§ Motion made, and Question proposed,. "That this House do now adjourn."
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I rise for the purpose of calling the attention of the House to a matter of the utmost gravity. Involved are, not only grave legal and constitutional questions, and not only the question of the impartial administration of the law between different sections of His Majesty's subjects, but, I am sorry to say, questions of human life. In this matter blood has been shed and life has been lost, and it seems to me that unless the most definite and drastic steps be taken to-prevent a recurrence of events of this kind disastrous consequences must certainly ensue. It is a difficult task, as I think Members in all parts of the House—men of fair mind—will acknowledge, for me to deal with this matter without some vehemence and heat, but I shall endeavour to do so. I shall deal only with the facts as they are known to me, and, indeed, as they are admitted by the public documents that have been read from the Government Bench; and I shall endeavour to do so, as far as it is possible for me, in a perfectly judicial spirit. Some years ago the Arms Act, which forbade in Ireland the importation of arms and the bearing and carrying of arms, was repealed, and, as a consequence, when the Ulster Volunteers were established they found that there was no law against the importation of arms and the carrying of arms in Ireland. The only necessity was to comply with the law dealing with the licence for the carrying of arms, and ever since the Ulster Volunteers were established the arming of this body has gone on quite openly. The police attended the drilling of this body; the police reported to the Government the drillings. 1023 and the arming of this body; the newspapers in this country reported from day to day the steps being taken for the purpose of arming this force; and, further than that, the leaders of this force themselves, I will not say boasted, because I guard myself against using a single offensive word with reference to the Ulster Volunteers or any political opponents as far as I can, but they stated quite openly in the newspapers, in their speeches outside, and in their speeches in this House that they were arming. This went on quite openly for a very considerable time.
Finally, after the work of arming this force had been largely completed, according to the statements of its leaders, on the 4th December, 1913, last December, a Royal Proclamation was issued forbidding the importation of arms into Ireland. From the very first moment there were grave doubts as to the legality of that Proclamation. In an action which took place in the Courts in Belfast, the result was against the legality of the Proclamation. The Crown appealed from the Court in Belfast to the Court of King's Bench in Dublin, and, while the Proclamation was there upheld, the judges were divided in their judgment, and this Proclamation at this very moment when we are assembled here is the subject of an appeal, which is about shortly to be heard in the Court of Appeal in Dublin. My Friends and I were never in favour of the issue of this Proclamation. [A laugh.] I am sure hon. Members do not intend to treat this subject with levity, and I do ask them, unless I transgress, and I shall not as far as I can help it transgress, to listen with some patience to what I have to say. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] My colleagues and I were never in favour of this Proclamation. We regarded it, and we made our opinions known as a futile proceeding, and as an exasperating and an irritating proceeding. We knew, everybody knew, perfectly well that it could be, and would be evaded. When the Lame episode occurred we, I may say, realised the terrible risks and the terrible dangers which proceedings of this kind entail. When the Government announced their decision of not taking any immediate proceedings against the Larne gunrunners my colleagues and myself entirely approved of their action. Before that action was taken we had made our view known, and we thought, after all that had happened, that it would have been a 1024 futile and an exasperating and a useless proceeding to enter upon a series of prosecutions in connection with that transaction; and, if people hold that the Government were wrong in not prosecuting the Larne gun-runners, for my part I share the responsibility with them. I was against them taking any prosecutions at that time, but we again urged, as we had urged over and over again, upon them the desirability of the withdrawal, or at any rate the suspension, of the Proclamation. Finally, I felt it my duty to put upon record my view upon this matter, and on the 30th June I wrote the following letter to the Chief Secretary for Ireland. I said:—I have to ask you to bring the following statement before the Prime Minister as to our view in regard to the Arms Proclamation. We are strongly of opinion that it should be withdrawn or suspended pending the decision of the Court of Appeal, and for the following reason:a remarkable article, which I dare say every Member of this House read at the time—
- (1) The legality of the Proclamation is open to serious doubt. It was upset in an action in Belfast. On the appeal to the Court of King's Bench the judges were divided, and the senior judge of the three expressed himself strongly against the legality of the Proclamation. Notice of further appeal has been given. In the meantime, the Government is enforcing the Proclamation in some parts of Ireland, and leaving themselves open to innumerable actions at law.
- (2) The Proclamation has been an entire failure in Ireland. The evidence of this failure will he found in the article of the military correspondent of the Times of this date"—and the general description of the situation contained in that article is, we believe well founded. We believe the statements that arms are largely being sent into Ulster are true.
- (3) Meantime, in the South and West of Ireland, not only are the most active measures being taken against the importation of arms, but many owners of vessels are harassed unnecessarily.
- (4) The effect of this unequal working of the Proclamation has been grave amongst our people, and has tended to increase both their exasperation and their apprehensions.
- (5) The apprehensions of our people are justified to the fullest. They find themselves, especially in the North, faced by a large, drilled, organised, and armed body. Furthermore, the incident at the Curragh has given them the fixed idea that they cannot rely on the Army for protection. The possession of arms by Nationalists would, under these circumstances, be no provocation for disorder, but a means of preserving the peace by confronting one armed force with another, not helpless, but, by being armed, fully able to defend themselves.Finally, we want to call your most serious attention to the grave and imminent danger of a collision between Nationalists and police in the effort to import arms. The police in the South and West might not be so passive as they were in the recent affair at Larne, and there might be serious conflicts, and even loss of life, and from this day forward every day which the Proclamation is enforced as strictly as it is now against the Nationalists brings increased danger of disastrous collision between the police and the people.In that document I made a formal record of the representations that we had been making for some time past upon time 1025 question to the Government, and the concluding paragraph which I have just read exactly describes what happened yesterday in Dublin. What happened there? A boatload of rifles was landed at Howth, about eight miles outside Dublin. In the landing of these rifles no blow of any kind was struck, and most of the guns, and I believe the ammunition also, was sent away by car—by conveyances of some sort—from the Port where they were landed. The Volunteers who were present—it is stated there were about 1,000 of them—each got a rifle and proceeded to march back with the rifle the eight miles into Dublin. When they had gone six miles of the eight on the road to Dublin, they were met by a force of police and soldiers; and the "Times"—I quote the "Times" especially because it will not be regarded as in any way prejudiced on my side of this controversy—the "Times" Special Correspondent in to-day's issues says:—The men then formed up and started to march home. Many police marched with the men and cheered them heartily. Those who had gone on ahead found tram-loads of Scottish Borderers, and the leaders therefore hurried back, and when the two opposing forces met they were ranged up across the road facing one another. Assistant Commissioner Harrel ordered the leaders to hand over the arms, but was informed, in reply, that in Ulster men with rifle" were marching every day in the streets, but that if he wished for the names of the responsible persona he might have them at once. He emphasised his determination to take the rifles, and said the soldiers had ball cartridge, and that he intended in case of need to order them to use it. He then ordered a bayonet charge and several Volunteers were wounded in the arms. Others fired in return on the military, and two soldiers were removed wounded. The Metropolitan Police were ordered to remove the rifles, but they refused to obey. These police were removed under arrest by the soldiers. It was a ticklish moment. Mr. Harrel then called for a conference with the Volunteer leaders. Orders were quietly given that the Volunteers with rifles should disperse and disappear through the city, while the front ranks kept a solid front to disguise the manœuvre. While this was being executed one of the Volunteer leaders held Mr. Harrel's attention in close conversation. An inspector then came up and said that all the Volunteers except the first two lines had disappeared. These then turned right-about-face, broke ranks, and made after their friends.What rifles were captured were taken from the front ranks. The rest of the rifles were safely removed in the city of Dublin by the Volunteers. I have been reading the Irish papers which have just reached the House. I find a very important report of a conversation between one of the leaders of the Volunteers and Mr. Harrel, in which Mr. Harrel said to him:—This is an illegal proceeding.This gentleman, whose name was Mr. Figgis, replied:—There is only one illegality about the whole matter, and that is the actual gun-running, for which I am willing to hold myself entirely responsible. I am 1026 willing to give you my name and address, and surrender my person if you desire, and if you think an illegality has been committed. These men who were carrying arms were only doing what men have been doing in Belfast City for the last three weeks under the observation of the police. If you are willing to arrest me I am perfectly willing to go with yon, but, if you do so, I demand these men shall be permitted quietly to disperse.Mr. Harrel said:—I must have these guns,and Mr. Figgis replied:—There are boxes of ammunition, and it is not likely these men will allow their rifles to be taken from them. If there is any violence, you will be responsible.Mr. Harrel then said:—The military with me have ball cartridge, and we intend, if necessary, to use it.I assert that no such attempt to disarm a body of Volunteers has ever been made during the many long months that have passed in Ulster, and it is really ludicrous when you consider the state of things here. To-day I saw in one of the leading London morning newspapers a picture which I have in my hand of a large body of Ulster Volunteers marching in Belfast on Saturday last, each man carrying his rifle, and escorting five machine guns through the streets. In the very next column of this same issue of the same paper there is an account of Mr. Harrel requesting the police and soldiers to disarm the Volunteers marching along the road from Howth to Dublin.
I ask who is responsible for this monstrous attempt to discriminate in the administration of the law between various classes of His Majesty's subjects in Ireland? Apparently, according to the account given by the Government at Question Time, one subordinate police official is responsible, namely, Mr. Harrel. Mr. Harrel is second in command of the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Where was his superior officer? He was in Ireland. According to my information he was in Dublin. Where was he? What is his responsibility? That superior officer is Sir John Ross. We have had experience of Sir John Ross in the past. In the recent riots in connection with the Larkin movement in Dublin, Sir John Ross proved himself a thoroughly incompetent officer, and, as a result of what happened at that time, he ought to have been removed from his post. He is totally unfitted for a responsible position such as he occupies. He is a well-known political partisan. I say it is not sufficient for the Government to suspend Mr. Harrel; they should suspend his superior officer. If Sir John Ross was otherwise engaged and did not know what 1027 was going on, as he ought to have known, as soon as he learnt it he ought to have taken the action the Government have now taken about Mr. Harrel—he ought to have suspended Mr. Harrel. I say the Government ought to suspend Sir John Ross because he did not suspend Mr. Harrel. What were Mr. Barrel's proceedings? He heard that there was some gun-running going on at Howth, and he instantly requisitioned the police and the military. I understand that legally he is one of the people entitled by Statute to requisition the military when they are necessary to support the police. We would like to have some evidence of the ground upon which he went when he requisitioned the soldiers in this case. His power over the military seems to have been very large. A mere hint from General Paget that in some imaginary contingency in the future it might be necessary to ask on behalf of the civil power for assistance from the military led to a very remarkable episode in the Curragh Camp. But this subordinate police official in Dublin apparently has the legal power and the actual power, by raising his finger, to bring the troops into requisition.
I want to know whether, before taking this serious step, he took the advice of the Irish Executive. There is an Irish Executive in Dublin Castle—[HOST. MEMBEBS: "No, no!"]—but apparently, to such a state of impotence has the British Government been reduced under the Union in Ireland that a subordinate police official is able to call in the soldiers without even informing the Executive of his intention to do so. He did not inform the Executive. When the Executive heard of it—I do not know how they heard: perhaps it was by chance—the first thing they did—I am now going to say what the Chief Secretary said at Question Time—was to send for this police officer to come to them. Did he come? Not at all! No, he was otherwise engaged, and he disobeyed the summons of the Executive and went gaily on with his work. Then the Executive, having ascertained fully what was on foot, drew up a Minute, which was read at Question Time by the Chief Secretary, directed to Mr. Harrel telling him to desist, saying that they disapproved of what he was doing, and ordering him to stop. But the orders, of course, arived late, and the mischief was done. I say that under these circumstances Mr. Harrel is directly and personally responsible for all 1028 that has happened. Happily, in the conflict which took place at Clontarf between the Volunteers and the soldiers, nothing of a very serious character occurred. [An HON. MEMBER: "Soldiers were shot!"] The soldiers did not fire on the Volunteers at all, and, according to the information supplied to me, which I hope the Chief Secretary will confirm, the Volunteers did not fire either. There were two revolver shots, I am told, that were fired, not from the Volunteers, but from the side—a side-street or somewhere at hand—and they struck two of the soldiers. The soldiers were ordered to charge with the bayonet. They did so, and a number of Volunteers were wounded, and the matter, in that way, ended. The Volunteers went away, taking their rifles with them; the soldiers returned back to the city of Dublin.
As inevitably happens in these cases, rumours of a thousand tongues were at work in the city of Dublin, and before the small contingent of soldiers reached the city on their way back the city was aflame with all sorts of unfounded and exaggerated accounts of what had taken place. It was said that Volunteers had been fired at, that numbers of them had been killed, and the soldiers found when they got back to the city that they were surrounded by an exasperated and excited crowd. I am happy to say that from the moment they left Clontarf until they got up to their barracks the Volunteers had nothing to say to the transaction. In the conflict which, unfortunately, took place in the streets of Dublin, there was no Volunteer present at all. So that what the Volunteers apparently did was this: They were marching quietly along with their arms; they met the soldiers and the police, who demanded that they should give up their arms; they refused to give them up, and after, apparently, a small conflict, the Volunteers marched away, keeping their arms with them, and from then until the end of the deplorable transaction the Volunteers may be left out of it altogether. There were none at all present in the streets during the conflict that took place subsequently with the police. The soldiers were surrounded by the ordinary street crowd. They were passing some of what might be called, perhaps, the lower streets of the town—the Liffey Street, and streets like that abutting on the quay, and were surrounded by a crowd of men, women, and children, who had heard, of course, this rumour which had spread like wildfire that they had fired on and killed a 1029 number of Volunteers. The soldiers were then assailed. They were assailed apparently in a most deplorable way, and nobody regrets it more heartily than I do. They were assailed with missiles of various kinds. It is a happy thing for me to be able to say that no single soldier at that time was seriously injured, according to my information, not one. The soldiers, however, fired upon this crowd.
We were told by the Chief Secretary they they received no order from their officers to fire. His statement means this: That goaded by the cries of the crowd and by the missiles thrown at them, a number of the men, losing their heads suddenly, turned and fired. Mark that that presupposes that they were marching through the streets of Dublin with their rifles loaded with ball cartridge—[HON. MEMBERS: "No!"]—when, as everybody knows, who is at all familiar with the action of troops in dealing with riotous mobs, the first thing that happens in such cases is that the soldiers are told to load. [An HON. MEMBER: "Never!"] I think so, and I have always understood that the mere fact of ordering troops to load has often been itself a deterrent to a riotous crowd. In this case apparently they were marching to the City of Dublin with ball cartridges in their rifles. If these men under these circumstances turned and fired on a motley crowd of men, women and children, they undoubtedly did a cowardly thing. But I am happy to think in this connection that no soldier was hurt, and no one feels more deeply than I do that this is not the place to judge these men. These men are liable for whatever crime they have committed to the civil authorities, they are liable to the military authorities, and they must be judged by these authorities. They must be fairly judged and they must be fairly punished. [Laughter.] When I say they should be punished I mean if they have committed any crime. Do let hon. Members do me the simple justice of saying that I say this is not the place to judge these men. They must be judged by the civil authorities and the military authorities, and if they have been found quility of any crime they must Le properly punished.
But really the responsibility rests upon those who requisitioned the troops under these circumstances. So far as the troops are concerned, I deplore more than I can say that this has occurred—this incident calculated to breed bad blood between the Irish people and the troops. I deplore 1030 that. I hope that our people will not be so unjust as to hold the troops generally responsible for what no doubt, taking it at its worst, was the offence of a limited number of men. Let me say to the Prime Minister, as Secretary for War, that in the best interests of peace and in the best interests of the Army itself, no matter what the merits of this thing may turn out to be, I respectfully suggest to him that this regiment should be removed from Ireland. Generally let me sum up what I ask from the Government. First of all I ask that Sir John Ross should be suspended and put upon his trial at once. Secondly, I ask that there should be an immediate inquiry by impartial persons whose names ought to be disclosed at once, to-morrow if possible, into all the facts of this deplorable occurrence. I ask that a full judicial and military inquiry in addition should be held into the action of the troops, and that proper punishment should be inflicted upon them if they are found guilty. I suggest, in the interests of the Army, and in the interests of peace, the removal of this regiment from Ireland, and I ask, finally, for the revocation of this Proclamation, which, as long as it stands, will be a constant source of risk and danger. I ask that the law shall be administered impartially, and that what is regarded as lawful in Ulster shall not be regarded as a crime in Munster, Lednster or Connaught. I ask that so long as the Ulster Volunteers are allowed to arm and drill and march with fixed bayonets and machine guns, Nationalist Volunteers must be given the same freedom, and I conclude by saying, let the House clearly understand that four-fifths of the Irish people will not submit any longer to be bullied, or punished, or penalised, or shot, for conduct which is permitted to go scot-free in the open light of day in every county in Ulster by other sections of their fellow countrymen.
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Birrell)
The hon. and learned Gentleman has put forward with eloquence and with, I think, great judgment very much the question that he put to me at the close of the ordinary questions on the Paper to-day, and I think the reply that I gave to that question to some considerable extent answered some portion, at all events, and to me the most material, of the speech to which we have just listened. 1031 I informed the House, after stating the reason very shortly, but still sufficiently, that the Government had directed the suspension of Mr. Harrel pending the inquiry. The significance of that was, of course, obvious to everyone. I can only say for myself, personally, that I would fifty times sooner, whatever the personal consequences might be to myself, be here to-night supporting the action of Mr. Harrel, if I honestly could, than, as it were, recognising, as I do recognise, and as I am obliged to recognise, in my opinion at all events, the great mistake that he has made. Mr. Harrel is well known to me. He, furthermore, is the son of one of my most intimate friends in Ireland, a colleague of mine on the Congested Districts Board, and a person who, as anyone who has any knowledge of Ireland knows, is a most valuable and efficient public servant, who in all kinds of positions in Ireland, and actually as head of the men of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, has played a great part. It is therefore no pleasure to me, it is a painful duty to me, who have already been obliged to communicate to the House that in our judgment he committed such an error of judgment as requires that he should be suspended from his office, and that an inquiry should be directed as to his conduct in this case. The whole trouble, the deplorable circumstances, the loss of life, the bad blood, the ill-feeling between troops and civilians is all due, everyone must admit, was his action, right or wrong, to the demand by the Assistant-Commissioner that he should have the assistance of the military in this matter. But for that we should probably have had no trouble at all, or, at all events, none of the melancholy incidents of yesterday would ever have occurred. Therefore, the question is, was or was not the Assistant Commissioner justified in invoking the services of a small body of military to enable the police to take the proceedings, which he thought necessary for them to take, against men walking along the road from Clontarf into Dublin? I put that to the Opposition, and I ask them as men who have themselves been responsible, who, as they think, may again be responsible for public affairs, and who, at all events, have the responsibility of men who recognise that the Executive has to act—I ask them, do they approve, or can they approve, of what was done, or do they think that we are justified in 1032 saying that the officer who took this action should be suspended? I do not ask the House in any way whatever to have any doubt as to my position or the Government's position in this matter. We think there was an astonishing lack of discretion shown by this gentleman, of whom I wish to speak as well as I possibly can, knowing him as I do. I say he showed a great lack of discretion when he requisitioned 160 soldiers to come to the aid of the police, and in taking upon himself a duty which he knew perfectly well had not been undertaken by the Government in other parts of Ireland. He knew that, rightly or wrongly—and that is not the issue before the House at present—[An HON. MEMBER: "It is!"] It may be in some minds, but that is not the issue. He knew that he had undertaken to do what the Government, rightly or wrongly, had not taken upon themselves, and I am perfectly prepared to defend the action of the Government on grounds of public policy. Rightly or wrongly, they had not taken it upon themselves to interfere with the Ulster Volunteers in carrying their arms about with them, in drilling in the open and avowed fashion which they all have done, and as everybody knows they have done. They have been seen doing it. They have never denied doing it. They have done it in every one of the nine counties in Ulster, and I want to know what difference there is in one road in Belfast, or Monoghan, or Tyrone, and a road that leads from them into Dublin.
I believe as to that there is some doubt whether the action of these men, having landed their weapons—whether, when they reached Clontarf, five miles away, and were making their way in the direction of Dublin, they were committing illegalities or not. That is a question which does not arise, because, as I say, that having taken the course we have deliberately done in Ulster and Belfast, there is no reason whatever for us to raise the point as to whether these men were or were not committing illegal actions. It is very doubtful whether they were. At all events, everybody must recognise that to discriminate between Volunteers in one part of Ireland and Volunteers in another part is a thing it is absolutely impossible for any Government to do. It may be said that we ought to have taken violent action long ago to suppress the Ulster Volunteers. [HON; MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] 1033 You say that, but we did not do so, and it is, therefore, a consequential act of ordinary justice that we should not attempt to take proceedings, the legality of which may be doubtful, and, at all events, which we were estopped from taking by our action in Belfast, Ulster, and other parts of Ireland. I regret to have to pass this preliminary condemnation—for it is only a preliminary condemnation—on Mr. Harrel, whose act I cannot honestly say I regard as otherwise than an extraordinary act of indiscretion, the consequences of which have been what we all know, and what I hope we all deplore. That act should be made the subject of close and careful scrutiny, and in the meantime he should be suspended from the office that he holds.
With regard to his chief, Sir John Ross, I confess that when I first heard the news this morning of what Mr. Harrel, or the Dublin Metropolitan Police, had taken upon themselves to do, I had very little doubt in my own mind that the suspension of Mr. Harrel should have been accompanied by the suspension of Sir John Ross. I have received from Mr. Harrel a communication in which with characteristic courage—for' his courage cannot be doubted—he took upon himself the whole responsibility for this matter. That being so, in the first instance, it seems to me right that my suspension of him should be confined to himself. I have since communicated with Sir John Ross to ascertain from him whether it be a fact, as I am led to suppose by Mr. Harrel, that he really had no responsibility whatever for this matter, and, if so, whether he, since he knew of it, associates himself with the act, and if so—[Interruption.] I think it is only right and proper to say that the original view which I first had as to the two officers together, one the chief and the other the subordinate, was! that both should be included in the same suspension—
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of a communication from Mr. Harrel. Is there any objection to read it to the House?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
Yes, I think there is a strong objection, inasmuch as Mr. Harrel is suspended pending an inquiry into the whole proceedings. [Interruption.] The right hon. Gentleman asked me whether I condemned him. I suspended him in consequence of his having, in my judgment, committed a great breach of discretion, 1034 and pending that suspension there will be an inquiry into his conduct, and in that suspension Sir John Ross will be included if it appears to me the fact that he himself is equally responsible for the act which has required the suspension of Mr. Harrel. I was very glad to notice what was said by the hon. and learned Gentleman with regard to the soldiers. It is most important that you should distinguish what took place at Clontarf, which is the boundary of the municipal city of Dublin, and where the Volunteers with their rifles proceeded along a road when stopped by the police being drawn across it—it is most important to distinguish what took place there, and what took place subsequently when the troops were withdrawn from the police—all their duties being over, and the police having separated from them—and were simply making their way back to the barracks.
At Clontarf the whole thing arose from the action of the police. The police crossed the road and forbade the Volunteers to proceed any further, and in a scrimmage they appear to have been successful in possessing themselves of some twenty or twenty-two of the rifles which were in the possession of the foremost members of the Volunteers. The soldiers, if I may make reference to a report without now being required to produce what will be made the subject-matter of a complete inquiry, made no complaint whatever against the action of the Volunteers. They had no reason whatever to believe that these two lamentable shots which were fired, one of which injured one soldier and the other injured another, were fired by the Volunteers at all. [An HON MEMBER: "Who fired them?"] How can I answer the question who fired them? In the belief of the soldiers they did not proceed from the Volunteers. That, I think, ought to be a matter for congratulation to everybody, particularly to every Irishman. But for that lamentable occurrence, which I deeply deplore, the interference and the incidence at Clontarf might be said to have passed over without any very great remark. The Volunteers, remaining in possession of their arms, dispersed. The police were taken off and made their own way back, and the soldiers, only 160 of them in all, relieved from having been requisitioned in this manner to support the civil force, were making their way back to their barracks. They made their way back for a mile or two, as far as I can make out, without 1035 any interference. But as they approached Amiens Street Station and the streets near thereto they were made the victims of a gross attack. Here I will read the whole of one report which I have received from the Brigadier. It is short, and I think in justice to the soldiers that it should be read:—The reason for troops being sent out was personal request made to me by Assistant Commissioner Harrel of the Dublin Metropolitan Police, for the assistance of military to seize arms illegally being brought into Dublin, as Volunteers carrying arms"—an occurrence that is long familiar to many hon. Gentlemen opposite—were reported to be 1,000 strong at least, all armed with rifles, fixed bayonets, and then marching on Dublin. I had to act at once, and dispatched the nearest troops available. No time to make other arrangement. Officer commanding Scottish Borderers informs me, so far as he can form an opinion, the National Volunteers who brought in arms from Howth and then dispersed, were in no way concerned with dangerous and savage mob which attacked the Scottish Borderers on the way back to barracks. Practically all officers and men were hit, and eighteen men are so seriously hurt as to be either in hospital or unfit for duty this morning. This includes the two men wounded by revolver shots. I am of opinion troops acted with great forbearance and self-restraint under circumstances of great provocation. Charge at Clontarf with bayonet. No order to fire given.That means given at Clontarf. Nor was, as I informed the House earlier this afternoon, any order to fire given by the commanding officer, then commanding, where the later incident occurred, and where the lamentable loss of life happened, there being three lives lost and thirty-one persons more or less seriously injured, though I hope, with these three deaths the loss of life is at an end. Therefore, we have to distinguish carefully between the two incidents, the attack by the mob on the soldiers, which was made as the soldiers were making their way back to barracks, and the incident at Clontarf. There was no question there of the soldiers aiding the civil force. There was no mob no faction, and no contention whatsoever for the soldiers to pacify. They were simply making their way back to barracks, where, in consequence it may be of the reports to which the hon. and learned Gentleman has referred, an angry mob of a violent kind did attack them. Therefore, I do honestly hope that in the interests of the soldiers, and in justice to the soldiers, it will not be said that, whatever occurred, the soldiers fired upon a defenceless mob. The mob were the attackers. They made a serious attack on a very limited number of soldiers; they surrounded them in all particulars, and hindered their passage to their barracks. 1036 Those, at all events, are the circumstances as to which full inquiry will have to take place. With reference to the removal of the Scottish Borderers from Dublin, that is a matter which I shall refer to the right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, who is also Secretary of State for War, who will per haps take into consideration what is pro posed to be done, and will do all he can. I say that the whole fons et origo mali was the intervention—
§ Mr. BIRRELL
In the opinion of the Noble Lord the Government is the origin and foundation of all evils. [Interruption.] What occasioned all this trouble and dispute and ill-blood and ill-feeling was the wholly unnecessary intervention of the military in this matter. If that had not been done, this Adjournment would not have been moved, and we should not be here discussing this question now. And, therefore, I say, in all honesty and depth of conviction, that it is right and proper that the person or persons responsible for requisitioning the military in this matter should be made a subject-matter of inquiry, and that, pending that inquiry, he or they should be suspended from the offices which they occupy. That is the view which I present to the House, and I shall be very much surprised if right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite, particularly those connected in any way with what is going on in Ulster, would attempt in any way to distinguish between the two cases of interference which would be justifiable in one case, when it has not been made in the other.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
Let me say at the outset that I appreciate, as I think the whole House did, the temperate way in which a case about which he must feel very strongly was presented by the hon. and learned Gentleman. I have only one comment to make, if I may even venture to put that, on his statement of the case. I think that he was not fair to the soldiers for the information which we have just received from the Chief Secretary, and I would remind him and the House also that it is surely drawing too big a conclusion to assume that the soldiers were marching with loaded rifles, for obviously it was in their power if they had the cartridges to insert them at a moment's notice, and this is probably what was done. I have listened to many speeches of the right hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, which 1037 surprised me, but I never listened to any speech or read any speech which seemed so amazing as that to which we have just listened. There are two perfectly distinct questions which arise in connection with the subject which we are discussing tonight. The first of these is the incident with which previous speakers have dealt, and important that is indeed, for I do not at the moment, at least, recall any occurrence of the same kind which was more deplorable than the one which happened yesterday. That is therefore very important. But the other question which arises is to my mind far more important, and that is that the conditions under which the Government of Ireland is carried on to-day have made such an incident possible, and in my opinion have made such incidents inevitable in one part or other of Ireland. I shall not say much about the incident itself now; nor indeed shall I occupy much of the time of the House. But in the first place I should like to draw the attention of the House to what the Chief Secretary considers justice to men who are serving under his orders.
Take, first, Sir John Ross. I really think that when the Chief Secretary reads in cold blood what he has said on that matter, he will himself be ashamed of it. What did he say? He said, not merely that if Sir John Ross shared the responsibility he would also suspend him—with that I should find no fault—but that he would put the question to Sir John Ross, "Do you associate yourself with what is done?" A more utterly unjust thing it is impossible to conceive. If that question were put to any man in the position of Sir John Ross, if he were a loyal man, what answer but one could he give to that question? Of all men to make a suggestion of that kind the last, I think, should be a Member of the Government. It would be quite natural that the Prime Minister, or the head of any Government, should be asked whether he had responsibility for something done or said by his colleagues, and in his case he must accept it. But would any Prime Minister, unless he felt that his colleagues had been disloyal to him, or he were disloyal to his colleagues, if he were asked whether he associated himself with what was done, give any answer but one? Let us turn to Mr. Harrel. I do not think that the method adopted by the Chief Secretary is one which is likely to secure for any Government efficient and loyal service 1038 in the future. What does he do? He tells us that he is instituting an inquiry into the action of Mr. Harrel, and, before that inquiry takes place, he condemns him in language stronger than I have ever heard applied to any servant of the Government. He condemns him in advance.
When I asked him if he would read to the House the communication he has received from Mr. Harrel, he says, "No; the subject is a matter of inquiry." He cannot give Mr. Harrel's defence because the subject is sub judice, but that does not prevent him from condemning him beforehand. I quite recognise the truth of what the Chief Secretary said, that what was done was very serious, and I shall certainly not be prepared now to say that it was not right to suspend Mr. Harrel. I do not say that. My own position is this, and I think it is a position that the House ought to adopt: We ought to keep an open mind until we have more knowledge of the facts than has been communicated to us up to the present. Let us take, for instance, the ground on which the Chief Secretary condemns him. It is that Mr. Harrel must have known that similar acts were being done in Ulster, and, therefore, obviously it was not right for him to interfere with them in Munster or Leinster. But there is a preliminary question. I understood that all over the South and West of Ireland the Government and the police were stopping the importation of arms. If so, had not the police instructions to carry out that operation? And the preliminary question which this House has a right to ask the Chief Secretary here is: Did he tell the police that since such things had been done in Ulster, they were to be permitted in the rest of Ireland; if not, was this gentleman doing other than acting in accordance with instructions which had been given to him? But there is something else which I should like to ask the House to consider in reference to the answer which was read this afternoon. It is perfectly incomprehensible to me, the whole incident. This is what happened. Mr. Harrel telephoned to the Under-Secretary and the message reached him at two o'clock. He went, as I understand, to the office in Dublin Castle at once, and he expected the Under-Secretary to join him there.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
No; Mr. Harrel expected the Under-Secretary. If the right hon. Gentleman will allow me I will read 1039 the passage to him. The Under-Secretary could have reached the place in a quarter of an hour at the outside. He took three-quarters of an hour, and when he got there the head of the Irish Constabulary said, not that Mr. Harrel had not come, he said: "Mr. Assistant Commissioner was sorry to say that he was unable to stay and see the Under-Secretary." He had been there. This thing, if it were to be stopped at all, must be stopped at once; there was no time to lose. Therefore, he must take the responsibility of either making up his mind that he would not interfere or that he would take action at once. There is something more in this connection. The Government in Ireland adopted a method which commends itself to many people, and finds favour with the Government, and that is the hunting out a scapegoat to save themselves. What did they do? They wrote a precious Minute. They could have found out with perfect case where Mr. Harrel was. [An HON. MEMBEE: "No!"] Why not? They knew where the incident was taking place, why could not they have sent a motor car with the message and given it to Mr. Harrel? It was perfectly easy. Remember, the officer in command of these troops was not at their head at first, but Major Haig was able to reach them quite easily. Why could not the message from the Under-Secretary have been sent to Mr. Harrel in exactly the same way? What happened? They wrote a Minute to save their own precious skin, and they sent it to the office where they knew Mr. Harrel was not, instead of sending it to Mr. Harrel where he was. They have evidently learned the lesson which is taught them by those on that bench—they like to "wait and see." They were not sure that Mr. Harrel would not be successful; in that case they would let him do it. If he turned out to be unsuccessful, there is the Minute; he is to blame; we have nothing to do with it. But there is something else in connection with this business. I have the report from the Press Gallery. I will not read the Minute, but this is the end of it:—(Signed)", J.B.D.' the Under-Secretary, 27th July, 1914.Is it a mistake?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
That part, of course, falls away and I will say no more about it—but it is one of the mistakes which ought not be made—and, remember, this is not 1040 the report of the Press, this is the report that was sent to the Press by the Chief Secretary. That is all that I will say about the incident except this, that I thoroughly agree with all that was said by the hon. and learned Member for Water-ford (Mr. J. Redmond) about the regret-tableness of this from every point of view. It has raised in its acutest form, what every well-wisher, either of the United Kingdom or of Ireland, would wish to avoid—it raises the old feeling of hostility and hatred against the British Army in Ireland. I turn to the other and far more important aspect of this question. How is it possible that such things can happen? There is only one answer. It is because the Government have abrogated authority in Ireland and have ceased to govern. You cannot declare in one part of Ireland that "we will do nothing, and we will allow the law to be openly broken," and expect that it will be obeyed in another part of Ireland. I entirely agree with every word that was said by the hon. and learned Member for Water-ford—every word; and I go further, and I say that I do not blame in any shape or form the Nationalist Volunteers for what they did yesterday. Ulster Volunteers would have done the same. It is not a subject on which we can blame them. We would have all acted as they did if in their place. But what about the Government which allows those things to be done and takes no step to put it down? An hon. Member below the Gangway said it is the fault of my right hon. Friend. I share it, and at the proper time, which this is not, I am prepared, and I shall be prepared again, not only to justify it but to declare in our sincere belief no other course was open. What has that to do with it? It is not the fact that the law is broken which brings the law into contempt. It is broken in all countries. What brings the law into contempt is that it is broken with impunity. It is the Government and the Government alone is responsible. The hon. and learned Gentleman asked, and it was received with cheers in all quarters of the House except the Treasury Bench, is there an Executive in Ireland. That is a natural question, and I think the hon. and learned Gentleman told us not so long ago that the real Chief Secretary was the Member for West Belfast (Mr. Devlin). There was an Executive then, at all events, and now, apparently, it does not give the same satisfaction. I say there never has been a case, 1041 to the best of my belief, in the history of any country where a Government has deliberately refused to carry out the law and yet continue to hold office. They had at the very outset of this business two courses open to them. When they found, as the hon. and learned Member for Waterford pointed out, that men were openly drilling to resist the Government, the Government, I think, had only two courses open to them. They were bound then to say to the hon. and learned Member: "In the bargain which I have made with you I have undertaken—[An HON. MEMBER: "Rubbish!" and HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"]—more than I can carry out. That was one of them, and the other course was to say, "I intend to carry out our policy, and I shall put down any illegal act which is directed against that policy." That was their proper course if they meant to carry it out. In my belief nothing could be more criminal, if they really meant to carry out their policy, than to allow this force to grow day by day and week by week with the knowledge that when they came to deal with it it would be infinitely more difficult than it was at the beginning. That is obvious, anyone must see. What did they do? At the beginning they poured contempt on the movement; it was wooden guns and all the rest of it; then the gun-running at Larne took place, and we had another tone. The Prime Minister said this:—In view of this grave and unprecedented outrage the House may be assured that His Majesty's Government will take, without delay, appropriate steps to indicate the authority of the law and protect officers and servants of the King and His Majesty's subjects in the exercise of their duty.He did not do so, and we now know the reason. The hon. Member for Waterford told us he informed him he did not approve of it, and that was the end of it, of course. When that happened, I put it to any hon. Member in any quarter of the House, if any Government could hope to retain the respect and confidence of any section of their supporters, they were bound, if they thought they had the power and sanction of the people, to assert the authority of the law; and if they doubted it, their one course was to go to the people. I know that on the benches opposite that is considered the last word in defeating the democracy, and they passed a resolution only the other day that they will forgive the right hon. Gentleman anything except an appeal to the people. I quite agree with the hon. and learned Member, if they are not going to assert the law in one part of Ireland they have no 1042 right to do it in another, absolutely none. The hon. and learned Gentleman was quite right in saying, "If you allow it in Ulster, you must allow it in Meath," and the right hon. Gentleman, perhaps feeling that a Division might be taken against him, at once adopted the view of the hon. and learned Gentleman. The hon. and learned Gentleman said that he wrote to the Government, or, at all events, told them—[An HON. MEMBER: "Wrote!"]—that the one way of preserving peace—this is such a gem that I wrote it down—was by constituting one armed force to set against another.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
If the right hon. Gentleman will allow me I will quote the words:—Furthermore, the incidents of the Curragh have given them the fixed idea that they cannot rely on the Army for protection. The possession of arms by the Nationalists under these circumstances, will not be a provocation of disorder between the two populations, but a means of preserving peace.
I thank the hon. and learned Gentleman for confirming what I said. I admit that is quite fair. But what does it mean from the point of view of the Government? It means that there is no (Government; there is anarchy in Ireland; and the proper course—and the actual result, according to what the Chief Secretary has said—is that you should withdraw all pretence of governing Ireland, and leave these two forces to preserve peace with each other. We are now a stage further. This incident, which has simply borne out what everyone with any knowledge of Ireland saw must inevitably come in one part of Ireland or another, has only one effect upon the Prime Minister, which is, "If we are to get a settlement, let us delay it a little longer, and put off the Amending Bill." And the reason he gave for it exceeded anything I have ever heard for its frankness. He put it off because he could not have sufficient communication with hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway. Surely he has had time enough for those communications! The one thing which the Government have never done—and it is the direct cause of the bloodshed yesterday—is that they have never been able to make up their mind as to what the proper policy is and risk their fate upon it.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The right hon. Gentleman is a master—indeed, a past-master—in superlatives, especially in the 1043 vocabulary of vituperation. Every speech to which he refers is the most amazing specimen of ineptitude he has ever heard in the whole of his Parliamentary career. When I suggested, as I did to-day, that it was a reasonable thing, in view of the lamentable occurrences which were reported yesterday and this morning from Ireland, that the Nationalist party, containing three-fourths of the representatives of the Irish people, should have an opportunity to-morrow, free from these perturbing considerations, of consulting as to the Amending Bill, the right hon. Gentleman says, "That is only another in stance of your gross subservience." I am not going to follow the right hon. Gentle man's example. In the few observations with which I shall trouble the House I am going to deal with the serious matters which ought to engage our attention and which are relevant to this Motion. First of all, let me say one or two words—and I say them as being, for the time being, the incumbent of the office of Secretary of State for War—in regard to the action and conduct of the troops. The troops were requisitioned—the officer in command of the troops was requested to supply them by an official, the Assistant-Commissioner of Police, who has a statutory right to call upon him to do so, and he did nothing more than his duty when he complied with that request. The troops, I think it is now conceded on all hands—I did not understand the hon. and learned Gentleman to suggest otherwise—the comparatively small body of troops, 160 men in all, of the King's Own Scottish Borderers, obeying that requisition, went to Clontarf, and although an unfortunate fracas, but not of a very serious kind, there took place, at which it is admitted two shots were fired, not by the Volunteers—[An HON. MEMBER: "Yes!"] The evidence is all the other way. Two shots were fired and a soldier was wounded. It is not suggested, I think, in any quarter that the soldiers exceeded their duty or did anything beyond what they might reasonably have been expected in such circumstances to do. That incident came to an end. The soldiers' duty in support of the civil power had terminated. They were returning to their barracks, unescorted by the police, in the ordinary way, when in consequence, as it appears, of unfounded and exaggerated rumours circulated in Dublin, they were assailed with great violence—with so much 1044 violence that, according to the reports that we have, not a single officer or man escaped some slight bruise or wound, and something like eighteen or twenty are sufficiently seriously injured to be in the hospital to-day. Moreover, it was with the very greatest difficulty that they were able to make their way along the narrow street to the barracks, which were their ultimate destination. No one regrets more than I do that under these conditions shots should have been fired. They were fired without order. They were the acts of individual soldiers. A deplorable loss of life ensued. Under the whole of these circumstances, I do not think the House and the country will come to any other conclusion than that the soldiers were exposed to very great provocation, and that what happened, much as it is to be lamented, is not a fitting subject for condemnation, nor does the hon. Gentleman ask that condemnation should be passed. [HON. MEMBERS: "He did!"] I understood the hon. Gentleman to say that he regretted the incident—[An HON. MEMBER: "He called them cowards!"]—I understood the hon. Member to regret the incident, both because it might create bad blood between some part of the people in Ireland and the British Army.
§ Mr. JOHN REDMOND
I do not like to be misunderstood in this matter. I detailed what was reported to me as the version of the occurrence. I did not say that I was prejudging the case. I said that that ought to be decided by the proper authorities, who should investigate the matter; but I said that if the version which was given to me were correct, then it was a cowardly thing to fire upon the people. I did not denounce these men as cowards. I do not know whether they are guilty or not. I said most distinctly I was not here to judge them; and that they ought to be judged by the civil or military authorities.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
That was the sense in which I understood the hon. Gentleman. I think that he will find the version to which he referred is an incorrect one. But at any rate a full inquiry will be held, and from that inquiry I feel, no doubt, that the soldiers will emerge with credit to themselves and the Army to which they belong. The right hon. Gentleman attacked with very great vehemence—I might almost say with virulence—the right hon. Gentleman who 1045 sits beside me (Mr. Birrell) as to the attitude which he has adopted with regard to his own subordinates, Sir John Ross and Mr. Harrel. I have had considerable experience, perhaps a larger experience than any man in this House, of being taken to task for the actions of those who were my subordinates or my colleagues—an almost unique record. I do not want to speak with anything like self-complacency, but I do not know that, on the whole, I have been successfully charged often with failing to respond to obligations of chivalry and loyalty to those associated with me. Speaking with that experience, and having listened most carefully to all that my right hon. Friend beside me said to-night, I cannot see any foundation or justification whatsoever for what the right hon. Gentleman opposite said. Let me give an illustration.
He said it was most unfair to put to Sir John Ross—Sir John Ross who is the official superior of Mr. Harrel—to put to Sir John Ross—presumably he was in Dublin at the time, and he was certainly officially responsible for the action of the police—the question: "Do you or do you not associate yourself with Mr. Harrel?" [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] I am very glad to hear from hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite such an expression of indignation about the unfairness of such a question. It is a question put to me once a week. I do not complain. I do not regard it as an imputation upon my honour. I do not complain of the unfairness of those who put it. It is one of the commonplaces of political controversy, and I will add of political justice. If persons stand in the relation of superior and subordinates, the superior may fairly be asked—nay, be bound—to answer the question whether he does or does not associate himself with the action of those under him. [An HON. MBHBER: "He ought to be asked!"] The right hon. Gentleman said that my right hon. Friend has condemned Mr. Harrel in advance. Nothing of the kind. [An HON. MEMBER: "He did!"] No; may I explain? What my right hon. Friend did was this: He pointed out that upon the facts so far as we know them Mr. Harrel was guilty of a most regrettable error of judgment; an error of judgment which led to these deplorable consequences; that that error of judgment, as it appears upon the facts stated—and admitted up to the present time—was sufficiently grave, not only to justify, but to require, his suspension for the time being from his 1046 official functions, but that the ultimate judgment must depend upon a further and fuller inquiry. What is unfair about that? It is a course, I venture to say, which, when you have regard to the very responsible position which Mr. Harrel occupies, and the difficult and delicate conditions with which he has every day to deal, which any and every responsible administrator in this country must inevitably, under the circumstances, adopt.
I do not want, I need not say, to prejudge the case of Mr. Harrel, but as the right hon. Gentleman has chosen to labour it, I must just point out two or three significant, and, as it seems to me, most material facts. In the first place, when these communications took place between; Mr. Harrel and his official superiors, the arms had already been landed at Howth. In other words, the Proclamation which makes the importation of arms illegal had already exhausted itself. [Laughter.] I assure hon. Gentlemen that I am not talking nonsense. The Proclamation is a Proclamation against the importation of arms. It is quite true that Custom officers have the right when goods, arms, or other Customable articles are unlawfully landed, to search, and the right of prosecution. I am not aware that they have the right of seizure. The right hon. and learned Gentleman says so, but I am not aware of it. I am certainly not aware that the police have it. We have acted consistently with the view of the law in all our proceedings in Ulster, as hon. Gentlemen opposite very well know. The right hon. Gentleman read a passage from a speech or an answer of mine some weeks ago in regard to the original gun-running adventure in Ulster, in which I said that "appropriate steps would be taken to prevent the violation of the law." Those steps were taken. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"l Certainly those steps were taken, and the result of their being taken and taken impartially—[Interruption.] I hope I may be allowed to proceed, we cannot carry on debate with irrelevant comment, and as a result of those steps being taken—and impartially taken all round the coast of Ireland—taken as against intended importations which were destined for Unionists and for Nationalist Volunteers alike—the number of arms that have actually reached the shores of Ireland in violation of the Proclamation since that time has been comparatively insignificant. In 1047 fact, I think that this is the first time that anything on so substantial a scale has taken place. From that day to this the Government have carried on with absolute and rigorous impartiality their determination, so far as it was possible, to prevent the importation of arms. That being the case, and the action of the Government having, rightly or wrongly—I think rightly—throughout been determined upon these lines, this gentleman took an entirely new departure, for he not only set out himself with his own police, but, still more, he requisitioned the military to assist him in the attempt, not to prevent the importation of arms, but after the arms had been landed, and were in possession of those who had taken possession of them, and who were then at a point some six miles distant from the place of importation—that being the distance from Howth to Clontarf—in order to seize these arms and deprive the persons who had them of them. That is a thing that was never done before, and he had no authority to do it, and before he could have any authority to do it, and before he did it he ought, at least, to have got the express permission of his official superiors at Dublin Castle. We now know he did nothing of the kind, but on the contrary. I am not for a moment suggesting that he deliberately evaded the communication of his superior officers. Nothing of the kind, but the fact that communication was broken down, and we know the superior officers expressly recorded their opinion that no such action was legal or possible. The right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Bonar Law) spoke of the Minute of Sir James Dougherty as one of the most deplorable things he had ever heard. Here is a Minute written by an executive officer who is not here to speak for himself. [HON. MEMBERS: "Is Sir John Ross here; is Harrel here?"] I am going to speak for him.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Here is an executive officer of the highest position in the hierarchy of Dublin, and when these facts are brought to his notice he deliberately recorded—after consultation with those who advised him, and speaking, of course, in the name of the Lord Lieutenant—his opinion that this step ought not to be taken. What does the 1048 right hon. Gentleman say about that? He says it is a Minute of theirs—I do not know whom he means by "theirs"—to save their own skin. This Minute was written by Sir James Dougherty to save whose skin? When was it written?
§ The PRIME MINISTER
That is a disgraceful insinuation. [Interruption, and HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!"] First of all the right hon. Gentleman opposite suggests that it was sent to an address where Sir James Dougherty knew it would not find him—that it was deliberately sent to a place where Mr. Harrel was not to be found—and then the Noble Lord says the date was affixed. That is what I said was disgraceful.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
That, I think, is unfair. I gave the date when it was communicated to the Press by the Chief Secretary.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
The right hon. Gentleman withdraws it, but still this insinuation is persisted in by the Noble Lord.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
The right hon. Gentleman says my conduct is disgraceful, but what I meant was whether that Minute was written in time to communicate with Mr. Harrel in order to stop what they considered to be illegal.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
[HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw!" and Interruption.] It was written and sent at a time when in the ordinary course it should have been received. It was sent to his office.
§ The PRIME MINISTER
Other people were there, and they ought to have transmitted it to him. I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman makes that point. It was sent to the office where the officer ought to be, or where he ought to have left his address. I am speaking now of the Minute of Sir James Dougherty. I said he did what was perfectly reasonable. He wrote a Minute, and he sent it to the office of the person for whom it was intended. If that person was not at his office, the persons there ought to transmit it to him. Sir James Dougherty did everything a man could reasonably or possibly do in the circumstances. I apologise for 1049 dealing with these apparently small details, but one cannot allow charges of that kind to pass without examining them.
I have just two or three words more to say with regard to what the right hon. Gentleman said at the close of his speech. He said this question was an illustration of what he called our abdication of the government in Ireland. Well, Sir, I confess I look upon this matter of the importation of arms—I will not say it is trivial or insignficant—as of comparatively minor importance. The most important thing about it is that so long as the prohibition is maintained it should be impartially applied in every part and as between every section of the Irish population. But what is far more important than this comparatively trivial matter of the importation of arms is the general attitude of the Government and of the Opposition to the maintenance of the authority of the law. That is where the real crux of the question comes in. Our difficulties, I agree, in governing Ireland under existing conditions are very great. They are due partly, and as I believe mainly, to the inherent viciousness of a system under which you seek to govern a people that you do not understand by a Parliament which is imperfectly equipped to deal with their special problems and interests. That difficulty of long standing is about, we hope, soon to be removed. That difficulty in these latter years has been immeasurably enhanced, has been enormously exaggerated by the language and attitude of those who sit upon the Front Bench opposite, who have proclaimed as part of their political gospel violation of the law as a cardinal virtue, and who are yet perpetually claiming a better title than ourselves to govern the country and the Empire. It is there that one of the roots of our difficulties in Ireland has lain. Until we once more come to an agreement that in this country, and wherever the British Crown and the authority of the British Parliament are, at any rate, nominally supreme, wherever they are even nominally supreme, that fundamental respect for law, so long as it remains law, and for law so long as it becomes law and as soon as it becomes law—until we come once more to a common agreement on that point, I warn those right hon. Gentlemen—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh, oh!"]—who are looking forward with such ardent and pleasurable 1050 anticipation to succeeding us on these benches, I warn them that they will find the government of Ireland an impossible task.
The speech of the Leader of the Opposition has dealt with things quite separate though necessarily interconnected subjects, namely, in the first place, the action of certain officials in Ireland and the action in this House of the head of the Irish Administration, and in the second place, with certain broad principles of government which filled the latter part of the speech of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. On the first of those points I must honestly say that I think the right hon. Gentleman did not make a successful case. The charge against the Chief Secretary was that, on the information which we have, and which he has communicated to the House, he has not given that support to his officials in Ireland which is the prerequisite of every successful Government. The Prime Minister brought before us his own case, and we listened on this side of the House with sympathy for the pathetic picture he drew of an unfortunate head of an administration having weekly to take upon his own shoulders a responsibility for all the wild utterances. I must say that no human being has ever suggested that the Prime Minister was lacking in loyalty in carrying out that onerous task. He has done it year in and year out, and he has received in the past our warmest sympathy. We know the heavy burden that must have been thrown upon him, and we have persistently admired the admirable dexterity with which he has dealt with one difficult situation after another, certainly without sacrificing his loyalty to his colleagues, and with as little other sacrifices as the nature of the situation would permit.
Then, Sir, the Prime Minister suggested that the Chief Secretary for Ireland had followed in his footsteps. I confess I saw neither the loyalty nor the dexterity. Like the hon. and learned Member for Waterford, our knowledge is necessarily imperfect. So, I presume, is the knowledge of the Chief Secretary, because I imagine he has not kept back any facts from the House which are material to a judgment of this case. But on the facts he has given to the House, had he any right to say that the action of Mr. Harrel was utterly unjustified? On the facts, as he has given them to the House, had he any right to put questions to Sir John 1051 Ross, not as to what he did, but as to what he would have done? We have heard the most violent and, I think, just condemnations, not from one side of the House only, of those who ask hypo thetical questions of soldiers as to what they would or would not do. Those questions related to the future, but this unfortunate official who is at the head of the Dublin Metropolitan Constabulary is not only asked what he would do in the future, but what he would have done had he been in a certain position in the past. The right hon. Gentleman was so satisfied with this method of procedure that he told the House that if a wrong answer had been given in this singular examination to which he subjected one of his highest officials, that official would have been suspended—[HON. MEMBERS: "Will be suspended!"]—yes, will be suspended. He is asked the question. He has told us two alternative answers, and if he gives an answer which, in the opinion of the Chief Secretary, is wrong, he will be suspended. Is that the way in which the right hon. Gentleman thinks he can manage a great Department like that with which he so kindly deals from this side of St. George's Channel?
Let us turn from the case of Sir John Ross to the case of Mr. Harrel. My right hon. Friend put certain questions in his speech with regard to the treatment of Mr. Harrel. Have those questions been answered by the Prime Minister? They have not been answered. The facts as we know them from the Chief Secretary are these: At two o'clock in the afternoon the Under-Secretary was informed by telephone of what was going on at home. The Assistant Commissioner telephoned this information and asked for an interview. The matter was obviously pressing, and most pressing, and the speech of the Prime Minister shows how pressing it was, because the Prime Minister said you have a perfect right to seize arms at the port, but no right to seize them when they have got a mile or two inland. I do not know whether that is good law. The Prime Minister is a lawyer, and I am not, but I am told it is very bad law. But let us assume it is good law. Does it not mean, if you are administering these rules about arms impartially and effectively, that there ought to be the most rapid action? Whenever news comes to any authority on the coast of Ireland that arms are being imported, 1052 ought there not to be the most rapid action of the Executive, and ought not those arms to be seized at the port? So far as I can make out from the story of the Chief Secretary, the Under-Secretary spent three-quarters of an hour before he appeared at the Castle at all. That is in the question. I do not think that it can be denied.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
Not at all. The Under-Secretary was at Phoenix Park about two o'clock, and made an appointment to meet Mr. Harrel there at 2.45
It is not in the answer given by the right hon. Gentleman. The statement made in the answer of the right hon. Gentleman whether the news was received at 2 o'clock, and the Under-Secretary reached the Castle at 2.45. Observe Mr. Harrel's view of his duty. I do not know that this is contradicted by the Government. It was that he ought to interfere at the earliest possible moment with the landing of these arms. He had gone on the business of getting the necessary force to deal with that situation at the earliest moment. The Under-Secretary arrived after three-quarters of an hour, and did not find him. Mr. Harrel was taking all the steps which he deemed necessary to carry out what he supposed, and surely he rightly supposed, was the policy of the Government. Is it not the policy of the Government, if possible, to prevent the landing of arms, and, if landed, to seize them before they have reached the mystic distance of six miles, which apparently makes them immune from capture? He hurried off to get the necessary force. In the meanwhile, what does the Under-Secretary and the Lord Lieutenant do? They meet in the Castle, and they draft a Minute to the Assistant Commissioner. They say in this draft Minute, "As regards the steps which you have taken on your own responsibility." How did they know those steps? What were those steps? According to the story given in the answer of the Chief Secretary there had been no communication of any sort between the Under-Secretary and the Commissioner between 2 and 2.45. After 2.45 the Under-Secretary and the Lord Lieutenant draft this Minute. At that time they are fully acquainted with the steps which the Commissioner had taken on his own responsibility, and they differed from them profoundly. How did they know the steps? Something has been 1053 omitted. Some part of the story has not been told. What is that part?
May I take the House a step further. When they wrote this Minute they knew what the Deputy-Commissioner had done, and they knew therefore that part of what he had done consisted in the requisitioning of the troops to deal with the arms. They knew that. Presumably they were afraid of a collision between the troops and the people. The whole justification of the action of the Chief Secretary in suspending Mr. Harrel is that a collision was rendered possible or probable by sending troops to Howth. That is the gravamen of the charge. If they knew when they wrote that Minute that the Deputy-Commissioner had made the requisition, and if they profoundly disapproved of that course, why did they not take every step in their power to anticipate any evil they foresaw, and send a message, not merely to the Deputy-Commissioner, but to the troops? Why did they not, in fact, let everybody connected with the affair understand that on reflection the Lord Lieutenant and the Under-Secretary were of opinion that nothing should be done to stop the landing of arms? They did not do that. They took no steps. But they sent a note to the office of the Chief Commissioner, whom they knew to be absent on the Sunday. Is it credible that these people really were afraid of a collision between the troops and the people, and were really anxious to do everything in their power to stop a collision, and yet did nothing but send a note to an officer who they knew was absent? In face of that primâ facie case—for without knowing more of the facts we can treat it as nothing but a primâ facie case—I want to know how my right hon. Friend exceeded his duties in this House by saying that the motives of these gentlemen must have been something other and beyond that of trying to prevent the landing of arms. They were thinking—as surely we are entitled to think—of the kind of examination which apparently the Chief Secretary is prepared to put his subordinate officials through, and if they did not, under that examination, exactly agree with the Chief Secretary's views, they also would be suspended. To suspend an official means to condemn him primâ facie. I see nothing in the facts given to us which justifies the Government in condemning Mr. Harrel. If you are to act upon this primâ facie condemnation, I should have thought there were other people to be suspended.
1054 Before I leave that branch of the subject, may I ask one other question! Why is it that Mr. Harrel was condemned and suspended, and had this Minute thrown at his head? Why? Because he had not personally the insight to see that, as the Government did nothing in Ulster, therefore they were expected to do nothing anywhere else. Whether the Government were right or wrong in doing nothing in Ulster I will not argue. But was Mr. Harrel to argue it? Is that the kind of argument you want your subordinate officials to go through? Are they to say—"The Government, for reasons of their own, think it inexpedient, or difficult, or impossible to enforce what they declare is the law in Ulster, and, therefore, to enforce the same law elsewhere than in Ulster is obviously inexpedient, difficult, and perhaps impossible, and I will not try to do it?" Is that the policy which the Chief Secretary wishes to inculcate in all his officials? The policy is not only grotesque. It does not merely lay itself open to severe Parliamentary censure. I say in this House that the gross injustice of condemning—and it is condemnation—a man before he is heard, because he has not interpreted his action under the law exactly in conformity with the way in which the administration of the law is interpreted by this Government in other parts of Ireland—constitutes a rule which it is impossible to carry out—and to condemn a man because he does not see with that subtle eye to votes which you have in this House, or with a happy discrimination between Ulster Volunteers and National Volunteers—to condemn him for that, is to condemn yourselves and not to condemn him.
I am not going to detain the House any longer, but I must say one word upon the latter part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. The right hon. Gentleman having as I think, very imperfectly and inadequately succeeded in defending the very disloyal action of the Chief Secretary towards his own subordinates, turns upon the Opposition, and turns in particular upon the Leader of the Opposition, and declares that it is through what we have done and what we have said in reference to Ulster that all these troubles have occurred. He went out of his way to repeat a charge for which, I admit, if you go over the centuries, there is too much justice, that this House has not always understood the Irish question with which it had to deal, and that many mistakes have been made by this 1055 House, as doubtless many mistakes were made by an Irish Parliament when an Irish Parliament was in existence. Was there ever in the whole history of the mismanagement of Ireland, from within and without, a case in which the misconception by this Parliament of the Irish problem was so potent, so obvious and so scandalous as their misapprehension of the position in Ulster? The Home Rule question has been before this House since 18S6, and from the very first year in which that subject was brought forward, Ulster has never failed, by every means in her power, to make it clear to everybody who would listen how she thought about this particular method of restoring peace. [HON. MEMBERS: "We have a majority in Ulster!"] We need not argue about that. [Interruption.] The very fact that that is put forward shows that the profound misunderstanding of the problem has not even yet been dissipated in some minds on the other side. I use the word "Ulster" as it is commonly used, but in order to avoid all controversy, let us say the North-East corner of Ireland. As to the limits which it covers, let us leave that on one side. I say that ever since 1886 the third of Ireland which was the most industrious and which had the greatest industrial future, which was nearest akin to the Gentlemen who sit on the other side in blood, in opinion—religious and political—have never concealed their opinions and never concealed the fact that so firmly did they hold those opinions that, rather than submit to be placed under a Parliament in Dublin, and rather than submit to being torn from the United Kingdom, there was no personal sacrifice to which they would not submit.
That has been told ever since 1886. You never believed it till three months ago, and some of you do not believe it now. Was there ever in the history of a country blindness so long maintained, so persistent, and so obstinate, and it is that which has got you into this trouble. The right hon. Gentleman talks as if we had reached the last moment, as it were, in which this House was to be troubled with Irish affairs. Heaven knows that is not the case. But at all events, let him not suggest that in this last moment, as he thinks it, of our control over Irish affairs, we have shown for the first time an insight into Ireland which was denied to our forefathers for centuries. Never was there a case of more obtuse blindness than you have shown, and because you have 1056 shown it, because you have run in the face of human nature, because you find yourselves for the first time up against facts which cannot be dealt with by dextrous speeches, up against facts which are deeply rooted in the hearts and consciences of the most loyal of the King's subjects, therefore it is that you find the whole system of your law in Ireland crumbling under your hand; and your impotence is manifest, North, South, East, and West, in that island. The right hon. Gentleman prides himself on being the representative of the democracy. He refuses to go to the only source from which the true democrat desires to obtain his inspiraton. Be it so. The world has seen many arbitrary rulers who have in the public interest refused to follow the movements and the feelings of the people whom they governed, but those who have received the gratitude of posterity have been the men who, under those circumstances, although for the moment they may have trampled upon or ignored the feelings of the great mass of the people, at all events have been strong rulers and governors. Is that the praise we are going to give to the present Government? They have shown all the unscrupulousness of men who ignore the source of the power of which they boast. Having taken that power, and having insisted on keeping it, they do not use it as powerful Ministers, but they allow, under their control, the whole system of law and order and government to crumble, although there is not a man on whatever side of the House he sits, or to whatever party he belongs, from the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. John Redmond), the Labour party, the Unionist party, and the Radicals, who does not know that Ireland has now been brought into a condition from which it appears almost impossible for any statesmanship ever to extricate her.
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
The Debate so far has turned mainly upon the facts of yesterday, and the review of the circumstances that led to those facts has been somewhat imperfectly done. It is that review, however, which interests the people of the country at the present moment. So far as facts are concerned, the Opposition has been complaining that the Chief Secretary has thrown over his officials. They forget to remind the House that, so far as officials are concerned, there were two sets involved. There is Sir James Dougherty, on the one hand, and the Assistant-Commissioner of Police, on the 1057 other; and the complaint that has been made by both of the right hon. Gentlemen who addressed the House from the Front Opposition Bench is that the Government did not throw over the Civil servant and stick to the police. With characteristic choice, they abuse the Civil servant, and they select the policeman for defence, knowing that he may become the subject of their patronage. That is true to Tory traditions. It is perfectly amazing to hear the two right hon. Gentlemen say that when an officer is suspended he is thereby condemned. It is an incident that is occurring every day. When an officer or servant has done something regarding which there is a substantial amount of evidence that he has done wrong, he is suspended without prejudice until he receives a fair trial. The right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary would not have been doing fair to the police, the soldiers, or the public of Ireland, if in this respect he had not taken the course which every private employer under similar circumstances would have taken without casting a reflection on the officer who was the subject of suspension.
I hope that in the course of the inquiry which the right hon. Gentleman has announced he is going to allow the conduct and character of these officers in regard to the labour disputes in Dublin to be made also the subject of an inquiry. Some of my hon. Friends who are associated with me were in Dublin, and they know at first hand how these two gentlemen, Sir John Boss and his Assistant Commissioner, behaved then, and in order to ascertain how exactly these officers have used their position as the chief officials of the Dublin police I hope the right hon. Gentleman will allow labour evidence to be called as well as evidence regarding the incidents of yesterday. It is a very nice, delightful, and graceful exercise to seize upon these minutes and use them to explain, not the facts, but the motives of Sir James Dougherty. I envy the right hon. Gentleman opposite in being able to tell what Sir James Dougherty did or did not do. They are able to tell us why he did it, and it is consistent with their sense of chivalry and their championship of the public service, for although their imaginations are almost boundless, they are unable to give a decent reason for what Sir James Dougherty did. With tinerring—I was almost using the word malignity—skill they explained Sir James Dougherty's action as being deliberately 1058 designed for the meanest and pettiest purpose of making him right if the coup came off, and making others wrong if it happened to fail. Yet right hon. Gentlemen, after doing that to public servants, rise up in their places in this House and condemn the right hon. Gentleman for suspending an officer against whom there is a substantial amount of evidence. But the country is not going to be put off in this manner. What we want to know is how long the conditions under which these incidents arose are going to last. What are the conditions? First of all, a continued, persistent, and open activity on the part of the Opposition in aiding and abetting rebellion in the North of Ireland. That is the first. The second is what I have said outside and what I want to say inside this House—the too great lethargy on the part of the Government in handling that situation which has been created by the Opposition in the North-East corner of Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman, in one of these innocent outbursts of language to which we are accustomed to listen in this House, referred to what was done yesterday by the Nationalist Volunteers as being lawless. He said that it was unlawful. He used another expression. He said it was a breach of law. Very well. Immediately before that he told us that he wished to associate himself with everything that was done by the Ulster Volunteers, of precisely the same character as what was done in Dublin yesterday, or outside of Dublin. And yet he comes and tells us that this Government is responsible, and ought to be censured, because it is not going to put down lawlessness in Ireland. What an extraordinary confusion of mind there is in the Leader of the Opposition?
§ Mr. RAMSAY MACDONALD
I am glad that the Noble Lord agrees with me. I am not in the least surprised that such an obvious situation could not possibly be clouded to his very keen penetrating eyes. What we are told by the Opposition is this: "We have aided and abetted lawlessness in Ireland. We objected to the Government for not having taken more active steps to put down us and our poor deluded victims in the North East of Ireland." They ask us to go to the country for our condemnation; at whose hands? At the hands of the very men who 1059 have preached the doctrine outside the House that they come inside this House to defend. The electors of this country if they have got the least grain of common sense left in them are going to condemn the persons who are responsible for the beginning of lawlessness, for the organisation and propaganda of anarchy, and not for the Government that has met its manifestations by all too feeble action. There is another very interesting and very true thing that the Leader of the Opposition says. He says that we cannot govern one way in one part of Ireland and another way in another part of Ireland. I quite agree with that. I think that everybody will agree with that. But I would like to supplement it by this, that the right hon. Gentleman cannot say one thing regarding Ulster, and a different thing regarding Lancashire. The right hon. Gentleman cannot say to Ulster Protestants, "When you are in a minority, and the House of Commons is doing something with which you do not agree, you are justified in arming yourself," without his preaching the same doctrine to every member of the community that now, or at any other time, may find itself in a minority and may find it impossible to get its way carried by a majority in this House.
That is what they will not see, or, if they do see it, they are running their head in a most criminal way against a terrible state of anarchy in this country, and no sensible and no responsible man will look at it without shuddering. There they come—we find it in our unions, we find it in our work every day, we find it in every trouble we have got to face, we find it in every difficulty we are called upon to smooth out. The right hon. Gentleman's speeches, the sort of speech he has delivered to-night, quoted in parallel columns, the mildest, the most ignorant, the most planning expressions of lawlessness and disorder, uttered by merely irresponsible men who address crowds at street corners. We all deplore those events, but nobody should be condemned for them without a fair, a cool, and an adequate trial. Therefore this House to-night is not in a position to say on whom the blame rests. But these circumstances will pass away and will be forgotten, at any rate we hope so. But the gospel and doctrines that the right hon. Gentleman has been preaching are not going to pass away. They are going to be taken up by other men; they are 1060 going to be slightly varied in their expression, they are going to be slightly varied in their application, and nothing would suit me better, in a cynical frame of mind, than to sit on that side of the House and see the right hon. Gentleman sit on this side, when there is a big strike on, and he has got to draft in foreign policemen and soldiers in order to keep the peace. It will be a grim, it will be a miserable spectacle to see him then as the Leader of this House defending himself against the attacks which will be made upon him, not by us, but by his own past self as Leader of the Opposition, and of lawlessness and disorder in Ulster. The important thing of yesterday is this, that it is the first fruits of the speeches of the right hon. Gentleman. They have been gaily sowing the wind; I hope they will not be called upon to reap the whirlwind; but I have very grave doubts after the events of yesterday, and the kind of knowledge that I have from inside of the effect that those speeches have upon the mind of this country.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
This Debate upon a subject so important, and which vitally touches the highest peaks of Government policy, and the lowest solemnities of human life, is to be compressed within two hours and three quarters; but I am quite satisfied that, if the Government had been asked at four o'clock this afternoon to move the adjournment of the House, or to grant a day for this Debate, the right hon. Gentleman, the Prime Minister, with his usual consideration, would immediately have yielded to that request. But as we have so brief a period in which to discuss the matter, I shall, I trust, not verge upon anything in the nature of Party recriminations, and I only regret that I had not the opportunity of reducing what I have to say into writing, as I think the Member for Waterford has been enabled to do. What I would first point out, therefore, is that we are not here as Irishmen in the pursuit of pigmies; we are not here to ask for the scalps of Ross's or Harrels, but we are here to investigate the policy of His Majesty's Ministers, and I would ask how stand the Government on this question of the right of the Irish people of the three Southern Provinces to have and to bear arms that the men in Ulster have been allowed to do? The Prime Minister has laid down a most important doctrine, a kind of foreshore doctrine of legality. 1061 that if you land arms on the foreshore, and as long as you are on the foreshore you are liable to be criminally pursued, and you have committed an offence, but escape beyond the littoral, get within a few yards, I do not really know what the exact penumbra is, but escape a little distance from the waves of the ocean, and you escape from the impact of the Proclamation. Is that the doctrine that was laid down by the First Lord of the Admiralty when he was asked an important question on the 15th of the present month by one of the Members for Dublin. I would call the attention of the House to what he then said: One of the leaders of this movement is a gentleman named Mr. Kettle, and he is an electrical engineer at what is called Pigeon House Station of the Dublin Corporation. He was there on his legitimate business engaged as a Corporation official, and he goes down in his motor car. He is stopped by a Coastguard. This place is near the Liffey, but it is a long way from the waves of the ocean. His motor car is searched for arms by the Coastguards, and the First Lord of the Admiralty replied. I will read the question and answer:—Mr. Brady asked the First Lord of the Admiralty if he is aware that, on Wednesday, 8th July last, Mr. Lawrence J. Kettle, an electrical engineer in the employ of the corporation of Dublin, when driving-home in his motor car from the electric power station in the city of Dublin, was stopped by some Coastguards, and that the Coastguards proceeded to search Mr. Kettle's car for guns or ammunition; and will he say whether this was done under the authority of the Admiralty?Mr. Churchill: I understand that some vehicles—of which Mr. Kettle's motor car was one—coming from the end of Pigeon House Wall were searched by the Coastguard in consequence of a report that some arms had been landed at that place. In so doing the Coastguard were acting in accordance with the duty laid upon them by the Customs laws, and no authorisation from the Admiralty was needed.Did Mr. Harrel read that answer? My hon. Friend the Member for Dublin was not satisfied, and he put a question that has been put in this House not once but a hundred times since the gun-running took place in Ulster:—Mr. Brady: Am I to understand that it is only in the Southern provinces of Ireland that the law in reference to the importation of arms is to be enforced, and that guns can be imported into Lame and other ports of Ulster without let or hindrance by coastguards or any other guards?Mr. Churchill: I can only say that it will always be the duty of, and it ought to be a point of honour with, every person serving under the Crown in any official capacity, to do his utmost to maintain the law of the land impartially in all directions."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, l5th July, 1914, col. 1885, Vol. LXIV.]I should like to ask: When was invented for the benefit of Dublin Castle officials this sort of legal micrometer, that you 1062 may search Mr. Kettle's motor car with impunity with the approval of Cabinet statesmen, but that if you land at Howth and get within the limits of Clontarf it is a disgraceful and disastrous thing, worthy of the condemnation by the Government, for any official in Ireland to do the very thing for which a Customs House coastguard was commended at Pigeon-hole Fort. Let us understand to-night what are the limits of deviation—to use a railway phrase—in which this work can be carried on with impunity. Let us understand why the Government have laid down the proposition they have laid down to-night? Why was it not laid down after Lame? Why has the First Lord of the Admiralty filled the seas and coasts of Ireland—as I have seen them myself—with gunboats to prevent gun-running? And now suddenly to hear for the first time tonight that if you successfully get your guns past the sea-weed and cockles, the Government official who interferes with you in the work will be condemned in the most scathing language by the Chief Secretary for Ireland. In my opinion, when you reflect on what we know, Colonel Seely was compelled to resign from the Government for—could any Member say off-hand now why he was compelled to resign? Could anyone answer that conundrum offhand? I think he would have to think. But here, when we have three people killed and thirty or forty wounded, it is thought high statesmanship to quibble on points of law, and to throw all the blame on Harrel and Ross. In my opinion these two men were carrying out the policy of the Government as laid down again and again and again in these volumes of the OFFICIAL REPORT if anyone cares to turn to them. At all events to-night we have the satisfaction of knowing that if this system is to go on the policeman who dares to lay a finger on a gun-runner will be dismissed.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put," but Mr. Speaker withheld his assent, and declined then to put that Question.
§ Mr. T. M. HEALY
I hope, Sir, that there will be another opportunity provided in which we may finish what is at present a somewhat truncated Debate.
§ Question put, "That the Question be now put."1064
§ The House divided: Ayes, 217; Noes, 249.1065
|Division No. 201.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Flannery, Sir J. Fortescue||Merrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)|
|Aitken, Sir William Max||Forster, Henry William||Mount, William Arthur|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Foster, Philip Staveley||Newdegate, F. A.|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Ganzoni, Francis John C.||Newman, John R. P.|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Gardner, Ernest||Newton, Harry Kottingham|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)|
|Astor, Waldorf||Gibbs, George Abraham||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||Orde-Powlett, Hon. W. G. A.|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Goldman, C. S.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Goldsmith, Frank||Paget, Almeric Hugh|
|Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City, Loud.)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Grant, J. A.||Pollock, Ernest Murray|
|Banner, Sir John S. Harmood-||Greene, Waiter Raymond||Pretyman, Ernest George|
|Baring, Major Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Gretton, John||Prothero, Roland Edmund|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S. E.)||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.|
|Barnston, Harry||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury S. Edmunds)||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Barrie, H. T.||Haddock, George Bahr||Ratcliff, R. F.|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Hall, Marshall (Liverpool, E. Toxteth)||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Hamilton, C. G. C. (Ches., Altrincham)||Rees, Sir J. D.|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Harris, Henry Percy (Paddington, S.)||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Benn, Ion Hamilton (Greenwich)||Harris, Leverton (Worcester, East)||Rothschild, Lionel de|
|Bentinck, Lord H. Cavendish||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Rutherford, John (Lanes., Darwen)|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Helmsley, Viscount||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bigland, Alfred||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Samuel, Sir Harry (Norwood)|
|Bird, Alfred||Henderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.)||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Blair, Reginald||Herbert, Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Bowden, G. R. Harland||Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Boyton, James||Hibbert, Sir Henry F.||Sandys, G. J.|
|Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Hills, John Waller||Sharman-Crawford, Colonel R G.|
|Bridgeman, William Clive||Hill-Wood, Samuel||Smith, Rt. Hon. F. E. (L'pool, Walton)|
|Bull, Sir William James||Hoare, S. J. G.||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Burn, Colonel C. R.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Stanier, Beville|
|Butcher, John George||Horne, Edgar||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Campbell, Captain Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Horner, Andrew Long||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. (Dublin Univ.)||Houston, Robert Paterson||Steel-Maitiand, A. D.|
|Campion, W. R.||Hume-Williams. William Ellis||Stewart, Gershom|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hunt, Rowland||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Swift, Rigby|
|Cassel, Felix||Ingleby, Holcombe||Sykes, Alan John (Cnes., Knutsford)|
|Castiereagh, Viscount||Jessei, Captain H. M.||Sykes, Sir Mark (Hull, Central)|
|Cautley, Henry Strother||Joynson-Hicks, William||Terrell, George (Wilts, N. W.)|
|Cave, George||Kerr-Smiley, Peter Kerr||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Kerry, Earl of||Thomas-Stanford. Charles|
|Cecil, Lord Hugh (Oxford University)||Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, North)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Herts, Hitchin)||Kyffin-Taylor, G.||Thynne, Lord Alexander|
|Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Tickler, T. G.|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Larmor, Sir J.||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry||Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Touche, George Alexander|
|Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts, Mile End)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Lewisham, Viscount||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Lloyd, George Ambrose (Stafford, W.)||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Colonel A. R.||Weston, Colonel J. W.|
|Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Denniss, E. R. B.||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||White, Major G. D. (Lanes., Southport)|
|Dixon, C. H.||Lytteiton, Hon. J. C.||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Du Cros, Arthur Philip||MacCaw, Wm. J. MacGeagh||Wilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Mackinder, Halford J.||Wilson, Maj. Sir M. (Bethnal Green, S. W.)|
|Duncannon, Viscount||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Wolmer, Viscount|
|Du Pre, W. Baring||Magnus, Sir Philip||Wood. Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripen)|
|Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.||Malcolm, Ian||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||Mallaby-Deeley, Harry||Worthington Evans, L.|
|Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Falle, Bertram Godfray||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Fell, Arthur||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Younger, Sir George|
|Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas|
|Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes||Moore, William||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Lord Edmund Talbot and Mr. Pike Pease.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Alden, Percy|
|Adamson, William||Agnew, Sir George William||Alien, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Ainsworth, John Stirling||Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)|
|Arnold, Sydney||Hayden, John Patrick||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Hayward, Evan||O'Dowd, John|
|Balfour, Sir Robert (Lanark)||Hazleton, Richard||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon. N.)|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||O'Malley, Wiliam|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Barnes, George N.||Henry, Sir Charles||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Barran, Rowland Hurst (Leeds, N.)||Herbert, General Sir Ivor (Mon., S.)||O'Shee, James John|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Hewart, Gordon||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Higham, John Sharp||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Hinds, John||Palmer, Godfrey Mark|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Hodge, John||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Hogge, James Myles||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)|
|Boland, John Pius||Holmes, Daniel Turner||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Holt, Richard Durning||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Pirie, Duncan V.|
|Brace, William||Hudson, Walter||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)||Pratt, J. W.|
|Brycs, J. Annan||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E)|
|Buxton, Noel||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Primrose, Hon. Neil James|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Jones, Leif (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Radford, George Heynes|
|Cawlcy, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Jones, William S. Glyn- (Stepney)||Raffan, Peter Wilson|
|Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Joyce, Michael||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Kellaway, Frederick George||Redmond, John R. (Waterford)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Kelly, Edward||Redmond, William (Clare, E.)|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Kenyon, Barnet||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Clough, William||Kilbride, Denis||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Collins, Godfrey P. (Greenock)||King, Joseph||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Lamb, Sir Ernest Henry||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Robinson, Sidney|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Lardner, James C. R.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Crooks, William||Leach, Charles||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Crumley, Patrick||Levy, Sir Maurice||Rowlands, James|
|Cullman, John||Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Davies, Timothy (Lines., Louth)||Lundon, Thomas||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Seely, Rt. Hon. Colonel J. E. B.|
|Davies, M. Vaughan- (Cardigan)||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Sheehy, David|
|Dawes, James Arthur||Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Delnny, William||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||McGhee, Richard||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Devlin, Joseph||MacNeill, J. G. Swift (Donegal, South)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Dewar, Sir J. A||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Sutherland, John E.|
|Dickinson, Rt. Hon. Willoughby H.||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Dillon, John||M'Curdy, C. A.||Taylor, Thomas (Bolton)|
|Doris, William J.||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Duffy, William J.||M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lines., Spalding)||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Duncan, C. (Barow-in-Furness)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Duncan, Sir J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)||Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Marks, Sir George Croydon||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||Meagher, Michael||Wardle, George J.|
|Esslemont, George Birnie||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Falconer, James||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||Middlebrook, William||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Ffrench, Peter||Molloy, Michael||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Field, William||Molteno, Percy Alport||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|France, Gerald Ashburner||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Furness, Sir Stephen Wilson||Mooney, John J.||Wiles, Thomas|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Morgan, George Hay||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Glanville, Harold James||Morrell, Philip||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, N. W.)|
|Greig, Colonel J. W.||Morison, Hector||Williams, John (Glamorgan)|
|Griffith, Rt. Hon. Ellis Jones||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Muldoon, John||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Murphy, Martin J.||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|Hackett, John||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Wilson, John (Durham, Mid)|
|Hall, Frederick (Yorks, Normanton)||Needham, Christopher T.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Neilson, Francis||Wing, Thomas Edward|
|Hardie, J. Keir||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Yeo, Alfred William|
|Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)||Nolan, Joseph||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Norman, Sir Henry||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Haslam, Lewis||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||O'Doherty, Philip||Captain Donelan and Mr. Patrick O'Brien.|
§ It being after Eleven of the clock, the Motion for the Adjournment of the House1066
§ lapsed without Question put, pursuant to the Standing Order.