in favour of the voter. That is the allegation made against him. Of course, I am not in a position to say how far the hon. Member and his Friends are entitled to believe that. It is undoubtedly the fact that other people are dissatisfied with him, on the ground that he does not put on enough of the right sort of votes.
All I would like to say about Mr. Patton is that he does not come within a rule for which I think there is a good deal to be said—although I do not think it is conclusive—a rule that you ought not to put anybody as a revising barrister who has ever stood for a constituency. That would be a rule of action. I am not at all sure that it would be a good one. My experience of life is that people who have stood for constituencies—sometimes they have got in and sometimes they have not—are far less bitter partisans than many much less known persons who have never stood at all. You rather mitigate a man's partisanship by giving him a seat in this House or by his having to woo a constituency. Even the fiercest Tory in these days has to undergo a good deal of education before he can stand for a constituency, and a Liberal has to do likewise. They are forced to modify their opinions if brought into contact with the actual flesh and blood of the voters. It is an error to think that you will get rid of partisanship by simply handing over the making of these appointments to a judge of the High Court, and to think that they would never make any of these mistakes or that they would never appoint a person who is not of judicial mind. I do not think that that would be necessarily a good rule, but still any rule is better than none. There is something to be said for that. It would not affect Mr. Patton, for he has never stood for a constituency. The whole sum and substance of his offence, until he began to act in this highly injudicial manner which, if true, renders him unfit for his office, and the only thing which the Attorney-General, or whoever it was, had for knowing that he was an injudicially minded person, was that he had made a speech in Derry—that he had made a speech which might make one's blood run 1288 cold. I have heard far worse from far more judicially minded persons than revising barristers, and, therefore, no rule that I can think of would exclude Mr. Patton, unless you laid down a rule that any person who had ever made a political speech is in the opinion of anybody so partisan that he should not occupy this particular position. I do not really think you can lay down a hard and fast rule of this sort. My objection to the Bill is that I do not think that in the present state of feeling in Ireland it would meet the difficulty, particularly in four or five constituencies, where, I agree, feeling does run very high indeed, and where everybody is criticised to the utmost as a partisan, or a truckler or a servile person, if he strikes anybody off or puts anybody on the register, and where, perhaps, five or six votes may turn the whole scale.
It is a difficult position to be in. Abuses, or alleged abuses, are almost certain to arise, and I think that the criticism had better be borne by the Chief Secretary of the day, or by the Irish Attorney-General, than by judges. Supposing my hon. Friend the Lord Chief Justice of Ireland had been senior judge of Assize in Belfast and had appointed Mr. Patton—he is as likely to have appointed him as the Attorney-General—he would not have known that Mr. Patton has an injudicial mind, that he is incapable of dealing with facts, and that he does not know a perjurer when he sees him. Mr. Patton was a highly respectable person with a position at the Bar, and there was no way in which you could discern by looking at him his unfitness for the office. The Lord Chief Justice might just as well appoint Mr. Patton as anybody else, and seeing the accusations that have been brought against him, I think it better that an executive officer like myself should bear the brunt of the attacks in reference to his appointment, and bear the responsibility, rather than it should be heaped on a judge who cannot give an answer to charges made, and who is condemned absolutely to silence. Mr. Speaker will not allow his conduct to be criticised or his character to be impugned, and you can only proceed by a formal procedure such as no one would ever dream of applying to such a case. Therefore, in the interests of Ireland, it is most desirable that this duty should not be cast upon him. I confess, though I am speaking in the presence of several members of my own profession, that I look forward to a time when there 1289 will be no revising barristers at all. That is the true solution which was indicated in the measure for which the Government was responsible some time ago—having a continuous registration and casting the duty upon a permanent officer, so that the revision will be cut down almost to nothing, if not entirely abolished.
The whole difficulty in Ireland is in these four or five constituencies. There is no question arising in any other part of Ireland. As the hon. and learned Gentleman very candidly said, the most violent partisan with a non-judicial mind can be sent to other parts of Ireland without doing any harm, for in these places the majority of a particular party is so secure that the leaving off of 20 or 100, or 500 or even 1,000 votes will make no difference. In my belief the Bill would do more harm than good, because it is of great importance that the character of the judges should be kept free from political criticism, and they should not be appointed to positions in which their conduct would be certain to be criticsed. It is much better that somebody else, either myself or the Law Officers, should endeavour to secure as best we can, by careful consideration, a proper person. I must not be understood to say that Mr. Patton is not a proper person—at any rate he does not come within any of the ordinary rules of exclusion which may be observed. You cannot get rid of the possibility of making a wrong appointment, try as hard as you may. I am not prepared to say that Mr. Patton was such a wrong appointment, but I do think that it is most eminently desirable that all persons who are responsible in any degree for this particular sort of appointment should very carefully see that people of impartial minds, and such people alone, should be appointed to a place of this sort. The hon. Gentleman brought a most astounding charge against us. We are said to appoint a barrister, who makes about £75 a year out of his job, and we are supposed to say, "We are going to test your action. If you allow Unionists to stay on when you need not, or keep off Nationalists when you might by a stern exercise of your conscience put them on, off you go." If he really believes that of the Irish Executive, then he is lost in a sea of delusion from which it is impossible for me to hope to extricate him.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
These are very strange kinds of belief, and they all arise out of this extraordinary suspicion on both sides, that everybody is to be criticised as to who he is, and what his father was, or his mother was, or whether he is a Protestant, a Presbyterian, or a Baptist. One of these gentlemen who has been alluded to is a Baptist. I find it difficult to see any harm in a Baptist in Ireland that should call for our intervention. But I do not wish to go into that at all. All I can say is that I accept the responsibility, and I will transmit such measure of responsibility as I can to those gentlemen, and I hope that in future we shall succeed in giving as much satisfaction as possible in the difficulties of the case.
§ Colonel YATE
Will the right hon. Gentleman explain to the House how it was that this difference ever came to be made between the law in England and the law in Ireland in regard to this matter?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The hon. Gentleman asks me to go into the whole history of the English and Irish law. There is no connection between the English law and the Irish law.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
With a good deal that the right hon. Gentleman said I do not find anything with which to quarrel. With a good deal of the many admirable precepts which he laid down for the conduct of his Department I think most hon. Members on this side of the House are disposed to agree. I wish to refer to the speech of the hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of this Bill. I was a little surprised at the attitude which Nationalist Members have taken up on this matter. Hon. Members will remember what happened in another connection under certain circumstances in Ireland, when it was proposed that judges in Ireland should continue to be appointed by this House and not by the Nationalist Government in Ireland. Hon. Members below the Gangway when that proposal was made said they would sooner have a bad judge appointed by a Nationalist Government in Ireland than they would have one of the best of judges appointed by a Saxon Government in Dublin Castle. 1291 The position is now entirely changed, and I think, in the interests of his constituency, the hon. Gentleman who moved the rejection of this Bill cannot exactly describe himself as entirely consistent. I listened carefully to him, and I really was quite unable to make out the grounds on which he based his opposition. He gave two grounds, as far as I can make out. One was that the Unionist party since 1886 have been responsible for making a large number of appointments. I asked whether there have been any complaints, or any large number of complaints in regard to their decisions, and, as I expected, he was unable to give any.
Attention called to the fact that there were not forty Members present. House counted, and forty Members being found present—
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
The hon. Gentleman the Member of the Nationalist party, who made himself responsible for opposing the Bill, did not wait for my reply, and evidently wished to deprive me of any opportunity of making any reply at all. I was saying when I was interrupted that one of his two arguments against the Bill was that the Unionists had made a number of appointments in 1886 and in subsequent years. That is an argument for the Bill, and not against. I say that the present system opens the possibility, at least, of suspicion of political corruption. It is a suspicion which cannot exist in England, where the appointments are made by the judiciary. In Ireland there is, at least, the possibility of suspicion, as the hon. Member made manifest, and it is common knowledge that it animates a large number of people in Belfast with regard to the proceedings in the Belfast Revision Courts. This Bill, if it did nothing else, would remove that opportunity for suspicion. Then the hon. Gentleman said that this is not a bonâ-fide Bill, that it is a bogus Bill, in order covertly, by an abuse of the procedure of the House of Commons, to get a chance of getting at Mr. Patton for decisions in the Belfast Revision Court last September. This is the fourth year this identical Bill has been introduced in the House of Commons. It is the first time, owing to the accident of the ballot, that we have had the opportunity of bringing on the Bill. It 1292 has been printed by the House of Commons. That is a complete answer to the hon. Gentleman's suggestion that it is a bogus Bill. What I really was hoping to get from the Chief Secretary was an answer to the question, Why should not the procedure in Ireland be assimilated with the procedure in Great Britain? Is there anything inherently vicious in the procedure of Great Britain that that should not be done? I was quite unable to glean from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman any reason against it.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
I think one reason is because in Ireland there are these four or five constituencies where everything turns on the revision and where feeling does run very high, and I am afraid by giving the appointment to the judges you would not get rid of the imputations.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I quite agree that in Ireland there are four or five pivotal constituencies where there is a narrow margin, but the same thing can be said of England, where a narrow margin is much more likely to arise in a number of constituencies. I think the right hon. Gentleman rather misconceives the point, or at least one of the points, urged by my hon. and learned Friend. It is not so much that I hope that, by amending your procedure in this way, you will secure absolute impartiality. I agree that you can do that if you pick the right man under the present procedure, and I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman, in his very reasonable remarks, lay down certain canons which, if followed out in the future, ought to help matters in this direction. Nor is there any security that a judge will not pick the wrong man. But you have this great advantage in the one case which you have not in the other—that if the appointment is made by a party Government, it is always open to a strong suspicion on the part of a large number of people that the appointment is made in the party interest; whereas, if the appointment is made by the senior going judge, it is much less likely that that kind of suspicion will arise. Personally, I am very sorry that the right hon. Gentleman has not seen his way to accept the proposals of this Bill; but at all events I am glad that we have had from him a declaration of policy as to the future, which I can only hope will be honestly and unswervingly carried out.
§ Mr. DILLON
An hon. Member above the Gangway (Colonel Yate) asked how it 1293 came about that the law in this respect is different in Ireland from the law in England. The Act setting up the present system of appointing revising barristers in Ireland was passed in the year 1886, and was in operation the whole of the twenty years during which the Unionist party had complete control both of this House and of the House of Lords. The Act was passed just before Mr. Gladstone's Government went out in 1886. During the ensuing twenty years the Unionist Government had the appointment of revising barristers in Ireland, and they appointed an overwhelming preponderance of strong Unionist partisans throughout the whole of that period. It never occurred to them at any time during those twenty years that there was anything objectionable in the system of appointing revising barristers. They could at any time have passed a Bill on the lines of the present measure without any difficulty at all, as they had a majority of 120 in this House, and the House of Lords was at their disposal. Can the hon. Member for North Armagh explain why they never altered the law?
§ Mr. DILLON
That may be the hon. Member's view. What he considers to be no scandal is where the revising barristers were mainly Unionists, and always Unionists, in the seats with a narrow majority. The Unionist Government always took particularly good care about that. But we thought it a very great scandal.
§ Mr. DILLON
One reason was that we had not the slightest chance of altering it. Another reason was that the Bench was packed in Ireland, so that we would have been jumping out of the frying-pan into the fire. We had no possible way of mending matters. Does the hon. Member imagine that in those days we would have had more confidence in appointments made by the Bench in Ireland than in appointments made by the Executive Government. There was also this difference, that we had some chance of criticising the Executive Government, whereas we had none of criticising the Bench. Therefore, there was no object in attempting to alter the law, as somebody had to appoint the revising barristers, and the 1294 only alternative was that the appointments should be made by the judges. It is perfectly plain that the only reason why an attempt is now made to alter the law is, not that the law in itself is bad, or that the system is bad, but that a Liberal Government is now in office. As long as the Tory Government were in power in Ireland they thought that the law was a very good one, and that the system was a good one.
§ Mr. DILLON
I have answered that argument already. That is not the question. It is not whether we are endeavouring to alter the law. It is the hon. Member. He is put on his defence. He is bound to explain why, when he and his party had power for twenty years to alter the law, they never tried to do so. Another reason for the introduction of this Bill, and for the speech to which we have listened, is undoubtedly the fact that it afforded a convenient opportunity to the hon. Member to endeavour to bull-dose and intimidate the revising barristers in Ireland by abusing them on this occasion—by doing what, in ray opinion, is a most improper proceeding, namely, retrying a case in this House, going into the details and the evidence, and impugning the action of a judge in a Court in Ireland, without any possibility of hearing the other side of the case. The hon. Member comes before this House and gives the whole series of preposterous evidence, deliberately accusing the revising barrister of believing perjury, and what he must have known to be perjury.
§ Mr. DILLON
The hon. Member accepts that. It is a very serious charge to make against a man who is not here—of deliberately believing perjury wholesale, because the perjury comes from those with whose political views he sympathises, and refusing to believe it when he is told the truth on the other side, the underlying assumption being that Nationalists in Belfast are always perjuring themselves, and that Orangemen always tell the truth. The hon. Member must pardon me if we below the Gangway refuse to accept that as a proposition—that Orangemen always tell the truth.
§ Mr. DILLON
That was the underlying assumption, that Nationalists never hesitated to perjure themselves, and that Orangemen always told the truth. A most shocking attack has been made by the hon. Member upon this Mr. Patton, who is one of themselves, the son of a minister, brought up on the purest milk of the Gospel in Ulster, one of those stern Presbyterian people who are so much above us poor Catholics.
§ Mr. DILLON
If this is all that the Presbyterian ministers of Ulster can achieve, to accuse a man who has been brought up on the pure milk of the Gospel, that when he is promoted to the Bench he deliberately believes perjury and will not believe the truth, then it speaks very poorly for the Protestants of Ulster and their teaching. The real truth is that this is a bogus Bill, introduced for the purpose, not of altering the law, but of offering a peg upon which the hon. Member might hang one of his characteristic speeches.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
The Debate which has taken place this afternoon has been very interesting, insomuch that it has given some light to Members outside Ireland upon the attitude of Ulster Members. In the first place, we apparently learn that for the first time in four years an Ulster Member has been successful in the ballot and has had the opportunity of introducing legislation for his own country. According to their views, Ulster has been suffering from a large number of evils during the last eight years of Liberal Government, and Ulster Unionists have had no opportunity of ventilating their views on Irish legislation. Now, for the first time in four years that they have been successful they bring forward a Bill which is very pretentiously titled, but which is apparently introduced for the sole purpose of preventing in future a gentleman called Mr. Patton from being appointed an additional revising barrister. I have listened to a great part of this Debate, and I am confident that for three-fourths of the time Mr. Patton has been the subject of discussion. It is true we heard the few references made to the difference in the law in Ireland, as compared with England, but the only practical grievance was Mr. Patton. After all, this House does not legislate because of differences in the law in the different countries. We have different systems of revision in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, but apparently 1296 until four years ago the different parts of the United Kingdom were content. But Mr. Patton eventually emerged, and; apparently from the point of view of the hon. and learned Member for North Armagh, Mr. Patton has peculiar views on evidence, and we can understand, after listening to the hon. and learned Member for North Armagh, that a gentleman who according to his view has peculiar views upon evidence, probably has the normal view. And the fact that objection is taken to him by the hon. and learned Gentleman for North Armagh is rather a testimony in his favour from the point of view of impressing this House. It is significant that this should be the only grievance which the representatives of Ulster can produce for the attention of the Imperial Parliament. They profess to have the strongest feeling in regard to a proposal which they describe as driving them out of the Imperial Parliament, but we find this afternoon the Imperial Parliament very much disinclined to listen to them.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
I am surprised the hon. Baronet should refer to argument as a matter of importance to this House. I have always understood that his view in regard to discussion in this House was that it was important at certain times simply to make speeches quite irrespective of any argument.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
I did not say that I was informed. I was basing my judgment upon my own observations of the hon. Baronet from time to time.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
It may be a delusion, but I am inclined to think that my observations are justified in view of certain actions the hon. Baronet has taken at various times. Personally, I think it is an abuse of the time of this House that on a Friday afternoon, one of the few opportunities given to private Members, that our time should be wasted by trifling and bogus affairs of this kind, and this I regard as a trifling and bogus affair.
§ Mr. PR1NGLE
I am expressing my views upon the procedure, as so much time has already been wasted—[An HON. MEMBER: "And you are wasting more!"]—
§ Debate resumed.
§ Mr. PRINGLE
I feel myself in a somewhat embarrassed position, and I face the new situation with mingled feelings. In the first place, I regret the fact that the trend of my argument has been broken, but, at the same time, I am gratified that such a large number of my colleagues are 1298 claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 67; Noes, 91.1297
|Division No. 83.]||AYES.||[4.41 p.m.|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Hunt, Rowland||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Jessel, Captain H. M.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Terrell, H. (Gloucester')|
|Boyton, James||Kerry, Earl of||Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, North)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Webb, H.|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Duncannon, Viscount||Nield, Herbert||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Glanville, H. J.||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Parry, Thomas H.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Randles, Sir John S.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Gulland, John William||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Roberts, Charles H, (Lincoln)||Younger, Sir George|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Hinds, John||Roch, Walter F, (Pembroke)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Rolleston, Sir John||Moore and Mr. Hugh Barrie.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Arnold, Sydney||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||O'Dowd, John|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Higham, John Sharp||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Boland, John Pius||Hodge, John||O'Malley, William|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Hogge, James Myles||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo. North)||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Shee, James John|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Joyce, Michael||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Kelly, Edward||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Kilbride, Denis||Pratt, J. W.|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Lardner, James C. R.||Radford, George Heynes|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Reddy, Michael|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lundon, Thomas||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Crooks, William||McGhee, Richard||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Crumley, Patrick||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Cuilinan, John||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Rowlands, James|
|Delany, William||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Dillon, John||Molloy, Michael||Sheeny, David|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Mooney, John J.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Doris, William||Muldoon, John||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Duffy, William J.||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Nolan, Joseph||Wiles, Thomas|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Ffrench, Peter I||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Field, William||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Hackett, John||O'Doherty, Philip||Pringle and Mr. Robert Harcourt.|
|Hardie, J. Keir|
§ anxious for me to continue my speech. I have dealt with the main part of the considerations which I desired to bring before the House. I, only wish now to refer to one or two other matters. In the first place, I wish to point out that it is only now, at ten minutes to five, there is really any fair representation of the private Members of the House. The fact that they 1299 did not appear until this time has indicated rightly their view of the utter unimportance of the Measure under discussion. I regret there has not been a large representation on the Unionist Benches, but hon. Members were engaged in more congenial pursuits than remedying the grievances of Ulster. Had they foregone the pleasures of the country and of the racecourse they would have got some insight into the real situation in Ulster. Apparently, what concerns the Ulster men are not the imminent risks of certain legislation which the Government has in hand, but they are apparently more concerned with the decisions of Mr. Patton, the revising barrister. Apparently, the Ulster volunteers have been enrolled, drilling has been going on from end to end
|Division No. 84.]||AYES.||[4.54 p.m.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Joynson-Hicks, William||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Kerry, Earl of||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Boyton, James||Moore, William||Thomson, W. Mitchell (Down, North)|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfieid)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Nield, Herbert||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Randles, Sir John S.||White, Major G. D. (Lancs., Southport)|
|Duncannon, Viscount||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C B. Stuart-|
|Fell, Arthur||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Rolieston, Sir John||Younger, Sir George|
|Hardie, J. Keir||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Sharman-Crawford., Colonel R. G.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Spear, Sir John Ward||Hugh Barrie and Mr. Ronald M'Neill.|
|Jessel, Captain H. M.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Gulland, John William||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Hackett, John||Nolan, Joseph|
|Allen, Arthur Acland (Dumbartonshire)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard|
|Arnold, Sydney||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||O'Brien. Patrick (Kilkenny)|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)|
|Boland, John Pius||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||O'Doherty, Philip|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Higham, John Sharp||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Hinds, John||O'Dowd, John|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Hodge, John||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Hogge, James Myles||O'Malley, William|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||O'Shee, James John|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Joyce, Michael||Parry, Thomas H.|
|Cotton, William Francis||Kelly, Edward||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Crooks, William||Kilbride, Denis||Pratt, J. W.|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Cuilinan, John||Lardner, James C. R.||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Radford, George Heynes|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Reddy, Michael|
|Delany, William||Lundon, Thomas||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A.||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Redmond William (Clare, E.)|
|Dillon, John||McGhee, Richard||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roberts, Charles, H. (Lincoln)|
|Doris, William||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Duffy, William J.||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Rowlands, James|
|Farrell, James Patrick||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Ffrench, Peter||Molloy, Michael||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Field, William||Morrell, Philip||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Glanville, Harold James||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Sheehy, David|
|Griffith, Ellis Jones||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
§ of that country, and all sorts of unlawful associations have been formed. There has, in fact, been a great plot into the details of which we shall be initiated next Tuesday and Wednesday, and all because Mr. Patton is a revising barrister. Had hon. Members attended they would have had an opportunity of understanding the real inwardness of the Ulster situation. But I can only hope they will read the report of the proceedings this afternoon and of the speech I have been encouraged by my colleagues to make. If they do so they will have taken a step towards realising the solution of the Ulster problem.
§ Question put, "That the word 'now' stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 4.3; Noes, 116.1301
|Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)||Wiles, Thomas||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)|
|Webb, H.||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|White, Patrick (Meath, North)||Wing, Thomas Edward||Muldoon and Mr. Mooney|
|Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
§ Words added.
§ Second Reading put off for six months.