§ Mr. T. P. O'CONNOR
I beg to move, "That this House do now adjourn."
I feel that the fact that already upon two recent occasions I have moved a Motion of the same kind, makes a demand on the indulgence of the House. I feel also that certain somewhat exciteable interruptions from the other side of the House make me realise how very easily the action I take, and those who support me take, may be open to misconstruction. When I call attention to reprisals in the House I am occasionally interrupted by some hon. Gentleman with the question, "What about the assassinations?" It is really a suggestion that anybody who attacks reprisals is necessarily either favourable to or lenient with assassination. I at once repudiate in the most emphatic manner any such interpretation of the action which I take, and which is taken by those who are kind enough to support me. We have been charged with having, by raising debates and asking questions about reprisals, weakened the Executive. In the short time I intend to occupy—and I shall curtail my observations within the smallest possible limit in order to give other hon. Gentleman, and the Chief Secretary in particular, full opportunity of dealing with the question. I will deal with this question of weakening the Executive. My position is that nothing is so weakening the position of the Executive as the reprisals. Perhaps "reprisals" is not quite an accurate word. It is the policy of frightfulness 683 which is weakening the position of the Executive in Ireland. I think the Chief Secretary will not deny the proposition that every single act of frightfulness in Ireland during the last few weeks has added new battalions to the army of Sinn Fein. I mentioned the case the other day of one of the most respected, most austere, and most erudite bishops of the Catholic Church in Ireland who, by this policy of frightfulness, has been led to become a sympathiser with Sinn Fein. I use the word Sinn Fein in no sense as suggesting sympathy with or participation in assassination, but I make the statement that everywhere, during the last two or three months, Sinn Fein has made enormous accessions to its ranks as a result of this policy of frightfulness, which is also weakening the position of the Executive in England.
I hope the Chief Secretary will pardon me for the observation, but perhaps he has not lived as long as I have and does not realise quite what English opinion is. I believe that in this policy of frightfulness the right hon. Gentleman is finding himself up against a racial primordial radical hostility in the mind of the English people. I have not met a man yet of any political party among the English who does not hate, loathe and condemn the policy of frightfulness, above all as untrue to the traditions of English life and contrary to the instincts of the English heart. If confirmation of that view is required I need only refer to two facts. The first is that the criticism of the right hon. Gentleman in this House is not confined to members of my party, or of the Labour party, or of the Liberal party, but critics are to be found also among men of all parties and especially among the young men of promise and integrity who are included in the Unionist ranks. My second signpost is the solemn warning that he is acting against the racial, primordial irresistible instincts of the English, which is contained in a remarkable speech made in another place by the head of the Anglican Church in this country. I have the honour of knowing personally the distinguished ecclesiastic at the head of the Anglican Church. I know him better by reputation. It is perhaps because he is a Scotsman, but I do not know of any ecclesiastic who has held that great and dignified position who has a higher repu- 684 tation for caution and discretion. I think the language of His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury shows that he accepts one of the fundamental criticisms which I have offered to the policy of the right hon. Gentleman, namely, that this policy of frightfulness is doing great, if not irreparable damage to the good faith and the good name of England. That is a very serious result. The right hon. Gentleman, of course, knows the extent and spaciousness of the British Empire by personal experience and by birth, and in many other ways more than I do; and he knows how fatal, how disastrous, it will be in the future to the various portions of this great Empire if the conscience, and the judgment, and the heart of the world are against us. I believe that the heart and the conscience and the judgment of the world are against the policy of frightfulness for which the right hon. Gentleman has made himself responsible.
I will not make more than a passing allusion to opinion in America. Opinion in France has been sufficiently revealed by the articles which have appeared in the French papers, and I will make this remark on that. There is no responsible journalist in the world who is less anxious than the journalist of France to throw stones at Great Britain. He knows how much Great Britain did to save his country from destruction at the hands of the Germans; he realises how much a good understanding with Great Britain helps to save it from the repetition of the tiger spring of Germany upon its frontiers. And yet, in spite of all these eloquent and irresistible appeals to his own self-interest in keeping on good terms with the people and the sentiment of Great Britain, the French journalist has been compelled, except in one negligible case, to pronounce judgment against the policy of this Government in Ireland. What is my complaint against the Chief Secretary? I think he has adopted an entirely wrong attitude with regard to this policy. I do not suppose that in his heart of hearts he has any more liking for it than any of us here. But he has, apparently, thought it his duty to take up a position which, I think, is a fatal and disastrous position, and that is to make himself the strong, the unquestioning, and—I hope I am not rude in calling him—the blatant advocate and defender of every act of frightfulness in Ireland. I would be out of 685 Order if I called the right hon. Gentleman's answers mendacious, and I will not use that word. It would be rude, and I am never rude to any man if I can avoid it. I will select a more polite adjective, and will say that the answers of the right hon. Gentleman have been evasive.
We speak of the destruction of a creamery. The right hon. Gentleman at first says that there were not 100 creameries destroyed; there were only 17, or 27. We say that these creameries were burned down by the officers of the Crown. The right hon. Gentleman, with the sort of invincible ignorance which good Catholics are supposed—quite wrongly—to think the only chance that stout Protestants have of escaping hell fire, does not know anything about it, and contends to the end that no evidence has been brought to connect the destruction of the creameries with any officers of the Crown. And he says that to people who have seen the Black and Tans, the auxiliary forces of the soldiers, or whatever they are called, putting the petroleum to the creameries, with a systematisation which would do credit to Baron von Bissing and the general staff of Germany. We asked him to-day about the death of a woman. He says, undoubtedly the woman was killed; but he says she was killed because the soldiers were firing. He is asked whether the soldiers fired wildly. He says "No, the soldiers fired, and in their firing this tragedy occurred." He said that they were firing to save themselves from an ambush—an ambush by a woman, who had a baby in her arms, and who, to add to the tragedy of the situation, was already about to become a mother again. I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether a man has been taken out of his house, from the side of his mother, from his wife, from his children, put up against a wall and, without trial or delay, shot—shot dead—by some of the forces of the Crown. The first method of the right hon. Gentleman is to postpone his information as long as he can, then to make a very grudging admission even of the fact of the death, and—at any rate, in every case except, I think, that of Balbriggan—to keep on denying as long as he can that any forces of the Crown had any part in it.
I reiterate all these statements with regard to the shooting of men in the middle of the night without trial and 686 without charge. I reiterate them tonight, and, among others, I reiterate the case which, I understand, the right hon. Gentleman denied with great heat to-day—I was not present myself—with regard to the killing—I call it murder, in the circumstances—of three men in Belfast. I will not dwell on that subject, because the hon. Member for the Falls Division (Mr. Devlin), who is by my side, will have an opportunity of dealing with it better than I. I reiterate the case that I brought up the other day—I cannot dwell upon it because it might, perhaps, go beyond the terms of my Motion—when, in the middle of the night, a body of men, coming to a hotel, asked for the number of a certain man's room, went up, and in cold blood, in the secrecy of the night, killed him. Nothing is known of this deadly nocturnal tragedy until two hours afterwards, the police come and say they have come there to remove the corpse. To this day I believe there is a doubt whether the man so executed, or murdered, was or was not the man who was charged with being a party to the assassination of an inspector. What is the answer when we ask for further information? Oh, says the right hon. Gentleman, there will be an inquiry. An inquiry—by whom? An inquiry has been suggested by this House. That inquiry has been denied—the inquiry which alone deserves the name of inquiry. The right hon. Gentleman says there will be an inquiry, and, in his most impressive tones, talks of the impartiality and thoroughness of that inquiry—an inquiry into the acts of soldiers by soldiers; an inquiry into the acts of policemen by policemen! Why, do you suppose that if there were an inquiry with regard to the conduct of a journalist, I would be as impartial with regard to that journalist as a man who did not belong to the profession? It is esprit de corps. Such an inquiry is an inquiry which is meant, not to give truth, but to hide truth.
§ Mr. O'CONNOR
By the accused people—the local inspectors. I wonder if Shakespeare, when he talked of "crowner's law," could, with his almost semi-divine power of anticipation, ever have forecasted a time when, in a country belonging to the British Empire, the coroner's inquest would be abolished, and men could be killed without any inquiry 687 being made into the circumstances except by the persons charged with the murder? We have one last refuge against the conspiracy of silence, of evasion with regard to these events in Ireland. There have been two methods of depriving us even of that protection. In the first place, a journal in Ireland which produces exactly the same thing as a journal in England is not treated as the journal in England. Most of the charges against the conduct of the soldiers and police which have appeared in Irish papers have appeared in English papers as well—papers the respectability of which no one would admit more gladly than the right hon. Baronet in the days when he was an unconverted Liberal. What was done with those papers? The "Freeman's Journal" is prosecuted. Before whom? Before a court-martial. We know these militarist gentlemen in the House of Commons. We know what kind of trial an English journalist would have got before some of the gentlemen even in this House who described the massacre at Amritsar.
We know the case of Mr. Hugh Martin. I never saw Mr. Hugh Martin. I only know him by his work. But, as one journalist may say of another, I regard him as one of the most admirable and able journalists we have to-day, and Ireland owes to him, as to many another English journalist and English politician, a debt of gratitude which she can never adequately repay. He has been exposing all these things. The Chief Secretary, in that Garden of Eden innocence, in that role of young and maidenly innocence in which he poses—this "Lady of the Snows"—on account of that incurable and impenetrable innocence of his, knows nothing about the destruction of creameries. Mr. Hugh Martin tells us all about it. He knows nothing about the execution of men by Black-and-Tans. Mr. Hugh Martin tells us all about it. He is one of the men who have held up the liberty of Ireland and the honour of England and of the English Press to which he belongs. The result of it is that Mr. Martin gets a warning that if he gets into the hands of the soldiers or the policemen he will be pretty soon disposed of. It is rather a serious thing in Ireland now. I declare I think it is a serious thing in England. This evening I saw two gentlemen in police uniform getting seats under the Speaker's 688 Gallery, and I said to myself, "I wonder, are the Black-and-Tans after me?" I do not think they could assail me as safely in London as they could in Tralee, but with the Chief Secretary ready to condone and to evade all attacks upon them, what have you in Ireland? An irresponsible police and an irresponsible Army. An hon. Friend of mine the other day was very angry with me because I made an attack on the Army. I make no such attack. I make an attack on the policy that creates the Army.
I know military gentlemen in this House who, if they repeated in public what they say to me in private, would admit that experienced soldiers view with alarm this break-up of discipline. I do not know any graver danger to the British Army than the break-up of discipline. This kind of thing is equally destructive to England and to Ireland. It is coming in Ireland to such a degree that it is bringing that country to something like the condition of the Thirty Years' War in Germany, from which it took Germany more than half a century to recover. Is there anyone in the House who does not hope and believe that for the good of both countries Ireland and England must some time or other be reconciled? If I were talking to the bitterest Irishman I should say, "Good God, don't you know you have to live beside this country? England wants to be a friend, and will be a friend." If I were speaking to an Englishman I would say, "Can you not remove this disgrace to the genius of your Government? Can you allow Ireland to remain an enemy? Can you allow her to remain a disgrace?" It cannot go on in the interest of Ireland because, with this soldiery let loose, Irish towns are being burnt down and Irish property is being destroyed. Ireland will suffer in the long run almost as much from the destruction of her property and resources as if she were Belgium in the middle of the Great War. Can England escape the injury and disaster that this is bringing? I say to the right hon Gentleman and I say to Ireland as well—and I ask my own people to take my words to heart as much as the people in England—Force is no remedy. Force is no remedy for Ireland. The force of Ireland is no more capable of beating the force of England than the force of Germany was able to beat the force of England. I believe this policy of force on the part of Ireland is a false and 689 a dangerous policy which will ultimately bring her to disaster. Force is no remedy to the Chief Secretary or to England. It is only aggravating all our difficulties.
I have not made my speech to-night, or on any other occasion that I can remember, merely for the cheap purpose of party warfare or making a score against the Government in a very difficult position. I want to see the way out. I want to ask the assistance of every man and every party in the House to find a way out. I hope I have proved that the Chief Secretary's attitude does not lead to a way out. I believe the difficulty is not with the people of England, and it is not with the people of Ireland. I believe even the most infatuated Irishman, if he knew Englishmen as well as I do, would know that Ireland has only to hold out the hand of friendship to England and millions of Englishmen will be ready to grasp it. It is not the fault of the people of England. I would allude to a tragic incident of the last few days. I attended the funeral service of the Lord Mayor of Cork. Leaving the cathedral, I passed by the coffin. In the coffin there was inlaid a piece of glass. My impression of the appearance of the late Lord Mayor I had got from portraits in the newspapers. Those portraits were of a handsome young man, with rather a long face and a mass of hair, with all the appearance of youth, and rather of the poetic type. I saw under that glass a face shrivelled to the dimensions of a child of ten who had been starved to death. Then I realised all the agony through which this martyr to his ideals had gone. I went out of the cathedral, and I saw the streets of London filled with Englishmen as well as Irishmen, and every hat raised in honour of Ireland's martyr. The difficulty is not with the people of England; the difficulty is not with the people of Ireland. The difficulty is with statesmen who pursue the disastrous policy of repression instead of the broad open avenue of liberty and justice to Ireland.
§ Mr. HOGGE
I beg to second the Motion.
I am sure all of us who have listened to the eloquence of my hon. Friend will always desire to pay tribute to the long life of devotion which he has given to the national cause, for which he has been speaking to-night. Time this evening is very valuable and I do not propose to make any long speech in 690 seconding the Motion. We have come to a crisis in Irish affairs. We are going from bad to worse, and it behoves every man, if he possibly can, not to acerbate the situation, but to try, if he possibly can, to do everything in order to find some way out of the dilemma into which not only this country, but the Empire, finds itself at the present moment. On behalf of those who sit on this side of the House, as well as our Irish colleagues below the Gangway, I may say that nobody reprobates murder more than we, and that if it should appear that we are forced by the exigencies of Parliamentary procedure to criticise reprisals, it is not that we have not every sympathy with the men who are shot down by assassins in Ireland, and it is not that we do not reprobate those murders as sincerely as every one of our honourable colleagues who sit opposite to us. I want to direct my speech principally to the case of Mr. Hugh Martin. I would remind the House that my right hon. Friend, the Chief Secretary for Ireland, with whom we all sympathise in his difficult position, has stated in this House that he does not think any useful service could be done by the publication of the evidence taken at inquiries into reprisals. I do not know whether he has forgotten that answer. It was given the other day. Now, we find that one British journalist, Mr. Hugh Martin—and he is only one of a number of British journalists who are telling the truth as they observe it in Ireland—is threatened by the Government forces because he is revealing to the world what the Chief Secretary refused to reveal to this House. The threat against Mr. Martin in Tralee is not a single instance. Mr. Martin has been tracked down for some considerable time past by the Government forces. I know in my own personal experience a man, an Irishman, in whose house Mr. Martin slept because he was unable to sleep in the hotel in which he was registered on the same night on which the Government forces ransacked that hotel to find that man. I can provide evidence of that on any occasion on which it is required. This policy which culminated in the Tralee incident is only one of a series of episodes in which this man, because he has dared to tell the truth so far as he saw it—if it is not the truth it 691 is open to the Government to contradict it—has been tracked down in this way.
What makes us suspicious on this side of the House is the fact that my right hon. Friend, quite frankly, has admitted the policy of reprisals. Indeed, he has excused it in this House. I say, quite frankly, that I am perfectly certain those of us who sit on this side of the House could excuse a reprisal if an assassin were caught red handed. I think it is beyond human nature to see somebody shot down by an assassin from behind an ambuscade and not take immediate action if that were at all possible; but that is a very different thing from the Government imprimatur being put upon reprisals taken against innocent people who have nothing whatever to do with the crime. Those of us who are to a certain extent impotent so far as the forces of the Crown are concerned and who represent what is called the Opposition, can be voted down by Government forces in this House, but we criticise their policy and we ask ourselves, in view of these events, what is the policy of the Government. On the one hand there is assassination—and, believe me, the toll of assassination hurts us as much as it hurts any Member of the Government—while on the other hand we see a policy of extermination. We see the forces of the Crown let loose on Irish towns and Irish industries. We see innocent men and women killed. Nobody who listened to the question put by the hon. Member for the Falls Division (Mr. Devlin) this afternoon could do anything else but listen with tears in his whole being.
Here is a poor Irishwoman sitting in her garden with a child on her knee and going to have another child. A body of Irish Black-and-Tans passes and a stray shot is fired and kills that woman. Now that must stop, and the people who are responsible for that must see to it that it is stopped. I remember reprisals before in the history of this country. I remember speaking on the same platform as the Prime Minister with regard to reprisals. I remember what ho. said, and it is as applicable to this situation to-day, as at the time of the Boer War when the Boers continued the war after the great victories by carrying on guerilla war. The Prime Minister then reprobated reprisals. He said:What justice was there in punishing one 692 man for offences committed by others over whom he had no control?He went on to say:The British Army has been engaged in denuding the country of cattle and sheep, and the houses of supplies, and burning farms. He made no charges against the British Army who are carrying out orders, but he did blame the statesmen who made it absolutely necessary that troops should engage in work which they loathed.Our view, apart from our Irish colleagues, is that the people in Ireland must be left to a large extent to work out their own destiny, but we are the trustees of the honour of the British Empire, and we loathe the association of the British Government with reprisals.
I am ashamed, and those of us on this, side are ashamed, that it should ever be possible that the Chief Secretary should in this House excuse reprisals. This Government ought to be firm enough, whatever is happening in Ireland, on the side of law and order or lack of law and disorder. At any rate, we should take such measures as should not hold us up to derision before the whole world. There are not only British journalists in Ireland, but American, French and Swiss journalists. The facts are being recorded under one headline, "The Irish Revolution." We do not want to make this to-night a dialectical issue. We have no desire to score points against my right hon. Friend. This is much too serious a matter for that kind of Debate. We have written the history of the Great War. The appendix to that history is the situation as we find it in Ireland. We do not want it published to the world. I appeal to my right hon. Friend not to adopt to-night the usual methods of Debate, and not to allow himself to be crowded out of this Debate.
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Sir H. Greenwood)
I will rise at ten.
§ Mr. HOGGE
It is nine o'clock now. In the old days, when there was a Debate on a Motion for Adjournment, the Minister always rose and made his reply. Then other Members rose and were able to crticise the policy advanced by the Government. I hope my right hon. Friend will intervene in this Debate in time to be followed. [HON. MEMBERS: "No!"] That is what I am asking—that we should not make this the ordinary dialectical Debate. Nobody wants to follow my right 693 hon. Friend because we want to score points. The thing is far too serious. Is not there some way out of the extraordinary dilemma of assassination on one side and reprisals on the other? Is it not worth the while of the House of Commons to find out that way rather than criticise a Minister? The heart of this country is sick because of these things. The heart of this country wants peace with Ireland. We on this side, if we have time as we have, not to-night, would argue that it is the lack of policy on the part of the Government which has created this situation. But put policy aside for the moment. Let us stop if we can this damnable tragedy of, day after day, lists of murders and lists of reprisals.
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
It is only a fortnight since we had a Debate mainly on this question. The right hon. Gentleman complained then that I had occupied so much of the time of the House that he was unable to find an opportunity of dealing with all the matters which were then under discussion and which other speakers and myself had dealt with. When he complains that I was responsible, may I point out that he had this wonderful advantage chat he was able to secure the eminent services of the brilliant lawyer the Member for Duneairn (Sir E. Carson) who occupied a full hour of the time of this House in the defence of the Government and the right hon. Gentleman before I had an opportunity of addressing the House. That is an invaluable service hat we cannot count upon. Unfortunately Ireland, denuded of her representation, has to depend in her present agonised condition on her defence being made by humble men without any of the eminent qualities of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Duneairn. But to-night the right hon. Gentleman had his opportunity to rise and everyone of us on these Benches was gasping for the wonderful contribution which he was prevented from making when last this question was submitted to the consideration of the House. I do not like these parliamentary tricks. These dodges remind me of his evasive answers to questions at question time. He wanted to rise at 10 o'clock in order that no one would question what he said.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I have no doubt he wanted to occupy an hour of the time of 694 the House and to prevent us from dealing with the gross perversion of facts and the misrepresentation of the conditions that prevail in Ireland. I object to this expression "reprisals." I do not come here to denounce reprisals. I come here to denounce and impeach infamies. While I am quite prepared to enter into any spirit of conciliation, while no one is more profoundly anxious that there should be an atmosphere of peace and goodwill during this Debate, I would regard myself as taking part in a purely artificial controversy if I did not stigmatise, as I do to-night, the conduct of the Government and all their work and pomps in Ireland as one of the greatest outrages committed against humanity in modern times. I was suspended from this House a few weeks ago because I dared to say the thing I willed in regard to one of the worst and most drastic and most indefensible Coercion Acts ever passed for any country within this Empire or outside of it. The right hon. Gentleman called for stern measures, for legal methods, for larger power to put down crime in Ireland, and the hard-faced men who sit behind him, the hard-faced men who made their money out of the War, the profiteers who represent the once great humanitarian spirit that moved and inspired Englishmen in the conduct of their public policy—they gave him those drastic powers, powers so drastic that they abolished trial by jury, suspended the ordinary course of law, set up tribunals of malefactors to try criminals, and prohibited the Press which might inquire impartially into maladministration. There was not a single weapon against human liberty that was not given to this Government to stamp out assassination and disorder.
That Coercion Act has been carried out in all its rigour ever since it was passed. The Chief Secretary told us that if he got it he would transform the nation, that under this juggernaut he would crush murder and assassination, and in a few weeks would present a clean bill to those gentlemen behind him who saddled him with these powers. I told him that he was a bad prophet. Prophets are very often wrong. I put it to any impartial Member of this House, did I prophesy wrongly when I told him that if he had 50 or 100 times more powers than were given him in the Coercion Act he could not do the things 695 he promised to do? Whatever you may say about all the horrors and bloodshed in Ireland to-day, you will not settle this question by coercive measures. Only a blind man who knows nothing about the history of the relationship of this country to Ireland during the last century would make an assertion to the contrary, for you had 99 Coercion Acts in 99 years, and you did not stamp out the indestructible spirit of Ireland, and could not suppress her passion for freedom. Where Balfour failed, where Forster failed, where Castlereagh failed, where Cromwell failed, the right hon Gentleman, with all his outward appearance of great masculinity, will not succeed. One could have imagined that he would come to-night and deliver the goods. Is he prepared to deliver them? He told us he would stamp out murder. There were as many murders during the end of last week, after the passing of the Coercion Act, as there were during the six months preceding it. I venture to assert that the people who are responsible for murders in Ireland sit on the Government Benches.
Would the House pardon me if I follow the example of the right hon. Gentleman, who seems to be bursting with statistics when he comes to the House to recite the figures of a series of murders. Listen to these figures. In 1918 there were, I believe, only six murders in Ireland. What were the Government doing? They made 260 raids on private houses; they arrested 1,107 politicians for being politicians and patriots in Ireland; they suppressed 32 meetings, including fairs and markets; the military and police made 81 attacks upon constitutional gatherings of the people; there were 91 people deported from the country without trial; and they suppressed, I think, 12 newspapers. In 1919, eight policemen were assassinated and 10 civilians, while 1,300 private houses were raided, and in that year the armed forces of the Crown began the sacking of towns and villages for the first time. In 1920 the Government made 4,000 arrests, and raided (and in most cases looted) 24,000 houses, and 98 towns were sacked. What did all that bring about? It brought about these assassinations. Do you mean to tell me that even the most virtuous people in the world, even the hon. Gentlemen who keep the Government in power, if their houses were, raided, if their fathers 696 and sons were arrested, or their comrades flogged, if their business establishments were burned, if their villages were sacked and their shops were looted, would sit down and cry hallelujah? No, Sir, there is no such superlative virtue in human nature anywhere. These murders, in my judgment, are the precise result of the irritation and the anger and the spirit of hatred that have been brought about by a policy as silly as it was criminal. There is the arrest of little children for selling ribbons.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
Before you came. Let me point out to the right hon. Gentleman that above all men in the world at this moment he should not put on an assumption of virtue. There are worse things being done now. I am telling the House what was done. I am reciting to the House a series of incidents that have led up to the horrible conditions that exist in Ireland to-day. There were Gaelic meetings held for the promotion of the language of the Gael. We were taunted from the Government Bench by the Prime Minister that we could not speak our own language, and yet when great Gaelic festivals were being held for the purpose of fostering and intensifying the passionate devotion of the Irish people to their native town his mobsmen, crowned with the glory of Imperial uniforms, came down and scattered those men and women and would not allow those meetings to be held. Little children holding boxes for the financial furtherance of this cause were actually taken to prison, and, as I have said, when those incidents, and all other incidents which I have indicated, took place there was comparatively no murder in the country at all.
Therefore I come back to my first proposition that if there is murder in Ireland to-day I would quote the expression of the Prime Minister from Limehouse that it is your hands that are reeking with the blood of policemen and the blood of civilians, for your policy is responsible. I say that not in Limehouse but in the British House of Commons. I come to specific and unimpeachable matters, and I want the right hon. Gentleman to deal with them. They are all matters which have not, I think, been raised in this House before. I asked a question to-day with regard to the shooting of three men in Belfast. About a month ago, or a little 697 more, a policeman was shot in Belfast. I do not think there is a single man in Belfast knows who shot him—and you are no more entitled to say that that policeman was shot by a Sinn Feiner than you are entitled to say that he was shot by a Unionist. I go no further than that. He was shot at the corner of a street which divides two sections of the population.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
Yes, in my division, but at the corner of a Unionist street in my division. I deplore the shooting of this policeman profoundly. Nobody need charge me with having any sympathy with murder. It helps no cause. If I had my will, as I have often said elsewhere, though I do not know whether I ever said it here, I would like to sec every ship and every rifle burned in this country, in Ireland, and in every country in the world, everyone of them burned. They are implements of inhumanity and weapons for the destruction of civilisation. Whether it is war of the character that is going on in Ireland or of the great conflict that took place on the fields of Flanders, every war leaves behind it misery, horror and anger and the destructoin of civilisation. I never knew of any war in the world that did good to anybody. I equally abhor bloodshed in any shape or form. It is a nice commentary upon 20 centuries of Christian civilisation that the outcome of it is that men and nations should engage in universal murder, for that is what it amounts to. That is my opinion. I want the Chief Secretary here and now, in his own interest, and in the interests of his administration, and in the interests of the fair fame of this country, to speak out frankly, and I ask him is he prepared to utter in language as unmistakable as that which I use his denunciation of these infamies which are carried on under the authority of law in Ireland?
This policeman was murdered in Belfast, and what happened? At 2 o'clock on a Sunday morning a motor lorry of uniformed men proceeded to the houses of a number of Sinn Feiners. They took out the first man whose house they came to, and I suppose he had about as much to do with that murder as I had. He was a barber engaged while this murder was going on in his barber's shop. They dragged him out into a back yard, followed by his wife and little children, 698 and shot him like a dog. That man was Edward Trodden. They then proceeded to the house of a man called John Gaynor, and they took him out in the presence of his mother and shot him. They went next to the house of John M'Fadden and, notwithstanding the weeping and agonised protests of his sister, shot him in her presence. Has the right hon. Gentleman wept for this horrible outrage and tragedy? Not at all! I cannot say for certain that if they had not found these three men they would have taken any others they could have got, but I believe that in the case of one of them he was not the man they expected him to be, and they were looking for an entirely different man. But I do not emphasise that at all. All I know is that there was not a single particle of evidence against any of those, three men, and this occurred on a Sabbath morning in an Irish town. You had three men dragged out in the presence of their wives and children and sisters, and shot like dogs. Why, if I thought that was the spirit of the British Empire, I would pray in his House to see the British Empire in the bottom of the sea. I tell you that frankly. When I put a question to the right hon. Gentleman to-day about this, what was the answer he gave? I asked him if there was an inquiry into the matter. Surely this was a case for a complete and impartial inquiry. If I never asked him at all, it was a case for inquiry. If I were Chief Secretary for Ireland, I would not sit in my chair for five minutes while this was done, until I had probed it to the very bottom. I would have imagined if the Chief Secretary wants sympathy in the undoubtedly delicate and difficult position he occupies, one of the most terrible positions any man ever could occupy, if he pleads for sympathy, does he expect, it from me? He pleads for sympathy—
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD indicated digsent.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
Very well, you do not expect sympathy, but you expect your difficulties to be recognised.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD indicated assent.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
And I recognise them, but if you want me to respect your difficulties, I think it was your duty to have an inquiry. There is no one with greater powers of pathetic appeal than the right hon. Gentleman while he is constantly 699 telling the story of the murders of policemen, but why did he not come down to the House and tell the House of the terrible tragedy which had occurred and had been brought about by uniformed men in dragging out these people and murdering them under circumstances of the most disgraceful and appalling character? I put a question to him about it to-day. Here is his answer:A military court of inquiry was hold in each of these cases. In the case of John Gaynor they found that he was killed while resisting arrest by members of the police force, who fired justifiably in the execution of their duty. The finding in the cases of John M'Fadden and Edward Trodden was that death resulted from bullet wounds inflicted by persons unknown.Does the right hon. Gentleman—and he can tell us this from 10 to 11 o'clock— assert that a motor lorry full of uniformed men are entitled to go into a house where there is a man and his mother and shoot this man, who refused to be arrested, because he was so powerful and lest his mother—and I think she was the only one in the housr—might prevent him from bein taken in the patrol car away to the police office? He put in the word "justifiably," but he never says a word about the other two murders which took place, and yet it was the same men who went to the three houses, and the right hon. Gentleman is aware of that. He promised me to-day an independent inquiry. I shall press for that inquiry, and I will demand it, but that is a case i[...] my own constituency, a case I know, and I am informed on reliable authority that the man whom he says was justifiably shot was not the man they were looking for at all. What I want to know is this. If this man was to be arrested, was there a warrant issued for his arrest? I want the right hon. Gentleman to answer; and if there was a warrant issued for his arrest, I want to see that warrant, because I am convinced that it was not this man at all whose name was on the warrant, but another man. and that is a very serious charge to make, and I want to see that warrant, and I want some better explanation than the right hon. Gentleman trippingly gave me here to-day.
I pass from that to the next case. The right hon. Gentleman made the hard-faced men merry at my expense the day before yesterday—I do not object to that; I like to see them smile—and when I asked a question about the destruction 700 of the town of Templemore, he said in his airiest manner, "The hon. Gentleman has said that the town was wrecked." Of course, I get my information from English papers. I am not in touch with Sinn Fein. I am sure Sinn Fein would be the last to ask me to put their case. I have not received communications from any of them. They do not want me to be their defender or advocate, and I am not. I am the defender of the right; I am the advocate of freedom; I stand for the application of humanity to government and administration, and that is why I am here, not in order to please the right hon. Gentleman or any Sinn Feiner. Therefore, I get my information from the English papers. If I say the "Daily News," the wise men sneer: if I say the "Manchester Guardian," the Coalition Liberals collapse; if I say the "Times" newspaper, they howl "Lord Northcliffe," and if I say the "Morning Post," then they remain silent. I want to knew where I am to get my information. I put my question down from information contained in these papers, most of them papers owned by the party of the right hon. Gentleman or by his supporters, and he told me that there were only two shops destroyed. Here are the two shops:Mr. J. W. Kissane, Medical Hall, windows smashed and goods looted or damaged to the value of £350. Mr. Kissane was compounder for the military during the War.Mr. A. J. Duffner's watchmaking and jewellery establishment, gold and silver watches and chains, clocks, and other jewellery were looted, at an estimated damage of £2,000.Mr. Robert Seale's watchmaking and jewellery establishment was almost completely wrecked. Damage estimated at £2,000. Traces of blood found in the two latter places.A looted clock, priced at 8 guineas, was hurled through a hardware establishment, and a silver teapot through a window. At a glove factory where discharged soldiers are employed goods were looted.Plate glass windows were smashed at Mr. T. Kerwick's grocery establishment, Mr. John Doherty's stationery shop, Mr. John Conway's drapery, Mr. P. J. Moloney's medical hall. Mr. M. Tynan's tobacco warehouse, Miss Burke's millinery, Mr. John Dalton's agricultural machinery establishment, and Mr. Bryan O'Donnell's stationery and tobacco establishment.Yet the right hon. Gentleman got up in the House and tried to gather cheap cheers and sneers from hon. Gentlemen opposite because I told him that these shops were wrecked, and he told the 701 House of Commons that all that was done was damage to two houses.
Let me come to the third case, which has been dealt with to some extent by my hon. Friend (Mr. O'Connor) and elaborated on by the hon. Gentleman who seconded (Mr. Hogge), and that is the case, which has made me feel that I can hardly repress myself. When I hear talk about a spirit of conciliation, about paving the way, about creating an atmosphere, and all these things, and then read the tragic and horrible record of this incident, I am afraid I am temperamentally unfitted to breathe an atmosphere of that kind. Here was a case of a woman in the joy and prime of life, fondling her little child in her arms, about once again to become a mother, Hitting in the peaceful solitude of an Irish rural district, and along come lorries of firmed and uniformed men, and they fire at her and her little babe in her arms.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
The right hon. Gentleman says they did not fire at her, but let me say, if he denies the firing, I do not assert that they fired for the purpose of murdering her at all, but if it is possible to allow these wild men at large to fire in this indiscriminate fashion—and this is one of the commonplaces and conventions of our modern methods of warfare in Ireland; it is only one of countless cases—if the result is that this young mother, in the bloom and freshness of her womanhood, with her little child in her arms, and about to be the mother of another, is shot dead, let it ring forth throughout the world that this is Britain, the Britain that stood against the atrocities of the Turks in Armenia, that wept tears over crushed and oppressed humanity in every land under the sun, yet there is not one word of apology from the lips of the right hon. Gentleman, or of sympathy for this poor woman, and for the desolate heart which is made motherless by these accursed crimes. I shall read to this House a sentence or two from a description of this incident by Father Considin[...], who, when a policeman was murdered, stood at the altar and denounced it in the most unmeasured terms, and the police came and thanked him for what he had done. He says:It is too awful, too inhuman, to contemplate. I have read of Turkish atrocities; I have read of the death of Joan of Arc; I 702 have read of the sufferings of Nurse Cavell, and as I read those things I often felt my blood boil, and I often prayed that the good God might change the minds and the hearts of those cruel monsters. Little did I then dream that I should witness a tragedy, an atrocity more hideous, more revolting, more frightful, more brutal, more cruel than any of those things, and here in our own little peaceful parish of Gort. My God, it is awful!The gratitude that this priest gets for his denunciation of the murder of a policeman is to find that he is to be one of the central figures in this bloody tragedy perpetrated against a poor woman and her helpless child in a civilised country, governed and controlled by a so-called civilised Government.
Let me come to another case. I ask the House to mark this. If ever you say a word in this House against these atrocities, you are always told you are making an attack upon the dignity and prestige and honour of the Army. What did they do the other day? I asked a question about it to-day. They first searched the house of a lieutenant demobilised from the British Army, and then shot him. The name is in the question. The right hon. Gentleman will find it in the "Evening Standard." That is where I got it.
Let me read this case:About midnight bomb explosions were heard in Nenagh, and these continued at intervals till 5 o'clock this morning. In Castle Street the drapery shop and licensed house of Mr. Flannery, county councillor, was set on fire in the early morning. Police and soldiers helped civilians in an unsuccessful attempt to subdue the flames, which spread to Mr. Renshan's drapery store, and here much of the stock was destroyed.Then it describes how Castle Street and other buildings were destroyed. I do not introduce this case because it is a remarkable one. It is only one of the countless cases that take place elsewhere. But what happened? To-day at 5 o'clock I received a telegram from this Mr. Renahan, in which he said:I have found my reward for what I did during the War. To-day my business place was burned to the ground after giving four sons to the British Army during the War.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
Then there is the burning down of the Athlone Printing Works and there is the outbreak in Dungannon. The right hon. Gentleman is constantly telling us—I think this is about the only 703 defence he has ever offered—that the real cause of these so-called reprisals is because the community will not denounce murders. There were policemen wounded in Dungannon the other day, and the first man to stand up and denounce this wounding of the policemen was the parish priest. [HON. MEMBERS: "He is not a Sinn Feiner!"] What has that to do with it?
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I wish the right hon. Gentleman would have the intelligence— I know he has not—but I wish he had the common sense, if he has not the intelligence, to stand up in the House and say what he has to say. What happened? Did that save the property of the Catholic people? Not at all. Out went the forces of the Crown again, and they burned down the principal Catholic shops in the town. The people fled from Dungannon into the country places. The Ulster Volunteers were called out, because the Black and Tans and the police and the soldiers were not sufficient to cope with the number of peaceful and innocent citizens who saw their property destroyed and burned.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
What is the Government going to do about all this? I was glad to know there was a little Christianity left even in the churches of this country. I went yesterday and heard the speech of His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury. He told us that these reprisals brought a blush of shame to the face of every Englishman, that these outrages were lowering the prestige and degrading the name of your Empire in every civilised, and I believe, every uncivilised, place in the world. But everybody who holds his view is not a Sinn Feiner, according to the mentality of the hon. Gentleman opposite. If you shoot an Orangeman you are a desperate scoundrel. If you shoot 20 Nationalists, well, they are only Sinn Feiners. That is the morality of gentlemen of the calibre of the hon. Gentleman who sits opposite.
I do not know whether anything we say, any protest we utter, any passionate appeal we put forward, will have the 704 slightest effect. There is one thing certain, at any rate; these reprisals will not put down assassinations. They will create fresh ones. In places where there are no Sinn Feiners at all everybody is becoming a Sinn Feiner. It is the natural instinct of human nature to protest, and oven to do wrong, in a spirit of revenge against wrong inflicted. These people who commit murders of policemen run all the risks. Surely you have power enough, with all your machinery of administration and your Coercion Act, to put them down? What have the poor innocent people got who are assailed in this way? Nothing. Why, this is worse than Lynch Law in its most degraded and violent form. You will not put murders down in that way.
You have still some time left to save your honour and your name by ending these horrors that are being committed against innocent people in Ireland. I have no doubt you will say by-and-by, "Our one purpose is to confer on Ireland such advantages of freedom as will be possible and feasible." Do you know what you are doing? You are poisoning the morale of the nation. I have great sympathy with the police—those who are Irishmen. They have been compelled to do your dirty work. They ought not to have been asked to do it. I do not think it stands for the morale of people to have their own citizens, who have enlisted for the purpose of maintaining law and order and peacefulness in a peaceful community, made instruments of a tyrannical bureaucracy. It is unfair to the police, and it never should have been done. They are attacked because the people believe they are your instruments, and you put them in a horrible position.
Ireland will have freedom. When the right hon. Gentleman has passed along the line of all the Chief Secretaries who have preceded him, and when he and I will, perhaps, be no more, there will still be an Ireland inspired by the spirit of liberty. That spirit has never died, and that spirit will move her for all the generations to come. You will give us an Ireland filled with hatred, the hatred that springs from this widespread tyranny, until we will have again to make people forget all this bitter memory. Stop this policy and try the policy of peace and conciliation. Stand for law— 705 not the law of the rabble in uniform, but the law of God's justice. Stand for liberty—not the liberty to burn down the property of the citizens of a country and to destroy their lives, but the liberty that stands for all that is good and Christian in the common polity of humanity everywhere.
I would first ask the House to recollect a Debate in this House four months ago, when we had the solemn assurance from the other side that the Government's policy was not only succeeding, but that it was the only policy that could succeed, and that Ireland would be a happy and contented people before long. We have had at least a dozen Debates since. To-night we are faced with the same story, that, instead of the policy succeeding, instead of putting into operation a policy which the Irish people would welcome, we are faced with the fact that the position in Ireland to day is worse than it ever was before. Therefore, I want to apply myself to some of the causes. If the statement from the Government Bench is correct, and if the Government's policy is the right policy, we are entitled to judge by the position in Ireland to-day, but we on this side of the House, rightly or wrongly, but rightly in our judgment, deliberately say that the policy which the Government is pursuing is not only a policy disastrous to Ireland, disastrous to this country, and likely to involve our Empire itself, but is in the main responsible for the very murders we all condemn. It is not good enough, and the time has passed when those of us who take an opposite view to hon. Members on the other side of the House are merely to be twitted that we condone the murders of policemen or others. I say there is no one on this side of the House but deplores the murder of policemen as much as anyone on that side of the House. But what we are concerned with, and what is more important and germane, is the causes of the murders, apart from the murders themselves.
What is the history in connection with this matter? These are figures never challenged by the Government. After all, it is the only test we can apply. In 1917 there was one policeman injured in a riot, and no policeman killed in Ireland Now the point to which I want to draw the attention of the House is this. If 706 it be true, as is alleged from the Government's policy, that the reprisals and the murders which are now taking place are due exclusively to the action of the Sinn Feiners, we are entitled to assume at least that they follow, and not precede, the crimes on the other side. I think that is a fair deduction to make. The Government in the year 1917 made 2,000 arrests in Ireland on political charges, and in over a thousand cases no charge was deliberately made against the individual. Year after year it has gone on. We all know, and I do not want to go into figures because it is common property, but, as I said in the Debate on the last occasion I spoke, I was assured by the responsible authorities, whose accuracy the Government would not challenge, that in Dublin itself, when the Government decided to arm the policemen, there had been no policeman murdered, and that was not challenged, and it is true to-day as it was true when I made the statement in the House of Commons. Therefore, what I want to submit to-night is that, in spite of all the talk of putting it down, this House is faced to-night with the fact that there is more crime in Ireland than there was when we last debated it. That in itself is the answer to the whole matter being satisfactorily settled.
What is the kind of thing that is taking place? We all read of that lad who was executed last Monday morning. A man came in and saw me who was the employer of this boy's sister, and who had seen the boy only a few days before he was executed, and I am now going to read to the House the sworn statement of this boy a few hours before he walked to the scaffold. The boy did not dispute for a moment that he shot the policeman, so I am not arguing now the merits, and I condemn him as emphatically as anybody for the murder of that policeman. Remember, he went to the scaffold not as a coward; he was a studious boy, loved by everyone who know him, brave and educated. He was 18 years of age, and he walked to the scaffold as a man, saying: "I believe I die for the good of my country." But he goes beyond that, and he says, "I am only following the example of General Wilson, who has taught me this policy." General Wilson was the private instructor to the Ulster Army. [HON. MEMBERS: "NO!" and "Yes!"] It is no use denying it. What can you 707 deduct from it, when this boy, who was then less than 12 years of age, saw a policy of defiance and rebellion against the Crown succeed? It installed into his mind that this was the policy that would succeed. I believe it is a wrong policy. I condemned it when it was preached from Ulster just as much as I condemn it now, but I ask the House to try to visualise it as this young man did, and who thought on his side as the others thought on theirs, and carried into action something that cost him his life. How was he treated? No one will dispute that he paid a big penalty with his life. No one will dispute that he paid the full penalty in being executed. But here is his sworn statement of the treatment he received. I will read it. It may be said that it is not true, but I will refuse to believe that a lad who could go to the scaffold bravely, knowing that he was going to meet his death, was going to lie a few hours before he went there. I at least refuse to believe that. However much I may disagree with his crime, I refuse to believe that he would lie, and this is his sworn statement:—About a quarter of an hour after I was placed in the defaulters' room two commissioned officers came in. They both belonged to the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers. They were accompanied by three sergeants of the same unit. A military policeman who had been in the room since I entered it remained. One of the officers asked my name, which I gave. He then asked the names of my companions in the raid or attack. I refused to give them. He tried to persuade me to give the names. I persisted in refusing. He then sent a sergeant out of the room for a bayonet. When it was brought in the sergeant was ordered by the same officer to point the bayonet at my stomach. The same question as to the names and addresses of my companions was repeated, with the same result. The sergeant was then ordered to turn my face to the wall and point the bayonet to my back. I was so turned. The sergeant then said he would run the bayonet into me if I did not tell. The bayonet was then removed and I was turned round again. The same officer then said to me that if I persisted in my attitude he would turn me out to the men in the barrack square, and he supposed I knew what that meant with the men in their present temper. I said nothing. He ordered the sergeant to put me face down on the floor and twist my arm. I was pushed down on to the floor after my handcuffs were removed by the sergeant, who went for the bayonet. When I lay on the floor one of the sergeants knelt on the small of my back. The other two placed one foot each on my back and left shoulder, and the man who knelt on me twisted my right arm, held it by the wrist with one hand while he 708 held my hair with the other to pull back my head.
My arm was twisted from the elbow joint. This continued to the best of my judgment for five minutes. It was very painful. The first officer was standing near my feet, and the officer who accompanied him was still present. During the twisting of my arm the first officer continued to question me as to the names and addresses of my companions, and also asked me for the name of my company commander and any other officer I knew. As I still persisted in refusing to answer these questions I was let get up, and I was again handcuffed. A civilian came in, and he repeated the questions with the same result. He informed me that if I gave all the information I knew I could get off. I was then left in the company of the military policeman, the two officers, the three sergeants and the civilian leaving together. I could certainly identify the officer who directed the proceedings and put the questions. I am not sure of the others, except the sergeant with the bayonet. My arm was medically treated by an officer of the R.A.M.C. attached by the North Dublin Union the following morning, and by the prison hospital orderly afterwards for four or five days. I was visited by the courts-martial officer last night, and he read for me the confirmation of sentence of death by hanging to be executed on Monday next. I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing same to be true, and by virtue of the Statutory Declarations Act, 1835.
Do not let us get excited! I put to the House this: I do not for one moment believe that the Government would condone that.
§ 10.0 P.M.
There is nothing to condone if it is not true. I do not believe the Government would condone that if it is true. I do not believe any Member of this House would attempt to justify it. I ask the House: do you believe that there would be any object in this young lad of 18 before he goes to his death, in a case of this kind, telling other than the truth? I believe this statement. I believe this has been brought about by the repeated statements made by the Government that you must have some regard for human nature. That statement has been repeated in this House. The right hon. Gentleman has said: I do ask this House to have some regard to human nature, and that observation has been cheered from various quarters. I would ask those 709 who cheer that policy to remember where it carries them. A starving man can justify stealing on the ground of human nature. The mob which is hungry and unemployed can justify any action by such an appeal. All law and order and civilisation is destroyed by admitting that. I conclude with this appeal: whatever this House of Commons may say, the incidents reported by the Press correspondents, the position of the "Daily News" correspondent who has intimated to the world that he was threatened with his life—it is not in this country alone that statements are made. All this is having the effect of ruining the good name of this country. Whatever this House of Commons may say, our Colonies are thinking seriously about this matter. Whatever this House of Commons may do, Canada and Australia are feeling very acutely about it. People outside this House are feeling about it, because, they say—and rightly—reprisals do not represent the instinct or desire of the British people; because people at heart say that they cannot justify or condone what is taking place in Ireland in this particular connection.
My last words are to suggest to the Government to look for a new policy. In spite of all that has been said by Parliament, in spite of all what Sinn Feiners have said, I repeat to-night what I said two months ago; that Ireland can be saved even at this moment without a republic. There are sufficient people in Ireland to-day who are anxious and willing and ready for an honourable settlement. The Government's measure will not settle the matter. It will never be a settlement. Would it not, therefore, be much better instead of us night after night having to face the horrible stories, and day after day to sympathise with the record read out by my right hon. Friend opposite, to sympathise with his position and his difficulties, would it not be much better. I feel the House of Commons would prefer a settlement of this question—than to have the Debates that we are having night after night? A settlement is not in the line we are now pursuing. A settlement can never be on the lines of the Government Bill. A settlement could be obtained, I believe we could even now explore the avenues to a settlement, which will be a settlement of the murders, outrages, and reprisals, and I would much prefer the aspect of the 710 question to be approached, for I believe it would lead to a permanent solution.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
There is no one more desirous of a settlement of the Irish question than I am, and the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Derby, is not alone in that respect. However, the Motion I have to meet to-night does not touch the question of a settlement of the ancient Irish difficulty, but it is a Resolution condemning the Government for the continuance of what is called a policy of frightfulness and other things. Before I go into that matter, may I refer to the point raised by the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Derby, with reference to the affidavit of Kevin Barry, who was executed for the murder of a soldier, the other day. That affidavit alleges that he was tortured by two officers of the Lancashire Fusiliers. This is a question of veracity as to whether that man swore the truth or whether the officers, who deny it, told the truth.
Mr. J. JONES
He was a Catholic going to face his death. I am not going to stand quietly and hear my faith insulted.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
Under these circumstances, I think it is impossible to carry this matter any further.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
It is not a question of human nature in a case of this kind. If it is the torturing of anybody, whatever the crime is, then it is a damnable thing, and I condemn it as much as anybody. I do not believe it, and the last terms of the affidavit, which 711 are couched in legal language, do not read like the words of a medical student, and they go to convince me that the affidavit was prepared for him.
§ Mr. DEVLIN rose—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Hon. Members must really give the Minister fair play, for he has not had a chance of making his statement yet. On two previous occasions hon. Members from Ireland occupied nearly the whole of the time, and did not give the Minister a chance. Now that the right hon. Gentleman has a chance, surely it is only fair play to allow him to proceed without interruption.
§ Mr. MacVEAGH
I only wished to enter my protest against the misrepresentation which the Chief Secretary is now making.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It is not the time to protest in the middle of a speech, and the hon. Member must control himself.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
Far be it for me to say anything that will provoke any controversy at this particular time. I welcome the statement which has been made by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool (Mr. O'Connor) and the hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge), both of whom urged the point that the situation in Ireland was too critical to have a Debate in which one individual tries to score over another. I also readily accept the view put forward by those two hon. Members to-night, that they strongly condemn the assassination of members of the forces of the Crown and innocent civilians just as much as I do myself. Of course, we all condemn them. My difficulty is that these Resolutions and some of the speeches do not tend to help the Forces of the Crown, but they do tend, I am afraid, sometimes to encourage those whom we all condemn in their extreme doctrine of assassination. I do not complain of a Resolution of this kind.
Let me just take one or two particular points raised in the Debate. First of all, there is the question of the destruction of creameries, which is a very substantial point. On this question I have already received representatives of the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, of which Sir Horace Plunkett is the distinguished head, and the British Co-operative Par- 712 liamentary Committee, and I am now considering these two points: (1) Has a case been made out that any of these creameries have been destroyed by the Forces of the Crown, for no case has been made yet identifying individual members of the Forces of the Crown; and (2) if the case is made out that they have been so destroyed, the question is, has the Government the moral responsibility to make what compensation they can in the way of money? Those are the two points I am considering with the Government at this moment, and if anyone has any evidence which will assist me in coming to a conclusion on that matter I should welcome it. [An HON. MEMBER: "You may get it."]
§ Mr. DEVLIN
Will that offer apply to all other property which has been destroyed by the forces of the Crown?
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
Certainly. If property is destroyed in the course of a fight, then another set of circumstances arise altogether, and what are commonly called reprisals in the majority of cases are not reprisals done by anybody as the word should be used, but are the destruction that immediately follows or occurs in the course of a contest or combat in which the lives of individuals and the lives of the forces of the Crown are involved. Soldiers or the police patrolling in a town may be fired upon from a house. It is impossible under those circumstances for them to go knocking at the door asking to be allowed to search that particular house, and once they are fired at they must treat that particular house as an arsenal or a fort, and they do so. They surround the house and shoot into it. They may even burn the house, but I say that is a legitimate act of self-defence.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
I can assure hon. Members that I do my best to get at the root of the matter in all these cases. I have enquired into scores of these cases, and it is a common thing to find that houses have been destroyed under the circumstances which I have described. A stack may be searched and a bomb or a rifle may be found in it. Of course it is burned down, because it may conceal other bombs, rifles or revolvers, as they frequently do, and I think that is quite fair.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
I can quote any number of them, but I am going to pursue my speech in my own way. There are a number of these cases, and I am trying to get at the root of them. I object entirely to the allegation that the Army or the Police Force are less desirous of maintaining rigid discipline than any hon. Member is. I read these returns with profound regret, but I think they are essential in order that the House may realise that the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and the Head of the Police are doing their best to maintain the discipline which has always-characterised both these forces—We have now under arrest nine constables. Two are charged with murder; two with conduct prejudicial to good order; three with felony, and two with looting.I hope with all my heart that they will be proved to be innocent when tried. But at the moment they are under arrest for these serious charges, and I think that is the test of the desire of the soldiers and police to maintain the discipline that is essential in any forces of the Crown. The Commander-in-Chief has had a military inquiry into every case alleged against any of his troops. In ten cases disciplinary action has been taken; trials have been ordered in others. Seven men are being tried with being implicated in the destruction of property at Mallero. In every case the men have to meet the charge that may be urged against them by evidence from any source.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
Those who are most interested in their good behaviour and discipline—a court-martial of British officers. The hon. and gallant Member has himself been a British officer and he knows, as well as I know, that there are none more careful of the discipline of units of the Forces than those responsible for it—its officers, and none are more severe on breaches of discipline than the officers.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
Yes, but the most impartial tribunal is the military tribunal set up by this House in Ireland.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
I believe it is. This tribunal is carrying on its severe and grave duties with impartiality, courage and, may I say, a generosity that cannot be surpassed by any other tribunal. May I make one personal point here? I have been accused of withholding information from the House. I have been accused of making evasive replies to questions. I can assure the House that it is far from my intention to do cither. May I just depict the difficulties of an Irish Secretary in getting facts. Newspapers with an alertness up-to-date which does them credit can get a telegram sent from any part of Ireland at any time of the events that generally follow the murder of a policeman. But before that murder takes place the telegraph and telephone wires are cut by the malefactors or their friends, and it is difficult for me to find officers of the police or soldiers at their desks when they are naturally scouring the country seeking for the criminals who have caused the trouble. The delay in giving reports to this House does not arise from a lack of willingness to give information, whether it is helpful or not to us, but it is due to the disturbed and distracted state of certain areas in Ireland. The hon. Member for the Root-land Division of Liverpool (Mr. O'Connor) rather found fault with the fact that there were some Royal Irish Constables in the Lobby to-night.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
Very well then, he did not find fault or intend to do so. I am sure he did not intend to find fault. Those constables are here as escort to the body of an honest English soldier who was assassinated at Killorglin, in Kerry, on Sunday last. He was riding his bicycle, and was shot through the back of the head and killed—a man who had served his country for four years in Persia and Mesopotamia, and who went to Ireland at the call of the British Government to serve the country there; who was the main support of a widowed mother—a working-class mother living here in London. I think it ought to bring home vividly to this House the realities of the situation. All the tears ought not to be—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear!"] 715 —however innocent the sufferers in Ireland, there should be some tears still left for these gallant men, who deserved well of the country during the War, and who are being murdered day by day in Ireland while carrying out their duty.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
No one feels more bitterly than I do the shedding of innocent blood in Ireland, but the responsibility for the shedding of that innocent blood is on the heads of those who started and those who continue this campaign of assassination against the forces of the Crown.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
The hon. Member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Hogge) referred to the Government's imprimatur on reprisals against innocent people. I can assure him that there is no Government imprimatur on reprisals against innocent people. I feel as deeply as he does about the unfortunate death of Mrs. Quinn, who was shot, as he admits himself quite accurately, by a stray shot. In the disturbed condition of certain parts of Ireland to-day, there are bound to be stray shots; and the shot of a Service rifle will carry nearly 3,000 yards from the point of discharge.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
Not showers. One of the most effective ways, if not the only effective way, of defeating an ambush, is to fire in advance along the line of hedge or fence where the ambush is most likely to be.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
The whole matter is under inquiry. No one regrets more than the police and the soldiers themselves if innocent persons are killed while they are carrying out their difficult and dangerous duties, and, I repeat, the responsibility is on those who continue the assassination and attempted assassination.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
The hon. Member for the Falls Division referred to what he called the burning of Roman Catholic houses in Dungannon. That is not accurate.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
In Dungannon last Sunday night—it was the first time it had happened—a police constable was ambushed and his assassination was attempted. Happily he was only wounded. But at once there was trouble in the town of Dungannon. Nobody knows better than the hon. Member for Falls that, in a place like Dungannon, where Protestants and Catholics are fairly evenly divided, religious feeling— what is called religious feeling—approaches the ferocious. The shooting at this constable, and the disturbance of the peace for the first time in this way in Dungannon, aroused fierce passions among the civilian population.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
It was started first by those who attempted to assassinate that policeman. The actual destruction, I am very glad to say, was very limited. There was a barber's shop in which one large plate glass was damaged by a kick from a boot; there was a house in Church Street in which two panes of glass were broken and a shot fired through an upstairs window; there was a house in which two windows were completely shattered, evidently by some blunt instrument; and at Miss Annie Flanagan's stationer's shop one pane of glass broken. That is the damage at Dungannon. No one was injured except the unfortunate constable, who was wounded. The police stopped any further damage.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
I say they stopped any further damage. It is only the police, as no one knows better than the hon. Member who sits for a Belfast Division—it is only the police and the military who keep these so-called religious factions from massacring each other. I am not interested in the religious squabbles in the North, but I know what they are, and I know what a bless- 717 ing the loyal police and the devoted soldiery are in maintaining peace between the contending factions.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
The hon. Member (Mr. Devlin) refers to the Belfast case. Some weeks ago arrangements were made by employers, by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, by other men, by Sir Ernest Clark, who represents me in Ulster, to have the expelled Roman Catholics and other workers returned to the shipyards. On Sunday a policeman was brutally murdered, I believe, by Sinn Fein assassins.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I say he was not. I deny that he was murdered by Sinn Feiners. How do you know they were Sinn Feiners? [An HON. MEMBER: "You are a Sinn Feiner!"] I am not a Sinn Feiner, but I will not allow lies to be told.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
The result was at once a flare up of this so-called religious feeling again. The expelled workers were unable to come back to the yards—one of the most regrettable features, I think, in the whole chequered history of the great City of Belfast. Following the murder of that policeman, the police scoured portions of Belfast. Remember the police and the soldiers have carefully tabulated lists of the non-commissioned officers and men of the Irish Republican Army. We have them for the whole of Ireland. After an assassination of this kind they visit the houses of these men. In one house where they attempted to arrest a man he resisted and was shot.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
Under the Defence of the Realm Act, even in England or in Ireland, no warrant is required, and, secondly, in endeavouring to arrest a criminal you do not require a warrant. It is the duty of the police to arrest on sight, and I am glad to say that in Ireland they do their duty.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member spoke for five and forty minutes and put [...]is case, and, I believe, was listened to, 718 on the whole, very quietly. Will he not allow the Minister to make a statement in his defence? If he will, will he kindly remain seated and quiet until the statement has been made. That is only fair play.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
I most respectfully accept your advice, but I think it is quite customary to put a most pertinent question when it is not taking up the time of the speaker, and the Chief Secretary has given way. I want to ask him this: If they went to this house to arrest this man—there were 20 men, I understand—why could the 20 men not arrest this one man, in whose house there was only a widowed mother, without shooting him?
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
The bitter experience of the police and soldiers in Ireland has been that in endeavouring to arrest notorious men in the Sinn Fein Army or movement, they run great risks of being shot themselves. The other day in Dublin Major Smythe, D.S.O., and Captain White, D.S.O., lost their lives in endeavouring to arrest two notorious murderers, who shot first while they were entering a house to arrest these men. I cannot expect the police or the soldiers to hesitate in using their weapons of defence against men who are notorious in the disastrous history of Ireland of to-day.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
I am coming to that. The Courts of Inquiry composed of military officers as set up by this House, found that in one case a man met his death because he resisted arrest, and in two other cases the men were murdered by persons unknown. The only impartial Court you can get in Ireland to-day is the military Court of Inquiry. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because religious feeling, political feeling—
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
That was the Court established by this House. I have had some experience of Courts of all kinds, and I have never failed to find that a Court of British officers represents as fine a Court of men, of as fine a character, as any other tribunal. A military Court is provided by law. The Court found that these men had been 719 murdered by some persons unknown. Now let me come to the question of the Press. I apologise to the House for taking up so much time; but I am doing my best to speak quietly and without provocation. The question of the Press divides itself into two parts; first, the general attitude of the Irish Government towards the Press, and, secondly, the allegations made by Mr. Hugh Martin, the Irish correspondent of the "Daily News."
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
Yes, and Mr. MacGregor, who is the correspondent in Ireland of the "London Evening News." As to the Press generally, there has never been the slightest obstacle put in the way of any pressman in Ireland. I have myself gone out of my way to provide motor cars and facilities of every kind for the Press of all parts of the world to see Ireland as it is, because I believe, whatever may be said against the Government, the more publicity Ireland gets from people who visit it, the stronger and the more united will be the support, not only of this country but of civilisation, behind the British Government. [HON MEMRBES: "Oh!"] That is my view. As to the Press generally, I welcome them, and so does General Macready the Commander-in-Chief. So does the Sinn Feiner. He has a most elaborate system of dealing with pressmen. He goes so far as actually to prepare what he likes them to say, and hands it out to them.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
Now I come to Mr. Hugh Martin, of the "Daily News." I was surprised to hear that Mr. Martin or anybody else was in the slightest danger in Ireland because he was connected with the Press, and I do not believe that he or anybody else is in the slightest danger; but it is not an unpopular thing in Ireland to pretend to be in danger and, therefore, become a hero. I admit at once, from what I have heard since this incident arose—it did not 720 concern me before—that the "Daily News." is probably not as popular a paper with the police and the soldiers in Ireland as it might be. I will give one reason. Not long ago the "Daily News" saw fit to publish the report of an interview with an ex-policeman or an ex-Black and Tan, named Flint, in which he referred to the British ex-service recruits to the Royal Irish Constabulary as a corps of bandits. This man, Flint, just before this interview which was displayed in the "Daily News," was dismissed from the constabulary for stealing a uniform and selling it, and yet he was quoted as an authority on the conduct of the ex-service men who have, I am glad to say, flocked to Ireland by the hundred in response to the call to serve this country. I wont out of my way also to do everything I could for Mr. Hugh Martin, because I want to put no obstacle in the way of any person, least of all in the way of those who may, for all I know, have a bias against the policy of the present Government. The Commander-in-Chief went out of his way, and I will read you a telegram received from him to-day:Owing to Hugh Martin's biased articles I wrote his editor on 28th September saying that the military authorities were only too glad to provide Martin with any facilities in their power for inquiry into events of public interest in which troops are concerned. Martin has never been here, and apparently refuses to take advantage of Press passes issued by mo, which order all officers to facilitate holders in pursuance of professional duties. He is apparently determined to get only one side of story. All other pressmen appear gratified and satisfied with treatment, and only yesterday the 'Manchester Guardian' representative admitted that he had just returned from an extensive tour in the disturbed areas and had met with no difficulty whatsoever.I come now to the exact case urged by the hon. Member for East Edinburgh and one or two others. Mr. Martin started out with another journalist, Mr. MacGregor of the "Evening News," in the streets of Tralee, following one of the worst wave? of assassination in and about Tralee. These two journalists were apparently held up by the Royal Irish Constabulary—and I hope that they will hold up everybody who wanders round. But they were most courteously treated. Mr. Martin says some one of these policemen threatened his life. I am unable to get any information as to who that policeman was, and I have tried to, because no policeman, either flippantly or good 721 humouredly or in any other way has got the right to threaten a journalist, and if one could identify the man certainly I would see that he was adequately punished. Mr. MacGregor represents the "Evening News," which is a journal of great independence and is certainly not a supporter of the present Government, and he writes:I was then able to get a quiet word with the sergeant. He was a cool, manly, resolute fellow, who apparently wished to explain and make some amends for the violent language of some of the other members of the party.'You understand,' he said, 'that up to Sunday night we were at peace here, but they've declared war on us.'Speaking with deep feeling, he then went over the list of his comrades who had been stealthily assassinated.'We are all loyal men here and all true blue. We fought in the War, and I have the Military Medal, but they've declared war on us, and I suppose war it must be.'War it will be until assassination stops for ever. There can be no mistake about that. [HON. MEMBERS: "War on women?"] Not war on women. I want to quote one other statement by Mr. MacGregor. He says:I am emphatically of opinion that there is no organised or official plan to obstruct English pressmen in Ireland.That is from the gentleman who was with Mr. Hugh Martin. If there is anything I have to say in conclusion it is this: I can assure Mr. Hugh Martin that he can sleep every night in any bed he likes in Ireland. He said mean and inaccurate things of the police, but they will stand guard over him, and they will let him say what he likes about them. He is as safe in Ireland as he would be in Fleet Street, no matter what he says; and Mr. Martin or any other pressman will be welcome to Ireland, whatever his own political views or the policy or views of the paper he represents. I know some of the difficulties of pressmen. I will do everything I can to help them to carry on their difficult duties in Ireland at this particular time.
Let me load the House back to some of the cruel realities of the present situation. Since our last Debate on 25th October there have been 24 policemen murdered and 32 policemen wounded. In the last two weeks alone there have been five widows and 17 orphans made by the assassination of policemen. The general condition of Ireland, in my opinion, is improving. The total number of general 722 outrages is rapidly diminishing. The number of murders is increasing. It may increase still further, because the policy of the Government is to assert the authority of the Crown and to pursue these assassins wherever they may be. In that pursuit brave men will be sacrificed, but the men are brave enough to go through with it. They certainly will have my support in their courageous endeavours. The hon. Member (Mr. O'Connor) says he wants a way out. We all want a way out. No body wants assassination; nobody wants what are called reprisals. The way out cannot be found until the murder gang stops from murdering. I am convinced of that. I do not believe that this House or this country will ever make peace until murder is no more in Ireland. That does not condemn the Irish people. I have never associated the majority of the Irish people with this campaign of murder. I believe they loathe it. I believe that if they could be made articulate and could speak their minds they would help us not only to condemn it but to put it down. We have every information that they welcome the increasing energy of the soldiers and the police in stamping out this campaign.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
A lot has happened sine then. In several counties there is a ferocious campaign against the police. It is organised and armed. It is an attempt to intimidate this country into granting independence to Ireland, whether Ireland wants it or whether it does not. The duty of the Government is to defeat this campaign. Thanks to the bravery of the, police and the military, whose courage commands, I hope and think, the respect and support of this House, we are doing that. If this campaign is not stamped out it will spread to England.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
People will be encouraged to carry it on. It is our duty to make it unsuccessful. I hope the hon. 723 Member for Salford (Mr. Tillett) will assist.
§ Sir H. GREENWOOD
Are consequences, and not caused by the troops in Ireland. The best way to stop anything in the nature of reprisals is to stop this campaign of murder against the police and soldiers. The way out, in my mind, is for the whole House to help the Government to stop this campaign of outrages of all kinds, including reprisals. If we can—and I think we can—stamp out the murder of police and soldiers and loyal citizens what are called reprisals will automatically cease. When that time will come that is the way out for the Irish people, and the House would gladly welcome it because I hear the view expressed that there is no quarrel between the British people and the Irish people. The quarrel is in Ireland. It is not in England. The difficulties are Irish, they are not English. I hope we will all unite in helping Ireland to settle her troubles, and the first thing is to stamp out these assassinations which besmirch the name of that great country, and make a large progressive and happy settlement.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I detest the crimes of the cold blood murder of police and military as profoundly as any Member in this House, and I have done my best constantly to urge the Government, even before they became so active, to take every possible measure to protect their officials in the execution of their duty, and to punish the criminals. I am still profoundly of that opinion, and it is just because I hate crime that I loathe reprisals. I am quite sure this issue is one of vast importance. I recognise the immense heat which is aroused on both sides. I feel as much as anyone the horrible position of the police and soldiers. I recognise the difficulty of approaching any Irish question in that atmosphere with anything like impartiality or justice, but I do appeal to the House and to the Government not 724 to be led away by their justifiable feelings of indignation at the crimes which are committed against the police and soldiers, to say anything which condones or excuses reprisals, because reprisals are the negation of British justice and the destruction of British Empire and the destruction of British authority throughout the world. What do I mean by reprisals? I do not mean for a moment self defence or even precautionary shooting by the police such as the Chief Secretary has described. By reprisals, I mean what the word strictly and properly means, acts of unlawful violence committed by the armed forces of the Crown in revenge or punishment for outrages. I am quite sure that is a disastrous thing for the country, absolutely disastrous. It means unquestionably and inevitably that people who are absolutely innocent will suffer for the crimes of those who are guilty. It has meant that, I believe, in Ireland already—must mean it. I am sufficient of an Englishman to believe that it is of greater importance that one innocent man should be protected from punishment rather than that 10 guilty men should escape. I believe that is axiomatic, profound political wisdom, and I believe it is only by upholding that to the utmost, and still more when the difficulties are great, that you have any hope of coping successfully with the shocking condition in which Ireland is at the present moment. I do not wish to make any attack on the police or the soldiers in connection with reprisals. Heaven knows the trials and difficulties under which they carry out their duties are sufficient to excuse any errors they may commit. I make no attack on the police. I make no attack on the soldiers. Their case may be blameworthy or it may be culpable, but it is not for us sitting calmly in this House to judge men who are acting under difficulties and are facing them. Our concern here is not with them, but with the Government. The question really is—and I do beseech the Government to face it, because whatever may be the atmosphere of this House, it is a question that is being urgently asked, not over this country, but all over the world—how far are the Government responsible? What have they done, did they ever do anything to encourage reprisals, did they set on foot this policy? These are the 725 questions which people are asking. The right hon. Gentleman really cannot disregard them. There is the long continuance of these things, beginning months ago; there are the rumours which were then current, and which I know were brought to the knowledge of the Government, that reprisals such as I have denned were being carried out, not by the uncontrollable fury of the men who were driven past all self-control, but by superior orders. Rumours of that kind were prevalent. It is universally believed, I am told, in the South of Ireland that this is so. You may say, "Well, such odd things are believed in the South of Ireland." I do not put it higher than that, but I do put it that these were warnings to the Government very carefully to look into it and consider exactly what they were doing and saying. Then there is the use, constantly reported— they may be lies, of course—of military and police lorries and Government stores. How does that happen if it is done without any permission by superior authority? Then there are what I can only describe—I regret to have to doit—as the perfunctory inquiries which appear to have been carried out into many of these cases. My right hon. Friend has explained that they are inquiries by the district inspector or something of that kind, just making such inquiries as he can. I do not believe that can get at the truth of what actually happens, and it has not got at the truth. Let me remind my right hon. Friend of the case of the creameries. We remember his coming down and saying there was not a tittle of evidence anywhere that any single man of the armed forces had been engaged in the destruction of the creameries. That is not so. When he said that, there had been an actual compensation case tried in which it had been sworn positively that a particular creamery had been burned by the armed forces of the Crown. I saw the Secretary of the co-operative movement, a gentleman as far removed from b[...]ing a Sinn Feiner as the right hon. Gentleman himself, and he assured me, and gave me a paper, which I have not had time to read. This is what he says, after examining a number of statements on the subject:The cumulative effect on the mind of any person investigating these cases is that, with the slight possibility of exception in a very few, they were committed by uniformed men, usually police, using military lorries, 726 that they were deliberate acts of incendiarism, and that they were reprisals for something that had been done.against the Government which they do Yet my right hon. Friend, acting on the information which he obtained from his inquiries, came here and said there was not a tittle of evidence (and no doubt it was quite right as far as the inquiries-proved) that these acts were committed by armed forces of the Crown. These things indicate there has been a slackness in dealing with reprisals.
On the top of that, there have been express and deliberate statements made as-long ago as the 2nd October that in fact these acts were authorised by a meeting of Ministers. Hon. Members may jeer, but if they know anything of the newspaper press of this country they will know that that statement was made by a perfectly serious and responsible organ. That has been repeated in a number of other newspapers, probably, I agree, all hostile to the Government. In the minds of some hon. Members, there is no such thing as a reputable newspaper unless it supports the Government. But speech after speech is delivered by Ministers of the Crown, and there is no denial. The Prime Minister went down to Carnarvon after this statement had been made. A letter is written after that by Lord Grey and myself to the Press. We call attention to the charge and there follows a speech by the Secretary of State for War. There is no denial. There are speeches made in this House by several Ministers, and there are speeches made in the other House. There is no denial. On the top of it all there is an absolute refusal of all inquiry. This seems to me a very serious state of things. I earnestly beg the Government, if they have a complete answer, to give it. I earnestly beg them, even at this stage, to permit an inquiry, even if it is only into the point, Were the Government in any way responsible for these reprisals? Do not let us mis-state the seriousness of this issue. If it is really a true charge that the Government has connived at or authorised reprisals, it is the greatest blow that, in my recollection, has been struck at the whole structure of the British Empire. The British Empire rests, not on force, But on justice. We cannot maintain it by force. Nothing can be maintained by force. It depends entirely on justice and the moral authority of this country; and, if that is 727 infringed, if that is attacked by the action of the Government, or even by charges against the Government which they do not refute, or take any possible means of refuting—
§ House and on the Government that this matter cannot be left where it is. If it is left where it is, then a serious risk will be run to the greatest interests of this country and of humanity at large.
§ Question put, "That this House do now adjourn."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 51; Noes, 133.727
|Division No. 350.]||AYES.||[10.59 p.m.|
|Bell, James (Lancaster, Ormskirk)||Johnstone, Joseph||Sitch, Charles H.|
|Bromfield, William||Jones, J. J. (West Ham, Silvertown)||Smith, W. R. (Wellingborough)|
|Cairns, John||Kenworthy, Lieut.-Commander J. M.||Spoor, B. C.|
|Cape, Thomas||Kiley, James D.||Swan, J. E.|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Lord R. (Hitchin)||Maclean, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Midlothian)||Terrell, Captain R. (Oxford, Henley)|
|Davies, A (Lancaster, Clitheroe)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Thomas, Rt. Hon. James H. (Derby)|
|Davies, Alfred Thomas (Lincoln)||Mills, John Edmund||Thomas, Brig.-Gen. Sir O. (Anglesey)|
|Davies, Major D. (Montgomery)||Morgan, Major D. Watts||Tillett, Benjamin|
|Davison, J. E. (Smethwick)||Mosley, Oswald||Wignall, James|
|Devlin, Joseph||Myers, Thomas||Williams, Aneurin (Durham, Consett)|
|Edwards, C (Monmouth, Bedwellty)||Newbould, Alfred Ernest||Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough, E.)|
|Edwards, G. (Norfolk, South)||O'Connor, Thomas P.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Stourbridge)|
|Galbraith, Samuel||Parkinson, John Allen (Wigan)||Wintringham, T.|
|Graham, R. (Nelson and Colne)||Raffan, Peter Wilson||Wood, Major M. M. (Aberdeen, C.)|
|Graham, W. (Edinburgh, Central)||Robertson, John||Young, W. (Perth & Kinross, Perth)|
|Griffiths, T. (Monmouth, Pontypool)||Royce, William Stapleton||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Guest, J. (York, w. R., Hemsworth)||Shaw, Thomas (Preston)||Mr. Tyson Wilson and Mr. Neil|
|Hayward, Major Evan||Short, Alfred (Wednesbury)||Maclean.|
|Addison, Rt. Hon. Dr. C.||Grant, James A.||O'Neill, Major Hon. Robert W. H.|
|Agg-Gardner, Sir James Tynte||Gray, Major Ernest (Accrington)||Parker, James|
|Ainsworth, Captain Charles||Grayson, Lieut.-Colonel Sir Henry||Parry, Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Henry|
|Allen, Lieut.-Colonel William James||Green, Joseph F. (Leicester, W.)||Pease, Rt. Hon. Herbert Pike|
|Amery, Lieut.-Col. Leopold C. M. S.||Greenwood, Colonel Sir Hamar||Perkins, Walter Frank|
|Baird, Sir John Lawrence||Greenwood, William (Stockport)||Pairing, William George|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Greig, Colonel James William||Pratt, John William|
|Balfour, George (Hampstead)||Gretton, Colonel John||Purchase, H. G.|
|Banbury, Rt. Hon. Sir Frederick G.||Henderson, Major V. L. (Tradeston)||Rankin, Captain James S.|
|Bennett, Thomas Jewell||Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)||Raw, Lieutenant-Colonel N.|
|Betterton, Henry B.||Higham, Charles Frederick||Reid, D. D.|
|Blades, Capt. Sir George Rowland||Hinds, John||Remer, J. R.|
|Berwick, Major G. O.||Holbrook, Sir Arthur Richard||Renwick, George|
|Boyd Carpenter, Major A.||Hope, James F. (Sheffield, Central)||Samuel, A. M. (Surrey, Farnham)|
|Brassey, Major H. L. C.||Hopkinson, A. (Lancaster. Mossley)||Samuel, Samuel (W'dsworth, Putney)|
|Breese, Major Charles E.||Inskip, Thomas Walker H.||Sanders, Colonel Sir Robert A.|
|Brittain, Sir Harry||Jodrell, Neville Paul||Scott, A. M. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Brown, Captain D. C.||Jones, Sir Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Seager, Sir William|
|Bruton, Sir James||Jones, J. T. (Carmarthen, Llanelly)||Seddon, J. A.|
|Buchanan, Lieut.-Colonel A. L. H.||Joynson-Hicks, Sir William||Shortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T.)|
|Buckley, Lieut-Colonel A.||King, Captain Henry Dougias||Sprot, Colonel Sir Alexander|
|Burn, T. H. (Belfast, St. Anne's)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Stevens, Marshall|
|Carew, Charles Robert S.||Law, Alfred J. (Rochdaie)||Strauss, Edward Anthony|
|Carr, W. Theodore||Law, Rt. Hon. A. B. (Glasgow, C.)||Sturrock, J. Leng|
|Cecil, Rt. Hon. Evelyn (Birm., Aston)||Lewis, Rt. Hon. J. H. (Univ., Wales)||Sugden, W. H.|
|Chamberlain, N. (Birm., Ladywood)||Lewis, T. A. (Glam., Pontypridd)||Sutherland, Sir William|
|Colfox, Major Wm. Phillips||Lindsay, William Arthur||Thomas-Stanford, Charles|
|Colvin, Brig.-General Richard Beale||Lloyd, George Butler||Thomson, Sir W. Mitchell- (Maryhill)|
|Coote, William (Tyrone, South)||Lort-Williams, J.||Thorpe, Captain John Henry|
|Cory, Sir J. H. (Cardiff, South)||Loseby, Captain C. E.||Walters, Rt. Hon. Sir John Tudor|
|Davies, Thomas (Cirencester)||Lynn, R. J.||Ward, Col. L. (Kingston-upon-Hull)|
|Davison, Sir W. H. (Kensington, S.)||M'Curdy, Rt. Hon. C. A.||Ward, William Dudley (Southampton)|
|Edge, Captain William||Macquisten, F. A.||Waring, Major Walter|
|Edwards, Allen C. (East Ham, S.)||Marriott, John Arthur Ransome||Whitla, Sir William|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter E. (Lanark)||Mason, Robert||Wild, Sir Ernest Edward|
|Fell, Sir Arthur||Mitchell, William Lane||Williams, Lieut.-Com. C. (Tavistock)|
|Ford, Patrick Johnston||Moles, Thomas||Wilson, Daniel M. (Down, West)|
|Forestier-Walker, L.||Molson, Major John Eisdale||Wilson, Colonel Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Forrest, Walter||Moore-Brabazon, Lieut.-Col. J. T. C.||Wilson-Fox, Henry|
|Foxcroft, Captain Charles Talbot||Moreing, Captain Algernon H.||Winterton, Major Earl|
|Fraser, Major Sir Keith||Nall, Major Joseph||Wise. Frederick|
|Fremantie, Lieut.-Colonel Francis E.||Neal, Arthur||Wood, Sir H. K. (Woolwich, West)|
|Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham||Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. L. (Exeter;||Worthington-Evans, Rt. Hon. Sir L.|
|Gilmour, Lieut-Colonel John||Norris, Colonel Sir Henry G.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Goff, Sir R. Park||Oman, Sir Charles William C.||Lord E. Talbot and Captain Guest.|