THE EARL OF DUNRAVEN
My Lords, I rise to move the Motion which stands in my name; and, in doing so, I desire to say that I have no personal feeling whatever to induce me to mention the case involved in this question. I have not had the honour and pleasure of Lord Rossmore's acquaintance until the other day; and I am bound to say that I was very pleased and proud to make his acquaintance, because I think, especially in these times, it is a privilege to know a man who does not shrink from responsibility, and has the courage to take responsibility upon himself for the public good. On the other hand, I should be glad if personal feeling would have allowed me to pass this matter over in silence, because I have great respect for the present Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, both in his official capacity, and as a private individual. My reluctance has been somewhat increased by the fact that the papers dealing with the subject have been only this moment placed in my hands, and I have not had time to examine them with any care whatever. But, as far as I can see, they make no change whatever in our knowledge of the facts as already published; and, therefore, I do not feel justified in postponing the Motion or interfering with the convenience of the House by my doing so. The case appears to me to be an exceedingly simple one; but, at the 1119 same time—if it be not a paradox to say so—rather complicated. It is simple in itself, but has been made complicated by the fact that Lord Rossmore, rather foolishly, I think, entered into totally unnecessary explanations of his conduct; and the remarks made by the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal, which appear to me to have nothing whatever to do with the case, have also complicated it very much. The offence which Lord Rossmore is said to have committed is that of having led a body of men into such close proximity with another body of men, congregated for another purpose, as to render imminent a breach of the peace; and it is said that he did this after being warned by the constituted authorities, who are responsible for keeping the peace. That is, practically, the whole charge made against the noble Lord, and that is the offence for which he was removed from the Commission of the Peace. That is abundantly shown in the first letter to Lord Rossmore, written by the Lords Commissioners; in the second letter, by which Lord Rossmore was superseded; and in a letter to Sir John Leslie, from the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal. In the first letter, the Lords Commissioners say—Whilst considerable excitement prevailed, your Lordship, heading a procession of large numbers of men moving towards the second or counter-meeting, led that procession into such close proximity to the place of the first-mentioned meeting as to seriously endanger the public peace; that your Lordship was remonstrated with in the first instance by Sub-Inspector Trescott, one of the Constabulary officers then charged with the preservation of the public peace, and was requested by that officer to adopt another route," &c.They go on to say—That soon afterwards your Lordship, pursuing the route you insisted on following, and by which you were leading your procession, was again remonstrated with and warned by Captain M'Ternan, the Resident Magistrate, then also charged with the preservation of the public peace, to alter that route, so as to avoid the risk of collision between the men forming your Lordship's procession and those assembled at the first-mentioned meeting; and that your Lordship refused so to do, persevering in the route you had selected.That shows, plainly, that the complaint against Lord Rossmore was that he followed the route he was requested not to take. The same charge appears to have been made in the second letter of the 1120 Lords Commissioners, in which they say—Your Lordship admits the facts mentioned in their letter as substantially correct, and those facts plainly show that your Lordship, on the day in question, took a leading and active part in a proceeding which was fraught with peril to the public peace. This in your Lordship's letter stands conceded—nay, further, it appears from that letter, with the fullest knowledge of an almost certain danger and risk to the public peace, you deliberately headed and led a determined and excited procession into the immediate vicinity of the meeting to which you and your procession were opposed.In another letter, a letter to Sir John Leslie, the Lords Commissioners say—Lord Rossmore was the leader on the occasion in question; and, after it had come to his Lordship's knowledge that the men he headed would insist on proceeding by the route which other portions of the procession afterwards followed, he continued to lead his men to the point most truly described by you as the most critical point, where the circuitous route diverged," &c.Therefore, it is perfectly plain that the charge against Lord Rossmore was that he insisted upon taking his men to Rosslea by a road which he was requested by the Sub-Inspector and the Resident Magistrate not to take. But in the quotation from the second letter I want to call your Lordships' attention to a most extraordinary complication introduced by the Lords Commissioners. The Lords Commissioners say that Lord Rossmore admits certain facts mentioned in their letter as substantially correct, and that—Those facts plainly show that your Lordship, on the day in question, took a leading and active part in a proceeding which was fraught with peril to the public peace.I want to know, if the offence charged is the taking a road which Lord Rossmore was requested not to go, what are the facts to which the Lords Commissioners allude as to something which occurred previously, because it is very difficult to understand whether the real offence is the offence he is accused of committing, or whether, behind that, there is some other charge which the Lords Commissioners have taken into consideration without having mentioned it to Lord Rossmore? My Lords, the issue is only a very narrow and simple one. It consists in the fact whether Lord Rossmore maintained this particular route contrary to the advice of the proper authorities. I would ask your Lordships' 1121 attention to the words which are used, and which I have already read. They say that Sub-Inspector Trescott "requested" Lord Rossmore to adopt a certain course; that the Resident Magistrate "remonstrated with" and "warned" Lord Rossmore about certain things. But, my Lords, as your Lordships know very well, the Resident Magistrate was in a position of complete authority; he had the power to order Lord Rossmore to do anything he thought right. He would have had that power had Lord Rossmore been acting in his official capacity as a magistrate. He was not acting in that capacity; he was not in his own county; he was acting in a mere private capacity; and, therefore, the Resident Magistrate and the Sub-Inspector had a right to compel Lord Rossmore not to adopt the course which he wished to follow. They say in the Papers that they had not force enough to do so; but it does not appear, even in those Papers, that they distinctly forbade Lord Rossmore to take that course. I must repeat it, because it is most important, that the words used by the Lords Commissioners are that he was "requested" not to do so by the Sub-Inspector, and that he was "remonstrated with" and "warned" by the Resident Magistrate. That is not the kind of language the Sub-Inspector or the Resident Magistrate ought to have used. They were in a position of complete authority, and they ought to have said that they forbade Lord Rossmore to adopt that course, and they ought to have stopped him and prevented him from doing so, if possible. Lord Rossmore's answer is a very simple one. He declares that, practically speaking, he had permission to take the road which he took. He says that he asked Sub-Inspector Trescott if he had authority to stop him, and that the Sub-Inspector said "No," he had not authority to stop him; but that he advised him to follow the course that Viscount Crichton had taken. Lord Rossmore also says that the Resident Magistrate gave him permission to go on, provided he undertook to keep the peace. I see, by the Papers, that that statement is not borne out by the testimony of the Resident Magistrate; but it is borne out by the testimony of other persons present—by Mr. Saunderson, who most distinctly supports Lord Rossmore's view of the case; and 1122 by Sir John Leslie, a magistrate for Monaghan and Donegal and High Sheriff of Monaghan. Lord Rossmore's contention is, that he had practically permission to go the way he took under certain conditions. That view, as I have said, is borne out by Mr. Saunderson and Sir John Leslie, and also by Mr. Porter, J.P. of Longford and High Sheriff of Fermanagh. It is therefore a question of conflict of testimony, and there are the strongest reasons, therefore, why no action should have been taken in the matter until strict inquiry had been made. You must bear in mind also the words that were made use of by the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal. They say—That words might have been used which Lord Rossmore might have uaderstood to mean that he had permission.Well, there is very little difference, in common sense, between the contention of Lord Rossmore that he was given permission, and the allegation of the Commissioners that words may have been used which were liable to misconstruction, and which he may have considered gave him permission to go on. Perhaps I had better quote the exact words which the Lords Commissioners used on that occasion. Although I do not want to weary the House with many extracts and quotations, it is necessary to be as exact as possible. The Lords Commissioners said—They are witling to believe that some expressions used at the moment may have led your Lordship to think that no opposition would be offered to your persevering in the route you had been following; but your Lordship must have been then aware that you had brought your procession of excited followers into such close proximity to the meeting you were opposed to that it might have been a more prudent course to allow you to go on than to attempt to repel your advance by force, even if Captain M'Ternan had the means of doing so, which, as a matter of fact, he had not. A permission of that kind, even if actually accorded, could by no means excuse the deliberate action theretofore taken by your Lordship.The last sentence of those which I have quoted appears to me a most extraordinary one. According to the Lords Commissioners, the permission of a man in authority, whose power of control was complete, could not excuse the action taken by Lord Rossmore. Your Lordships must bear in mind that Lord Rossmore did not act as a magistrate at that meeting, and was beyond the range 1123 of the jurisdiction which he could exercise as a magistrate. Therefore, what the Lords Commissioners say is that a permission given to a private individual by a Resident Magistrate, responsible for keeping the peace and in command in a certain place, was no excuse for action such as Lord Rossmore's, and did not relieve him from responsibility—that is to say, that a responsible person is not responsible for the action of a private individual to whom he has given permission to follow a certain course. Now, that is a monstrous and extraordinary doctrine to put forward. The Lords Commissioners allow that Lord Rossmore might have understood Captain M'Ternan's words as giving him permission to persevere in the route which he had been following. Therefore, the issue is narrowed down to a still smaller compass. The question is, whether Lord Rossmore took a certain road on the understanding that he had permission to take that road, the Lords Commissioners allowing that the words used to him were capable of being taken in that sense. The charge against Lord Rossmore is thus whittled down until its proportions are almost absurdly small. It comes to be a mere question of whether Lord Rossmore committed a slight error of judgment; whether he may have misunderstood certain words addressed to him; and whether on that misunderstanding he was guilty of an error of judgment. Now, my Lords, I want you to consider the position in which Lord Rossmore was placed, and to compare it with the position of other Gentlemen on the same occasion—Viscount Crichton, for example, who took the chair at the meeting, or would have taken the chair if there had been one to take. Viscount Crichton led a body of Orangemen some distance in front of the body led by Lord Rossmore; but he was communicated with by the Resident Magistrate, I believe, on the day before the meeting, and was told that the places of the two meetings had been changed, and he was recommended to take the circuitous route which he adopted. He was again spoken to on the day of the meeting; and he was, therefore, perfectly well aware that the places of meeting had been changed; he understood that it was advisable to take this road, and he had an opportunity of explaining the matter to the 1124 men under his charge. Now none of these precautions were taken in the case of Lord Rossmore. He did not know that the place of meeting had been changed, and he had not the slightest idea that, by following the straight road, he would come into close proximity with the Nationalist meeting, and he had no opportunity of explaining the position of affairs to his men. The result was that when he was first stopped by Sub-Inspector Trescott, he was obliged to take one of two courses—either to follow the advice that was given him, and so go by a circuitous road to the place of meeting, and thus relieve himself of all responsibility; or to go on with his men, to take the responsibility of events upon himself, and, if possible, to prevent a breach of the peace. If he had gone himself by a circuitous route, without his men, who expressed their determination to go on by the straight road, they would have been freed from all control, and the consequences might have been most lamentable. I have not the smallest doubt that, in taking the course which he did take, in pursuing his way with his men, and sticking by them, and influencing them by his presence, Lord Rossmore took the only wise course open to him, and that by that action he did prevent a breach of the peace. At the most, therefore, Lord Rossmore was guilty of an error of judgment, and that error of judgment has been punished by a most severe sentence; because, as your Lordships are well aware, that to remove a magistrate from the Commission of the Peace is a step that has never been taken except in the gravest cases. It has scarcely ever been done, as far as I can ascertain, except in cases where there has been a dereliction of duty by a magistrate, sitting on the Bench as a magistrate. The cases are very rare where a magistrate has been removed for conduct not connected with his judicial functions. There are, however, a few cases, of which I will mention one or two. There is, first, the very famous case in which Lord Ffrench, and 60 other magistrates, were removed from the Commission of the Peace in 1843. That was the time when the Repeal agitation was at its height. The Government determined to stop the attendance of Justices of the Peace at the monster meetings. In consequence of that determination, 1125 a statement was made by a Minister in the House, intimating that it was the determination of the Government to uphold the Union, and that it was impossible to allow Justices of the Peace who should attend monster meetings to remain magistrates. Lord Ffrench, and other Justices of the Peace, thereupon sent to the Irish Government an intimation that, notwithstanding the dictum of the Minister, they would continue to attend the Repeal meetings, and the result was, that Lord Ffrench and 60 other magistrates were dismissed from the Bench, and the reason stated in the House of Lords was that, in case of a breach of the peace, there could be no confidence in magistrates who attended and promoted what were unconstitutional and illegal meetings, which would be likely to lead to outrage. Now, this case is very different from that of Lord Rossmore; for these magistrates attended meetings which were unconstitutional and illegal, and insisted upon attending them in spite of declarations by Ministers of the Crown that they were not to do so. Then, I will return to the case of Mr. Parnell, who remained a Justice of the Peace after he had given utterance to sentiments of a very peculiar nature. Your Lordships will remember Mr. Parnell's famous speech, in which he explained the reasons why he divested himself of his coat. In that speech, which was delivered in 1880, he said—He would not have taken off his coat and gone to that work, if he had not known that he was laying the foundation in that movement for the regeneration of legislative independence in Ireland.Then he said, at Cincinnatti, on February 23, 1880—When we have undermined English misgovernment, we have paved the way for Ireland to take her place amongst the nations of the earth. Let us not forget that that is the ultimate goal at which all we Irishmen aim. None of us, whether we be in America or in Ireland, will be satisfied until we have destroyed the last link which keeps Ireland bound to England.Now, that is the question of absolute separation, and not simply of Home Rule, and yet after such an utterance as that Mr. Parnell was not removed from the Bench, but remained a Justice of the Peace. We have, with reference to Mr. Parnell, very strong expressions of opinion on the part of the Prime Minister. 1126 Speaking at Leeds on October 7, 1881, he said—I take as the representative of the opinions I denounce a Gentleman of considerable ability, Mr. Parnell; but, while I admit that he is a man of considerable ability, I say his doctrines are not such as require any very considerable ability to recommend them. If you go on a mission to demoralize a people by teaching them to make the property of their neighbours the object of their covetous desires, it does not require a superhuman gift to find a certain number of followers and adherents for a doctrine like that.I take it, my Lords, that—To go on a mission to demoralize a people by teaching them to make the property of their neighbours the object of their covetous desires,amounts to teaching the people that robbery is a legitimate occupation; and yet, though the Prime Minister thus explained Mr. Parnell's mission, that Gentleman was not at that time removed from the Commission of the Peace. The Prime Minister goes on to say in the same speech—Now that there is danger lest the people of England should win the hearts of the Irish nation, Mr. Parnell has a new and enlarged gospel of plunder to proclaim.Yet, though this magistrate was, according to the Prime Minister, proclaiming a doctrine of plunder, he was not on that account removed from the Bench. It was not until Mr. Parnell was lodged in Kilmainham Gaol for being reasonably suspected of committing certain crimes that he was removed from the Commission of the Peace. My Lords, it appears to me a monstrous thing to visit what was at most an indiscretion on the part of Lord Rossmore—to visit that without inquiry, immediately, with a punishment of the gravest character, which was not inflicted on Mr. Parnell until he had for months and years proclaimed a doctrine of plunder, according to the Prime Minister, and until, according to other Ministers, he was marching through rapine and blood towards the dismemberment of the Empire. There is one more case to which I will allude—the case of Lord Roden. That also occurred some time ago. On July 12, 1848, the grounds of Lord Roden's park, in County Down, had been appointed the rendezvous of a great Orange meeting. Lord Roden took part in the meeting, and used his influence to prevent the Orangemen from disturbing the peace. Notwithstanding 1127 this, on the way back through Dolly's Brae there was a serious breach of the peace and loss of life. Lord Roden sat at Petty Sessions to hear applications for informations against certain Orangemen, and with five of the Justices of the Peace present, refused them, after inquiry. After the inquiry a letter was sent by the Under Secretary. Mr. Redington, to the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, recommending the dismissal of Lord Roden, and showing—That Lord Roden had attended the Petty Sessions in his magisterial capacity, had taken part in the proceedings, made a speech on the subject, and voted with the majority of the magistrates in refusing to take informations.Then more is said of the matter; but the important point is, that Lord Roden was removed, with five other magistrates, because he had refused to take informations against men who were at the meeting at which he was present, while sitting in his official capacity on the Bench. I would call your Lordships' attention to the fact that that is an entirely different case to the one in question. Although I can understand that certain action in private is necessary to make a man fitted to assume the functions of a magistrate, and that certain action on his part is necessary in order to enable him to continue the exercise of those functions, yet I do say there ought to be a most distinct line drawn between the action of a magistrate in his private capacity, and his action when sitting on the Bench and exercising his official functions. In this case of Lord Rossmore there appears to be no difference made whatever; and even if Lord Rossmore had been exercising the functions of a magistrate, the punishment imposed upon him was not only incommensurate, but infinitely larger than that applied in any of the other cases I have mentioned. Now, my Lords, in all these cases your Lordships should not forget that deprivation followed after strict inquiry, and not before. That is really the whole case. The great danger in this matter appears to be this—that the case of Lord Ross-more in itself is so utterly small, so entirely flimsy, that it is impossible for the public not to believe that there must be some hidden motive. I do not for one moment suppose that such is the case, for I am quite certain that there is the utmost confidence placed in the impartiality 1128 of the Irish Executive. I am convinced that this great injustice and this great error is entirely the result of the most, injudicious action of the Irish Law Officers. But I doubt whether the public hold that opinion. The case is so infinitely small that I am assured that the public out-of-doors, and certainly the public in Ireland, are of opinion that there was some hidden motive, something which has not appeared in this matter, which really has been the cause of Lord Rossmore's dismissal from the Bench. Some of the remarks of the Lords Commissioners are of a most extraordinary character. Lord Rossmore, in his first letter, takes the trouble to enter upon some explanation of his conduct in organizing the meeting. I think he was very foolish to do so, because it was entirely unnecessary. The Lords Commissioners also thought it was unnecessary. They say—It must he obvious to your Lordship that you were not called upon to give any explanation of the holding of a counter-demonstration on the day in question. Loyal subjects of the Crown can, if they so think fit, hold their meetings to protest against what they may deem to he sedition and disloyalty, or to assert their views in a legitimate manner upon any public question; but in so doing they must not either assail a meeting of those whose views they think objectionable, or hold their counter-meeting in such close proximity thereto as to provoke or render imminent the risk of a hostile collision.I can state that Lord Rossmore was perfectly justified in holding this meeting, and in organizing a counter-demonstration. But the Lords Commissioners say—They must not either assail a meeting of those whose views they think objectionable, or hold their counter meeting in close proximity thereto.Lord Rossmore had nothing to do with that. He did not assail any counter-meeting, nor did anyone connected with him assail such a meeting. He had nothing to do with the meeting, more than any other individual there, after taking his men to Rosslea. Lord Crichton assumed the control of the meeting. Lord Rossmore had nothing to do with stating the place of the meeting any more than I had. I do not know who fixed the original site of the meeting; but the original site was changed, and changed by the local authorities, and they are responsible for the meetings being held close to one another. Then 1129 I say that neither Lord Rossmore nor the men who were with him undertook to assail any meeting on that day. Then the Lords Commissioners used a very extraordinary expression in replying to Lord Rossmore's statement that he had Captain M'Ternan's permission to go on. The Lords Commissioners say—Your Lordship, however, mentions as an incident of your interview with Captain M'Ternan that you had his permission to go along the same route you were pursuing. The Lords Commissioners have thought it right to obtain Captain M'Ternan's additional Report as to your Lordship's statement upon this point. That Report, unfortunately, cannot be easily reconciled with your Lordship's statement; but their Lordships do not think it necessary to pursue this conflict of recollection any further.Now, it will be seen that the Lords Commissioners have treated this matter as an unimportant incident; whereas it is a most important incident, because the whole responsibility of Lord Rossmore depends upon whether he got permission or whether he did not, or whether he understood that he got permission when it was not given him. And yet the Lords Commissioners go on to say that they do not think it necessary "to pursue this conflict of recollection any further." It was most important to Lord Rossmore that it should be pursued further, and that the whole matter should be settled by holding a strict and impartial inquiry. Then there is another matter. Lord Rossmore was absolutely exonerated by the Lords Commissioners for everything except taking the wrong road. But they say, referring to the permission given to him—A permission of that kind, even if actually accorded, could by no means excuse the deliberate action taken by your Lordship, which, as is fully manifested by your Lordship's letter of the 19th instant, as well as your published letter therein referred to, had at the very moment brought about a very dangerous and almost fatal crisis.Then comes a remark which is most important—And which in your Lordship's letter you seem quite ready to repeat upon any similar occasion.Now, I have read Lord Rossmore's letter; and taking it sentence by sentence, word by word, and letter by letter, I defy any human being to see anything in it to justify anyone in contending that Lord Rossmore expressed a determination to commit on another 1130 occasion the fault with which he was charged—that is, taking the wrong road—taking the road he was recommended not to take. What he said he would do again was to organize a counter-meeting of loyal men in opposition to what he termed a rebel meeting. That they distinctly say he has a right to do; but the Commissioners have gone on a totally different issue, and say that he has declared his intention to commit upon another occasion that which they have charged him with committing. It is, I say, utterly impossible to see any intention of that kind expressed in Lord Rossmore's letter. Now, my Lords, the crime or accusation against Lord Rossmore is confined within the strict charge of taking the wrong road. In a letter of Sir John Leslie's there is a most extraordinary sentence—The grounds of Lord Rossmore being superseded in the Commission of the Peace are plainly disclosed in the hitter of the Lords Commissioners to him on the 24th of October. They are not based upon his taking part in the organization, or holding a counter-meeting; but rest upon the fact that he, as leader of a determined and excited procession, being a magistrate, committed an act highly calculated to endanger the public peace by leading that procession into the immediate vicinity of the meeting to which it was opposed.That clearly states the case against Lord Rossmore. But the letter goes on to say—It by no means follows that your acquiescence in Lord Rossmore's decision to go forward, even at the critical point you mention, involves you in the same degree of responsibility, which must always be estimated as it affects individuals by the entire circumstances of their conduct before, during, and after any given transaction.That, my Lords, appears to be a most extraordinary statement, because it amounts to this—you make a certain specific charge against Lord Rossmore, or any other individual, and he replies; and then you say—"We are going to judge, convict, and punish him, not on that account, but in reference to things which he has done before, and things which he has done after the event." That, it seems to me, is utterly subversive of the first principles of justice; and I think it is the duty of every Englishman to protest against such a course of action. A man brought up before a Bench may have previous convictions proved against him, and his previous 1131 character may be mentioned; but be always has an opportunity of clearing himself. Lord Rossmore had no such opportunity. He was rebuked for justifying his conduct at the meeting, and then his action in taking the wrong road was judged by what he had done before and what he had done after. There is another disingenuous and most extraordinary charge made in this letter. The Lords Commissioners say that Lord Rossmore, having been remonstrated with by Sub-Inspector Trescott, and requested to take another route, which the Inspector pointed out, still continued to lead his followers by the route they were pursuing, and took them into such close proximity to the other meeting that a breach of the peace was well nigh brought about. But Lord Rossmore states, in his letter to the newspapers, that the facts were the other way. In speaking of the stone-throwing he says—This made it more difficult to prevent the storming of the hill on which the Parnellites were. But for strenuous efforts it would have been carried at a run, in spite of the military and police, and the consequences would have been frightful.I agree that in making their statement the Lords Commissioners thought they were stating what was perfectly accurate; but inquiry would have shown that danger was averted rather than caused by Lord Rossmore. The stone-throwing and the danger would have occurred just the same if he had gone by the road he was asked to take; it did not occur on the road, but it occurred after he had got to Rosslea. It would not have made a particle of difference if he had taken the road suggested to him. I do not believe the Commissioners knew what an unjust charge they were making in this statement; but to have made such a statement when it would have been cleared up by inquiry is a most monstrous thing. As it appears to me, Lord Rossmore is completely exonerated from the charge of having wilfully offended in taking the road he did. As regards any action taken by Lord Rossmore at the meeting, that really has nothing to do with the matter. If it has, the other magistrates who were at the meeting were equally guilty. An active part was taken by both Sir John Leslie and Mr. Porter, who are Justices of 1132 the Peace for two counties and High Sheriffs, and who identified themselves in every respect with what Lord Rossmore did. If Lord Rossmore was guilty in not having taken the road pointed out to him, I maintain that all the magistrates who were present, and all the magistrates of Ireland who have signed the protests, are equally implicated in the matter. As to this meeting I have little to say. I am not a member of the Orange Society; I have not the least sympathy with its Lodges. The noble Earl the Colonial Secretary commented upon my Liberalism, and mentioned the fact that I spoke from the Table. I quite recognize the authority of the noble Earl to criticize a change of political views; his criticism is valuable, because of his own experience of such change; but I maintain that my Liberalism in this matter is a far superior article to that of the noble Earl. I maintain the Liberal doctrine that every man is entitled to justice, in spite of any religious or political opinions. The noble Earl seems to think that a man's being an Orangeman puts him outside the pale of justice. The noble Earl said that I spoke from the Front Opposition Bench. I spoke from where I am now speaking—not from the Front Opposition Bench, but at the Table—on account of the peculiar acoustic properties of the House. In some parts of it it is difficult to be heard; in others it is almost impossible to hear. The noble Earl the Leader of the House ridicules sitting on the Cross Benches; I should like to see him there, or bringing the Cross Bench mind to bear firmly on foreign policy. Whether Orange meetings have been productive of danger to the peace is a matter which does not concern me; it concerns the Executive of Ireland. Whether there has been improper conduct, or improper language has been used by Orangemen, does not affect the question at all. If such has been the case, it has not been mentioned in the accusations against Lord Rossmore. But if such had been the case, I must point out that there has been very great provocation offered to the loyal men of the North of Ireland. I have no sympathy with Orangemen; I have the very greatest possible sympathy with loyal men; and I maintain that loyal men in the North of Ireland have had the greatest provocation. What 1133 occurred in Ulster in 1881, on the former invasion of Ulster by the Party who call themselves the Nationalist Party of Ireland? They have no right to that title. In speaking of that invasion, Mr. Trevelyan said, the other day, in the other House, in his speech on Mr. Parnell's Amendment—In 1881 the Gentlemen who were then the leading figures of the Land League and the present League went into Ulster to some purpose; and in 1881 the danger of crime following an invasion of Ulster was much greater than now, for the outrages committed then were five times more in number than those committed last year.That is pretty strong evidence, and should justify every loyal man in taking every means to prevent the second invasion of Ulster. They had had a lesson of what the consequences were, and they had before them the experience of the South of Ireland. The country had not forgotten the awful state of things that existed for months and years in Ireland; the horrible outrages and murders committed; the mutilation of cattle; and the men shot at and maimed, if not murdered outright. All this had been going on for months. Why? The Government did not see that law and order was maintained. I am quite willing to admit that after the Government gave up the idea that force was no remedy for such a state of things the country settled down; but I think that Ulster men may be excused for not wishing to see a repetition of this horrible state of things, the anarchy and the misery that were witnessed month after month in the South of Ireland. The object of the invasion by the so-called National Party was plain enough. Mr. Parnell attempted in the House of Commons to show that it was a Constitutional movement. If you will look at the resolutions passed at the Nationalist meetings you will see what its real objects were. I will read one or two of those that were passed. At Tipperary, on the 30th of September, 1883, it was resolved—That we proclaim the National independence of Ireland as our goal, and pledge ourselves to ceaseless and determined action till attained.We, then, call upon the people who have not as yet organized these districts under the banner of the Irish National League to do so at once, and fall into line with the grand onward march of Democracy, which is now wielding its powerful influence all the world over.1134 Mr. Arthur O'Connor, M.P., speaking at Maryborough on the 7th of October, 1883, said—The National cause was advancing, but they had not engaged in the land agitation in order that the farmers of Ireland might make money and grow rich, and like fat cattle be asleep and satisfied. These were only means to an end, and that end was the re-establishment of the people of Ireland as an independent nation.In all these utterances there is no question of Home Rule; it is the tearing away of Ireland from England that is contemplated. It is not in the least surprising that sensible men in the North of Ireland, who know well that the Union between Ireland and England is absolutely essential for Ireland, and that it is considered so necessary to England that the English people are determined it shall be maintained, are determined by any means in their power to prevent the preaching of what is called the Nationalist doctrine, seeing what is the end and object of that preaching, and seeing the horrible things to which it has given rise. Besides this, the Prime Minister has made strong speeches about the sluggishness of the loyal classes in Ireland. Speaking at Leeds on the 7th of October, 1881, he said—There is another misfortune in Ireland besides the fact that for the first time in our history these degrading and immoral doctrines are taught by men of education and men of respectable station to their social inferiors; and the other unhappy fact is the traditional sluggishness and incapability of the wealthier portion of society in Ireland to do anything whatever for themselves. In this country, if sentiments of this kind were to go forth and become in any degree dangerous to the public peace, the vast multitude of loyal citizens would exert themselves in support and aid of the office of the law. But no such thing as that is heard of in Ireland. I hope there will be a change in that respect. I am sure it is necessary. What is amazing and discouraging is that during the past 18 months no Irishman in Ireland has lifted up his voice to warn his countrymen, or to condemn the statement made by Mr. Parnell. There has been no meeting of any importance, no movement of any importance, and no expression of opinion in support of public law and public order. The upper class—the landowners—are silent, or are refugees, and their power is gone. There is no middle class there, as there is in England, to step forward to sustain the Government and to denounce the evil. A general cowardice seems to prevail among all the classes who possess property, and the Government is expected to preserve the peace with no moral force behind it. This is the secondary evil of Ireland, and until that evil is removed the condition of Ireland will not be thoroughly sound.1135 Well, my Lords, it goes on to say that I a general cowardice seems to prevail amongst all classes who possess property; and that the Government have no moral force behind them. Well, Ulster is the only part of Ireland where the landlord can dare to speak. If that is not the strongest invitation to them to express their views; if that is not the strongest invitation to the gentry who take a prominent position in these meetings; then I do not know how anybody can give a stronger invitation, or express it in stronger words. Now, my Lords, as far as I know—and I have looked into the matter—the Orangemen have, as a rule, behaved extremely well under great provocation. A great many things have been said to provoke them. Mr. Chamberlain, on the 15th of January last, at Newcastle, spoke in very hard terms of the Orangemen. He had been discussing what he calls the "Irish Leaders." He then goes on to say—What shall I say of those self-styled Loyalists, who, with fulsome professions of their devotion to the Crown, insult and defy the Representatives of the Crown in Ireland, and who break the law themselves, while they pretend to defend it? (Hear, hear.) I believe at this moment, if there is any danger to the peace in Ireland, it lies in the proceedings of a certain section of the population in Ulster, led by men of rank and by men of education, who know enough to know better (cheers), and who seem to have been stimulated into a burst of unreasoning ferocity by the mild eloquence of the Leader of the Opposition. (Laughter and cheers.) Well, between these opposing forces the Government will steer with an even keel.Well, my Lords, comparing that statement with Mr. Gladstone's, it is very hard to reconcile them. The Orange meetings, as far as I know, have been conducted with a great deal of order. I have met with no cases in which the Orangemen have endeavoured to hold meetings which were proclaimed, or endeavoured to evade the law in any way. They have conducted themselves, as a rule, in a way so orderly, in circumstances of great provocation, that they deserve the greatest credit. My Lords, one of my chief reasons for making this Motion is the reason which I have mentioned—the absurdly small character of the accusation. I am convinced that loyal men in Ireland think that there is something behind, and that some blow is being aimed against them. Of course, I do not for a moment believe that such an intention on the part of the Executive 1136 in Ireland exists. But it certainly is most lamentable that such an idea should get about in Ireland. Your Lordships must remember that the extension of loyal feeling in Ireland is the only alternative to ruling the country by Coercion Acts. You must coerce Ireland, or you must have a sufficient body of loyal men to enable the country to do with out Coercion Acts. It is a most lamentable thing that under the authority of the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal any discouragement should be offered to the loyal classes in Ireland. My Lords, I have digressed a little, because in this matter, as I said, it is impossible not to see more than lies in the accusation. But I want your Lordships to recall the real facts of the case before I sit down. The real accusation is that Lord Rossmore took a road which he was requested not to take, about which he was remonstrated with and warned. These are the words used by the Lord Chancellor. Your Lordships will further remember that Lord Boss-more said that he had permission to go by that road, and you will recollect that the Lord Chancellor acknowledged that words may have been used which Lord Rossmore was justified in thinking gave him permission. The whole question, therefore, is whether Lord Rossmore committed this slight error of judgment in taking this particular road. Recollect the position of Lord Rossmore. He had but one moment to decide. He knew perfectly well that if he left his men they would not be under any control. He decided in an instant, and, in my opinion, most timely, to remain with his men and control them, and take the position which a country gentleman ought to take by controlling the men who are with him. He succeeded in doing so; and remember that they came back by the other road—the road which had been indicated to him. These are the facts of the case, as far as I am able to trace them to your Lordships. As I said, I put down this Motion with considerable reluctance. I was reluctant to do so, because of the high opinion which I entertain for Lord Spencer. I have always tried, and always shall try, to do everything in my power to induce the public to uphold the authority of the Crown and the Executive in Ireland. But I do not see that on that account I am precluded from commenting, in the 1137 strongest terms, upon the ill-advised, and, as it appears to me, most unjust and iniquitous conduct of the Law Advisers of the Crown and the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal. The case may sometimes happen where one's private feelings must be put on one side. I will go further, and say that even if I thought the Executive were to blame in this matter, I should not think that a sufficient reason for holding my tongue; for I do not believe that any Executive, in any capacity, can be strengthened in the long run by allowing a great injustice to be done.
Moved to resolve—
That in the opinion of this House the removal of Lord Rossmore from the Commission of the Peace in Ireland was not justified by the facts of the case, and is calculated to discourage the loyal population of that portion of the United Kingdom."—(The Earl of Dunraven.)
§ LORD CARLINGFORD (LORD PRESIDENT of the COUNCIL)
said, that his noble Friend's Motion was really a Vote of Censure upon the Lord Lieutenant and the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. ["No!"] If it was not that it was nothing at all. That being so, he was astonished at the weakness of the case put forward by his noble Friend. He did not seem in the least to recognize what he was doing in asking their Lordships to pass this Vote of Censure. The noble Earl had made a very wide digression from the subject of his Motion, and had discussed some expressions of Mr. Gladstone and other matters which had nothing to do with the question. When, however, he came to the question upon which he asked the House to pronounce, he carefully, with a caution which he thoroughly understood, limited himself to the hours, and almost moments, of that day at Rosslea. He (Lord Carling-ford) would not go into any large questions of Irish policy; but he could not confine himself to that moment when Lord Rossmore, at the head of his men, arrived at a certain point on a certain road. In order to judge with any fairness of the position and conduct of an Irish magistrate under the circumstances, and to understand the view which the Irish Executive and the Irish Lord Chancellor took of it, they must know a little more than that. What were the whole facts of the case? What brought Lord Rossmore into that position? 1138 Ulster had been, as they expressed it in that part of the world, invaded by the Nationalist Party. It was by no means the first time that such an invasion had occurred. There were several occasions in 1881, when contested elections were held in the North of Ireland, and when Ireland was in a very critical state and crime was rampant. That crime, he was glad to say, had now been reduced to a very small amount under the government of Lord Spencer and his Colleagues. But at that time not a single word was uttered by the Orange Party against the invasion of Mr. Parnell and his followers. On those occasions, however, the invasion was for the purpose of defeating the Liberal candidates for Derry and Tyrone. But in this case the word was given by men in high position that this invasion of the Nationalist Party was to be resisted. For this purpose what were called counter-demonstrations were to be organized. Now, what did such demonstrations in the North of Ireland mean? They meant a large body of excited men, brought from a distance—many of them armed—marching in military array, their leaders leading them, as it were, to battle, and denouncing their opponents in the strongest language. They shouted defiance and fired pistols. This was not moral force—it was physical force. It was the next thing to civil war; and but for the presence of the military and the police it would be civil war. This was the proceeding which Lord Rossmore not only took part in, but which he organized and led, and where such very thin partitions divided the use of moral force from that of physical force, the least one could say was that an Irish Orange magistrate putting himself in such a position was bound to use the utmost possible discretion. Lord Rossmore, by his own act, put himself in a position in which he ran the greatest risk of forgetting that he was a Justice of the Peace, and remembering only that he was the Orange Grand Master. This great counter-demonstration, which was intended to drive the Nationalists out of Ulster, was organized, to a great extent, by Lord Rossmore himself. It was brought about by the following proclamation signed by his Lordship:—Orangemen of Monaghan, the late Invincibles and Land Leaguers are afraid to enter 1139 Monaghan, but they have flooded our county with proclamations asking your attendance at Rosslea on the 16th to hear their treasonable speeches. Attend, then (with others named), to assist our Fermanagh brethren …. and oppose the rebels to the utmost, thereby showing that Orangemen are loyal to England. …. We will show them that they are liars and slanderers. Boycott and Emergency men to the front, and down with Parnell and rebellion. God save the Queen—Rossmore, Grand Master.But "Rossmore, Grand Master," was also a Justice of the Peace, and it was under these circumstances that he led his men to the neighbourhood of Rosslea on the day in question. The Government took precautions by sending down police and military, some 500 or 600 men, to the neighbourhood. This force was put under the charge of the Resident Magistrate, Captain M'Ternan, a gentleman of great experience, who had rendered remarkable services to the cause of law and order in Ireland, and in whom Lord Spencer had great confidence. One judicious method of preserving the peace that was adopted by him was the following. On the evening before the meeting was held he begged of Lord Crichton to take care not to lead his men to the immediate neighbourhood of the other meeting. And when he said "immediate neighbourhood" he meant within a stone's throw. Lord Crichton at once promised to make a slight detour, and to lead his men to the place of meeting by another road. On the day of the meeting Lord Crichton, and his party, arrived at a spot where two roads divided, and was met there by a Constabulary officer, Mr. Trescott, who presented to his Lordship a letter from the Resident Magistrate, reminding him at the same time of his promise. Lord Crichton, without the slightest demur, either on his own part or on the part of the Orangemen whom he led, at once made a detour and avoided going near the hostile meeting, thus preventing any risk of collision. Very shortly afterwards, Lord Rossmore and his men arrived at the same spot, and the same Constabulary officer, armed with the same authority from the Resident Magistrate, asked him to do the same thing. Could anyone imagine a more reasonable request, even if it were made, not to a Justice of the Peace, but to any one of Her Majesty's subjects? But Lord Rossmore, unhappily losing his head, no doubt, amid the shouts of his followers to "go on," said—"He is not 1140 here to stop us, and so we will go on." Therefore, at a point where a representative of the public authority told him that there was danger to the public peace in pursuing the direct road, which would bring him within a stone's throw of the other meeting, Lord Rossmore, no doubt, in the excitement of the moment, and under the influence of his excited followers, refused to act on that recommendation, and said—"No; we will go on;" and he marched his men into the immediate neighbourhood of, and almost into contact with, the other meeting. That proceeding of his was the breach of the duty of a magistrate for which Lord Spencer thought it necessary to bring his case before the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, and for which the latter thought it necessary to remove Lord Rossmore from the Commission of the Peace. Lord Rossmore marched on, and after advancing a mile or so he met Captain M'Ternan. What passed between them was a matter on which the memories of the two gentlemen differed. Lord Rossmore did not deny that Captain M'Ternan protested against his going on, but he said that in the end Captain M'Ternan gave him permission. Captain M'Ternan, on the other hand, said—Lord Rossmore and a number of gentlemen round him appeared to be determined to ignore my wishes and advice. I had no compact whatever with Lord Rossmore; and his procession passed because I was not prepared to stop it.The so-called permission of Captain M'Ternan was supposed to have justified the conduct of Lord Rossmore. He pledged himself to the Resident Magistrate that he would do his best to keep the peace in the position in which he found himself. There was an unconscious irony in a Justice of the Peace pledging himself to keep the peace in circumstances of danger that he had himself created. Lord Rossmore, in a letter which was published in the newspapers, said that when they got to that point—the cross road—stones began to be thrown from the field over the hedge, and that made it most difficult to prevent the storming of the hill on which the Parnellites were, and that but for the strenuous exertions of himself and other officers of the Society it would have been carried at a run, and the consequences would have been frightful. Again, addressing the Lords Commissioners 1141 of the Great Seal, Lord Rossmore said—As already stated in my letter of the 20th of October, published in most newspapers throughout the Kingdom, I, with other officers of the Society, had the greatest possible difficulty in controlling the men, and preventing them from retaliating on the stone-throwing and insulting mob assembled at the disloyal meeting, and had we not been present I firmly believe that a collision would have taken place, entailing, in all probability, a fearful loss of life.He evidently thought it necessary to dwell upon the tremendous dangers which were averted by his exertions to keep the peace. But he (Lord Carling-ford) said that those dangers were brought about by the course which Lord Rossmore himself adopted, in spite of the warning and remonstrance which he had received. ["No, no!" from the Opposition.] He was talking of the critical point where the roads divided, which had been described by Sir John Leslie as the critical point—the point where Lord Rossmore had to choose whether he would make a detour, or whether he would march into the midst of the enemy. That was the point. What passed between Lord Rossmore and Captain M'Ternan did not matter. Evidently, if Lord Rossmore had done what Lord Crichton had done nothing of this sort would have happened. In both his letters Lord Rossmore devoted his attention to his momentary conversation with Captain M'Ternan, and in his second letter he went so far as to say that the mention by the Secretary to the Lords Commissioners of his interview with Mr. Trescott, a mile and a-half off, was raising quite a new issue. That second letter showed an extraordinary transformation of style compared with the first, and he (Lord Carlingford) observed that the line of argument which it adopted had been the line since taken generally by those in Ireland who fancied that Lord Rossmore was right, and was also the line which had been taken to-night. But a greater misconception could not be imagined. The first letter from the Lords Commissioners had three paragraphs. The first paragraph was that their Lordships understood that—During the time the first-mentioned meeting was assembled, and while considerable excitement prevailed, your Lordship, heading a procession of large numbers moving towards the counter-meeting, led that procession into such 1142 close proximity to the place of the first-mentioned meeting as to seriously endanger the public peace.The second paragraph referred to the remonstrance addressed to Lord Rossmore by Sub-Inspector Trescott, and the request by that officer that he should adopt another route; and then only followed any mention of the remonstrances of Captain M'Ternan. The third paragraph might be struck out of that letter, and still the whole gravamen of the charge against Lord Rossmore would remain precisely the same. It was difficult to think of this rencontre between Captain M'Ternan and Lord Rossmore, an Ulster magistrate, without the thought being suggested that the Commission of the Peace held by an Irish Resident Magistrate was precisely the same as that held by Lord Rossmore, the only difference being that one was paid and the other unpaid. That those two gentlemen, holding the very same Commission of the Peace, should meet under such circumstances, and that the paid magistrate should find himself in the position of resisting and protesting against the action of the unpaid Justice of the Peace, was a fact that told its own story. But, more than that, would any noble Lord who knew Ireland say that the position of the unpaid magistracy in that country was a very easy one? Drawn as its members were necessarily almost entirely from one class, from one religion, and from one Party, was it not known that their position was beset with difficulties and dangers? Could it be good for the security and strength of that magistracy that such unfortunate forgetfulness of duty as he had described should be passed over by the head of the law? He was sure that Sir Edward Sullivan, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, when this matter was laid before him, acted not only in the interests of law and order and peace in Ireland, but in the interest of the Irish magistracy itself. He had, he thought, given accurately the facts under which Lord Spencer thought it his duty to lay this case before the Lords Commissioners, and under which the latter thought it their duty to remove Lord Rossmore from the Commission of the Peace. Lord Spencer and Sir Edward Sullivan had a right to expect that their Lordships would credit them with absolute impartiality in dealing with the 1143 case, and in arriving at the conclusion that the conduct of Lord Rossmore was such as could not be sanctioned in an Irish magistrate. As to Lord Spencer himself, if the House adopted this Vote of Censure he did not know what his view might be as to his own course under the circumstances; but of this he (Lord Carlingford) was sure—that Lord Spencer would look upon such a Vote adopted by his own House and his own order as a very heavy blow against him in the tremendous difficulties of the Office which he now filled. The responsibility of censuring the Lord Chancellor and Earl Spencer, which their Lordships were asked to undertake, was so grave, so heavy, so odious, that if such a Motion were to be supported from the opposite side, which he hardly thought possible, it ought at least to have come from the Front Opposition Bench instead of from a volunteer on the Cross Benches. Let him remind their Lordships that Lord Spencer and the Irish Government were the subject of a similar Motion in "another place" proceeding from a very different quarter. At this moment a Vote of Censure awaited the decision of the House of Commons, moved by Mr. Parnell against Lord Spencer and the Irish Government for having suppressed a number of Nationalist meetings, and for having treated so leniently the Irish magistrates who, unfortunately, had risen up in a kind of insurrection against the Irish Government and against the head of the law. That Motion, he had no doubt, would be rejected in the House of Commons by a great majority; and he asked their Lordships to do the same with the present Resolution.
§ THE MARQUESS OF WATERFORD
said, that ever since the question had been before the public they had been led to believe that there was something in the background which would be brought out when the subject was brought before Parliament. They had just heard the speech of the Lord President, and they had had the advantage that day of looking over the Correspondence which had been laid on the Table of the House; but, so far as they could see, there was nothing whatsoever in the matter. The Lord President had told them what was the real reason why Lord Rossmore had been deprived of his Commission. If the real reason why 1144 Lord Rossmore had been removed from the Commission was because he did not act on the advice of the Resident Magistrate, why did the Lords Commissioners refrain from putting it forward as the reason why they dismissed him? But, instead of doing that, they beat about the bush in every direction. That, however, was the solo reason now put forward. The Lord President said that Sub - Inspector Trescott showed Lord Rossmore a letter; but he had it from Lord Rossmore that no letter was shown to him. The Lord President held that Lord Rossmore had plenty of time to consider what course he should follow. That was a mistake. Lord Crichton had had notice—Lord Rossmore had not. The men who were with Lord Rossmore knew that the road which they desired to take was the shortest way to the meeting, and they declared that they would go by it whether Lord Rossmore himself went by it or not. He had, therefore, only a moment to decide whether he would go on with his men or leave them to go on without him, and by going on with his men he distinctly prevented bloodshed. One would imagine, from the tone of the Lord President, that Lord Rossmore had encouraged his followers to come into collision with the opposite party, when, as a matter of fact, his Lordship was the main instrument in preventing a collision. The Lord President gave them to understand just now that it was a meeting which Lord Rossmore should not have attended. Other magistrates attended the meeting besides Lord Rossmore; and if it were wrong for Lord Rossmore to attend the meeting, it was equally wrong for the other magistrates to attend. Why should he alone have been selected from amongst other magistrates, and when there were a great many other magistrates, who acted in a precisely similar manner? They must look further to find the real reason. The real reason was the letter which Lord Rossmore wrote to the leading journals.
§ THE MARQUESS OF WATERFORD
said, whether the noble Lord objected to the letter or not, he believed that if that letter had not been written very little more would have been heard about the matter. The letter produced a storm of 1145 indignation in the rebel Press against his Lordship personally; and it was somewhat strange that although some time had then elapsed the Lords Commissioners should suddenly come to the conclusion that it was necessary to call upon the noble Lord for an explanation. He should be sorry to say that the Irish Executive were influenced by the articles which appeared in the rebel Press; but it was a most important coincidence that these things happened together, like a great many other unfortunate coincidences which had happened during the rule of Her Majesty's present Advisers in Ireland. From the numerous Memorials which had been signed, and letters which had been written, by Liberal and Conservative, Catholic and Protestant, throughout Ireland, it had been shown distinctly how deeply this unjust indignity had been felt. It was not a question of class or order. It was simply one of loyalty and disloyalty. It was very difficult for Englishmen to understand the true state of affairs in Ireland at the present moment. How old names, old watchwords, and Party cries were disappearing; how religious differences among the loyal were still, all men who were loyal to their Queen and country sinking their differences in the face of the startling danger which threatened their unfortunate country. The conduct of the Government in dismissing Lord Rossmore was condemned by many Liberals, among whom might be mentioned Lord Fitzwilliam, the Lord Lieutenant of Monaghan, and the Lord Lieutenant of Wicklow. He admitted readily that anyone who followed the Prime Minister's advice was very likely to act wrongly; but, however that might be, there was no doubt whatever that the right hon. Gentleman had distinctly asked for the assistance and co-operation of loyal men in Ireland. The Loyalists of Ireland had experienced the most ungenerous treatment at the hands of the Government. Mr. Chamberlain had said that the country would be perfectly tranquil but for the noisy conduct of a small minority of Ulster Orangemen, who broke up the political meetings of their opponents. Was that, he asked, a fair description of the action of men who acted on the advice of Mr. Gladstone, and of a part of Ireland which had remained perfectly peaceful in very troublesome times? No one knew better 1146 than Mr. Chamberlain that if the Crimes Act was suspended for a fortnight they would see as great anarchy in all parts of Ireland, except Ulster, as prevailed when the Land League was allowed by the Government to supersede the law of the land. Did Mr. Chamberlain, did the Lord President, wish that no protest should be made by the Loyalists of Ireland against the Land League? Did the Lord President wish no protest to be made against treason and dismemberment? "Would the noble Lord wish the whole of the people of Ireland to appear united in hatred of England? If Ulster men had not protested against these Socialistic meetings, and raised their voice against what had taken place in the North, the people of England might fairly infer that there was no voice strong enough in Ireland to make itself felt in favour of the minority in the country. One-third of the people—men of all sects scattered all over the country—were loyal to the Queen and the Empire; and were they to sit still and allow judgment to go by default? They had suffered terribly during recent times. They had seen the rebels continually rewarded, and concession made to outrage and agitation. They had seen unheard-of demands conceded to Obstruction in Parliament, backed up by murder and bloodshed at home; but if a protest was made and a meeting called by the Loyalists the Government at once supposed they were jeopardizing the public peace, and a most unmerited indignity was inflicted upon them. If anyone was to be punished, he would ask on whose shoulders it should fall, as far as regarded the present state of affairs in Ireland? The present Government had inflicted indignity on the Loyalists of Ireland through one of their number. He had heard nothing from the Lord President that explained why that indignity had been inflicted, and Her Majesty's Government had played distinctly into the hands of those who were animated with an intense hatred of England, and who openly declared that they would use every means in their power to injure the Empire of which they were so justly proud. He should certainly support the Motion of the noble Earl.
§ LORD FITZGERALD
said, he could not think that the matter rested upon the narrow issue raised by the noble 1147 Earl who made this Motion. On the contrary, its consequences and results might prove far more extensive than the noble Earl contemplated. The Motion consisted of two parts. The first was—That the removal of Lord Rossmore from the Commission of the Peace was not justified by the facts of the case.That meant justified not by one fact, but by all the facts. The second point was that it—Is calculated to discourage the loyal population of that portion of the United Kingdom.'He (Lord FitzGerald) did not know exactly the meaning of this word "calculated," but he understood it to mean that either it was so intended, or was likely to have that result. If he thought there was any such intention on the part of the Government, be, for one, would support the Motion. But he did not believe that the removal of Lord Ross-more from the Commission of the Peace would in the slightest degree interfere with real and true loyalty. He sympathized with loyalty, but he did not sympathize with Orangeism. He had stated in Ireland—as he now stated openly and above board in that House—that as long as Ulster was loyal—and he hoped it might long so continue—he had no fears for the dismemberment of the Empire. But he distinguished between loyalty and the spirit of Orangeism. He did not mean for a moment to say that Orangemen were not loyal, but he believed, as a rule, they were loyal in their own way. He had long studied that institution; he had been brought into close connection with it; and he had arrived at the conclusion that, as at one time Orangeism had been dangerous to the State, so it might become dangerous again. He was surprised to hear from the noble Earl that their Lordships should not look beyond one circumstance of the case, instead of looking at all the circumstances. He asked them to consider who Lord Rossmore was, and the position in which he was placed. He did not himself know Lord Rossmore, nor did he mean to say an unkind word of him, except that he had shown remarkable indiscretion. Did Lord Rossmore know what the preservation of the peace meant in Ireland? Did he ever realize in his own mind why he had been created a Justice of the Peace. Nearly 600 years ago, when the old Conservator 1148 of the Peace gave place to the present Justice of the Peace, the statute law declared the object to be that—The King's peace should he well and surely kept and maintained at all points, so that the King's subjects may go and come and abide in peace according to the law of the land.A commentator shrewdly observed that the Justice of the Peace was not called on to effect a uniting of minds, but a restraining of hands. The Commission of Justice of the Peace from the Queen, after stating that Her Majesty—Reposing special trust and confidence in your fidelity, prudence, and care, has appointed you to keep our peace,and then defining his powers and duties, contained, inter alia—And also to inquire of all those who presume by unlawful assemblies to he disturbers of our peace and of our people within our said country, and also of all those who shall presume to go and ride in companies with armed force against our peace.This being so, let them consider the course taken by Lord Rossmore. They had heard from the Lord President that Lord Rossmore was one of the organizers, if not the chief organizer, of the counter-meeting at Rosslea. He admitted at once that the Loyalists of the North had received great provocation. But what was the language of the proclamations calling the counter-meeting?
§ LORD FITZGERALD
said, he believed it was not, but here was an extract from a document which was widely circulated—Think of those who he in their bloody shrouds at Smithfield, Oxford, Derry, the Boyne, Aughrim, Enniskillen, and Newtownbutler. Let no man be absent from the loyal meeting at Rosslea on October 16.
§ LORD FITZGERALD
said, he did not charge the noble Lord with having signed it, but such a passage showed that the meeting which it called upon the Orangemen to attend was most perilous to the public peace. The Daily Express of the 22nd of January last contained the following statement:—Ulster is in a state not easily distinguishable from civil war. The Quean's forces are defending the Queen's enemies from the certain destruction which would overtake them at the hands of some thousands of loyal men if those hands were not held by reverence for the Queen's own Royal authority.1149 Then they had heard from the Lord President a description of the march of the men who were headed by Lord Crichton and Lord Rossmore, and he had to call their Lordships' attention to the fact that the greater portion of the party consisted of armed men.
§ LORD FITZGERALD
said, he certainly had authority, or he should not have made the statement. He should like to know if the noble and learned Earl denied that the greater part of the procession consisted of men armed with revolvers and pistols?
§ EARL CAIRNS
said, he had read the statement made by the Chief Secretary for Ireland, who drew a distinction between the meeting at Rosslea and the meeting at Dromore. The latter was composed largely of armed men.
§ LORD FITZGERALD
said, he had read the statement which he had made in some document, and he believed it to be true. The noble and learned Earl could deny at the present time, if he thought fit, that the greater portion of the party possessed arms.
§ EARL CAIRNS
said, he did not wish to deny the statement, but desired to have some authority for it.
§ LORD FITZGERALD
, continuing, said, he would like to refer to the language used at the meeting at Rosslea. Lord Rossmore, who was received with enthusiastic cheers, said that—That was undoubtedly the most glorious meeting of Orangemen he had ever attended, or that had ever been held in the North of Ireland, to stop rebellion. As far as they could see, the rebels on the hill yonder only numbered a few hundreds. He thought it was a great pity that the so-called Government of England stopped loyal men from assembling to uphold their institutions there, and had sent down a handful of soldiers whom they could eat up in a second or two if they thought fit; but it was not their business to do so. He was sure they would be very much pleased if everything passed over without any fracas with the military or police. They must leave them to the scum of the hills beyond. The soldiers and the police were the friends of the Orangemen, because they belonged to the Queen and fought for the Queen. (A Voice: There are 400 Orangemen in the regiment.")He would wish their Lordships to notice particularly what followed—At this part a number of shots were fired into the air by persons on the outskirts of the 1150 meeting, and immediately hundreds of revolvers were produced throughout the gathering, and it is no exaggeration to say that firing became general. For fully ten minutes it was steadily maintained, notwithstanding the efforts of the leaders to stop it.This, he would observe, was a meeting which was organized and promoted by one of Her Majesty's Commissioners of the Peace. Thirty-five years ago, on the 31st of July, 1849, the House of Lords was engaged, upon the Motion of Earl Stanhope, in considering the case of Lord Roden. On that occasion the Marquess of Lansdowne, in reply to a statement by his Lordship, said—It was quite clear, by the common law of the land, and according to the most eminent authorities in the law who had been consulted on the subject, that the bringing into movement multitudes, armed, as it appeared in this instance—but, even when unarmed, in a mode calculated to excite public disturbance—was in itself illegal, and might be, and ought to be, prosecuted by the Government, by the magistrates, and by all well-wishers to the peace of the community, so that the offenders, for offenders they were, might be brought to justice for endangering that peace."—(3 Hansard,  1136.)In addition to that, he might quote the opinion of the Attorney General who was in Office at the time of the Dolly's Brae riot upon the following question, put by some of the magistrates concerned—Is an assemblage of Orangemen, 1,500 in number, partly armed, proceeding along the road, and partly decorated with ribbons, an illegal assembly?The Attorney General said—"I have no doubt such a meeting is illegal." Referring to the case now before their Lordships, he had no hesitation in saying that an assembly, partly armed, such as that which Lord Rossmore headed, was an illegal assembly. According to the law of the land they had the spectacle of a Justice of the Peace assuming to himself the functions of Government, and a magistrate, whose duty it was to put down a meeting of this kind, so acting that, according to his own statement, it was only by a miracle that loss of life and the commencement of actual civil war were avoided. No doubt Lord Rossmore was distinguished by his loyalty, courage, and devotion to the Queen and his country; but his conduct was unwise, and even criminal, from the fact that he was a magistrate. He did not know what course the Lords Commissioners could have adopted other than that of 1151 recommending the removal of Lord Ross-more from the Commission of the Peace. Lord Rossmore held his Commission from the Great Seal, and when a magistrate was removed from the Commission of the Peace it was never done without the most grave and anxious inquiry. He believed that that inquiry did take place on the present occasion. There was, however, a larger question involved in this Motion. He believed that Lord Spencer accepted the responsibility for what was done; and their Lordships were asked to censure his administration of Ireland. He was induced to accept the Viceroyalty 20 months ago when murder prevailed, and the law of the land was superseded by that of the Land League. All this bad been changed. During the last four months, but for the disturbed state of Ulster, Ireland would compare favourably with any part of Her Majesty's Dominions for peace, order, and the absence of crime. ["Oh, oh!"] He defied contradiction of that statement, for since the summer there bad been a singular absence of crime, and their Lordships were aware that rents were now well paid. In these circumstances, he appealed to the noble Marquess the Leader of the Opposition, who held the issue of the matter in the hollow of his hand; he could prevent an adverse vote on a Motion which ought not to have been made, and which ought to be withdrawn. Were their Lordships ready to wipe out all that had been done by the Lord Lieutenant, and to weaken his hands in carrying on the administration of the country? He appealed to the noble Earl to withdraw the Motion which he bad so unwisely brought forward. If that course was not adopted, he asked their Lordships to meet it with a direct negative.
§ EARL CAIRNS
said, he always approached Motions of this kind with very great caution. As he had had the honour of holding the Great Seal he knew the anxiety and delicacy attending such cases. He knew that magistrates were often placed in situations of great difficulty as to what they should do as magistrates and as individuals; and that great forbearance was due to them on this account, while the authority controlling them was also entitled to consideration. But the last speech had rather disturbed his balance of mind, for nothing could be more wild 1152 than the view the noble and learned Lord bad presented. Two years ago Parliament had thought fit to give the Government the power to declare these meetings illegal, and to prevent them. The attention of the Government was distinctly drawn to the matter; they did not interfere; and yet the noble and learned Lord said the meetings were illegal. If the noble and learned Lord was right in that statement, the Government stood exposed to absolute condemnation for having abdicated their functions and refused to exercise the power vested in them by Parliament. Not only did they abstain from doing that, but they had refused to censure the scores of magistrates who attended them. Was it possible to imagine for one moment that the Irish Government deliberately and wantonly allowed these meetings to be held, and deliberately refused to censure the magistrates who attended them? The Lords Commissioners were entirely at variance with the views of the noble and learned Lord, and said that Lord Rossmore was not called upon to give any explanation of the holding of the counter-demonstration. The Prime Minister had encouraged the holding of those meetings, and the Chief Secretary himself had stated elsewhere that those were the kind of meetings which the Prime Minister meant. But it was stated that the meetings ought to have been held on different days. The Government, however, knew that they were to be held on the same day and at the same place, and yet made no effort to stop them. Then it was said that Lord Rossmore's speech was objectionable. But that speech was before the Government. They had a reporter present, as was most proper, and as they had at all political meetings; and in the letter containing the charge against Lord Rossmore no reference was made to what he had stated at the meeting. What right, then, had the noble and learned Lord (Lord FitzGerald) to make such a charge, and to say that Lord Rossmore's dismissal was warranted, not by what the Government and the Lord Chancellor alleged as the ground, but by words spoken which bad never been complained of before? The fact was that the accusation against Lord Ross-more was, as his noble Friend (the Earl of Dunraven) had said, very small—he 1153 might say, ridiculously small. It was said, and said truly, that communications took place between the stipendiary magistrate and Lord Crichton, who was going with the Fermanagh men; but no such communication was made to Lord Rossmore, who was coming with the Monaghan men. If Lord Rossmore had received an intimation such as was conveyed to Lord Crichton, no doubt he would have acted as Lord Crichton acted. When Lord Rossmore came up with his men very weary, he met a sub-inspector who was unknown to him, and who asked him to go by the other route. He was bound to say that he also should have asked—" Have you any authority to stop us?" The sub-inspector said to Lord Rossmore—"I am not here to stop you," but said that Lord Crichton had gone by the other road. The men were extremely unwilling to go round, after a long journey, a mile and a-half further than was necessary. It might be said that Lord Rossmore had committed an error of judgment; but he doubted whether, if he himself or any of their Lordships had been stopped at the head of a procession by a sub-inspector of police who admitted that he had no authority, they would have taken any other course than Lord Rossmore did. The Lord President had said that was the turning point of the whole case, and that the decision had been come to after the most careful inquiry. How could there have been careful inquiry, as some important documents and the report of the stipendiary magistrate had only been received that very evening? In the position in which Lord Rossmore was placed it was clearly his duty to stay with his men, for the consequences might have been very serious if Lord Rossmore had gone one way and his men another, and the latter had been withdrawn from their leader's influence and authority. Then it appeared that Lord Rossmore stated that he had distinct authority for taking the road which he had taken, and that statement had been confirmed. An attempt had been made to justify the action of the authorities by reference to an Act of Parliament of 500 years ago with respect to tumultuous assemblies. But why did the Government permit such assemblages, and why did they allow two rival meetings to be held on the same day? And how could they then turn 1154 round and visit on Lord Rossmore the consequences of their own want of prudence? He was glad this matter had been fully put before the public. He thought it was right that the public should know the facts of the case, for he felt satisfied that the public would be of opinion that if there was—and he (Earl Cairns) did not say there was—an error of judgment on the part of Lord Rossmore, there was nothing more than that; and, therefore, he thought it was a hard measure of justice and a wrong measure to remove him from the Commission of the Peace
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, we live to learn. My noble and learned Friend has reminded your Lordships that he himself not long ago held the Office which I now less worthily hold. He held it with great honour and credit; and I never could have believed, if my noble and learned Friend had not himself so informed your Lordships, that after having read the facts of the case he could support the Motion before the House. I wish this case could be referred to my noble and learned Friend as Lord Chancellor either of Ireland or of England. I feel absolutely sure that if this case, or anything like it, had happened in England when my noble and learned Friend was Lord Chancellor, he would have taken a course exactly the same as that adopted by the Lords Commissioners in Ireland. According to my own notions of the duties of a magistrate, a clearer or more absolute necessity for such a line of action could not possibly be shown. As to the facts of the case, they he in a nutshell; but they were not brought out as they really are by my noble Friend. He treated the whole matter as if it depended on what took place when Lord Rossmore met Captain M'Ternan; the truth being, that he met Captain M'Ternan in the very place of danger, where he ought never to have been, and where he never would have been, but for his previous wilful departure from the proper line of his duty at New Bridge, where the road of safety diverged from the road of danger. I will assume that up to that point Lord Rossmore had done nothing which need have led to his removal from the Magisterial Bench; but the critical moment was when his Lordship and his attendant Orangemen arrived at the 1155 cross roads, and when he was informed by the Constabulary officer of the necessity of his following the example of Lord Crichton, and making a detour to the place of meeting, and was requested by that officer to do so. If the noble and learned Earl had studied the Papers on the subject he would not have spoken of Lord Rossmore as arriving at this spot, with his men wearied after a long journey, and as if they had been then suddenly surprised by an unexpected and unforeseen request. Lord Rossmore himself stated, with reference to what occurred at the spot where the two roads divided, that the men under him were thoroughly conversant with the locality, and had learnt that it was intended to march them by a circuitous route; and his Lordship added that he had received reliable information that they would not be dictated to in this matter, and were determined to march by no other than the direct road to the Loyalist place of meeting. And what was the direct route? It was a route which brought them into immediate contact with the opposing party, and thereby rendered probable, indeed all but inevitable, a very serious breach of the peace. That being so, I hold that the Lords Commissioners were perfectly right in deciding that the course adopted by Lord Rossmore was inconsistent with his duty as a magistrate, whether founded on an error in judgment or on a disposition to set himself above the authorities. In my opinion, if a man who justified that course of conduct and did not excuse himself as having acted under some misapprehension were to be allowed to remain in the Commission of the Peace in the present circumstances and condition of Ireland, there would be an end to all confidence in the impartiality of the administration of the law. The Lords Commissioners were right in holding that the answer received from Lord Rossmore was a virtual declaration that he, being a magistrate, would consider himself justified under like circumstances in taking the same course again. In a later letter there is a passage from which I infer that Lord Rossmore would have gone on whatever Captain M'Ternan had said. He said—Had Captain M'Ternan persisted in his remonstrances, I should have been placed in the embarrassing position of deciding whether it would he my duty to lead the procession or take the course which my own knowledge and 1156 convictions as a magistrate indicated as best calculated to preserve the peace; but I was relieved from this difficulty.I will assume, in Lord Rossmore's favour, that at that critical moment, when the Orangemen and the Nationalists were almost in contact, and within a stone's throw of each other, and when the signs of conflict began to appear, the desire to preserve the peace may have been as present to the mind of Lord Rossmore as to that of Captain M'Ternan. But, remembering what Lord Rossmore had said and done when he was asked to take the road which would have avoided that risk and opportunity of collision, I cannot feel the smallest doubt that on this occasion also he would have taken his own course, whatever Captain M'Ternan might have said. It has been suggested that he might not have been able to do much to preserve the peace if he had complied with the requests of the authorities. But if the peace had been broken after he had done all in his power to induce his followers to comply with those requests, the responsibility would not have been on him. That he had great influence with his followers was perfectly plain, and it should also be noted that Lord Crichton was able to persuade his men to do what was his and their duty. At all events, I am sure that a magistrate, having placed himself in that position, is not fit to maintain his place as Justice of the Peace, having led a vast body of people—and there was no doubt many of those assembled were armed—of whose temper he is himself the witness, into a position where conflict was imminent. As to the powers of Her Majesty's Government to prohibit the meeting, I wish to say a word or two. They have, under the Act passed two years ago, power to prohibit such meetings, when they think them dangerous to the peace or the public safety. They have exercised that power in the South of Ireland, as to meetings where no counter-demonstrations were threatened, because of the prevalence of crime and the effects of inflammatory speeches in those neighbourhoods. Such considerations, however, do not apply to Ulster, where crime is not so prevalent. The Government have been unwilling to interfere with the expression of public opinion at public meetings, either by 1157 Loyalists or by other parties in the country, when there has been no reason to anticipate any breach of the peace, or any stimulus to crime, and when there has been nothing plainly illegal in the declared object of the meeting; and they have even gone the length, which beyond question did involve considerable responsibility, of not interfering with meetings appointed to be held in opposition to the objects of other meetings, even at the same place or on the same day, when they thought they were able to keep the peace, maintain order, and prevent other evil consequences. But a meeting, which was very pithily described by the noble Marquess on my left as held for the purpose of breaking up their opponents' meeting—a meeting such as that was not an expression of opinion which was calculated to strengthen the law or to promote loyalty. I hold with the Irish Government that in times like the present, when a meeting is held which is not proclaimed by the Executive, or which the magistrates do not resolve to suppress as illegal, such meeting cannot be à priori assumed to be illegal. But parties who, after organizing a counter - meeting, bring their forces into close proximity with the meeting which is objectionable to them, incur a responsibility of the most serious character, that of endangering the public peace; and a magistrate assigned to preserve the peace ought not to take any part in such a proceeding. Those are the principles with regard to public meetings which have been laid down by the Lord Chancellor of Ireland, as to the general case; and I cordially endorse every word which his Lordship has used; and but for the forbearance which has been shown to both sides, I very much doubt whether a magistrate taking any part in such proceedings ought not to be deemed to have forgotten his duty. But, at any rate, any magistrate taking part in such a proceeding must be absolutely bound to obey every direction, remonstrance, or request which the persons appointed to preserve the public peace may make; and if magistrates refuse to obey those directions, and to comply with those requests, it is right that they should be removed. That is what Lord Rossmore has done. The Lords Commissioners would have accepted from him any reasonable submission or explanation; but a justification 1158 of such a course of action—and Lord Rossmore's reply was nothing more or less than a justification of it—they could not accept. A Grand Master of an Orange Lodge, whether a magistrate or not, is not entitled to take the law into his own hands, and he cannot claim to be the judge as to how order is to be preserved. Had the Lords Commissioners acted otherwise than they did act, they would have forgotten their duty to Ireland, and would have set an example fraught with very dangerous consequences to that country.
THE EARL OF LONGFORD
said, if this case had stood alone, the House of Lords would have condemned the action of the Irish Government in terms stronger than those of the proposed Resolution. If anything had been wanting to confirm the House in this view, it was supplied by the very unsatisfactory speech of the noble Lord the President of the Council. As a resident in Ireland, he was aware that this unfortunate mistake of the Lord Lieutenant had aroused a strong feeling of irritation and discontent, that it would be difficult to compose, amongst a class who might rather have expected favour than discouragement. "Rossmore" would be a watchword with more than one signification. But the House did recognize that Lord Spencer had conducted the government of Ireland with firmness and courage, and that he might yet have occasion to exercise all his vigour in the management of the affairs of that country. The House was, therefore, unwilling to weaken his authority by passing that which would amount to a Vote of Censure.
THE EARL OF BELMORE
said, that, being a magistrate for two counties, and residing in the district in which the Rosslea and other meetings had been held, although he had not attended them, and was not an Orangeman, he wished to make a few observations. As regarded the case itself he had not much to add. He regretted the very unsatisfactory tone of the speeches made by noble Lords opposite. The matter really turned on what had passed between Lord Rossmore and Captain M'Ternan, although the noble Lord the Lord President had thrown over Captain M'Ternan, and made what had passed at a previous point between Lord Boss-more and Sub-Inspector Trescott, the 1159 main justification for the former's dismissal from the Commission of the Peace. The noble and learned Earl on the Woolsack had taken the same line, although he afterwards read the passage in which the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal had based Lord Rossmore's dismissal on what had taken place with Captain M'Ternan. He (the Earl of Belmore) would read it again. The Lords Commissioners said—If your Lordship had indeed been able to say that up to the time of the interview with Captain M'Ternan, you had not realized the dangerous consequences likely to ensue from the situation in which you had placed yourself, and that your then going forward was entirely based upon a permission at that moment given, the Lords Commissioners would have been too ready to accept an excuse on your part resting upon that state of facts.Well, Lord Rossmore asserted that he had had Captain M'Ternan's permission to go on, and his going on undoubtedly prevented a riot. We had to deal with facts, not with tendencies. Lord Rossmore said that if he had not gone on his men would have gone on without him. It was argued that Lord Crichton had take the other route, as requested by Captain M'Ternan; but he (the Earl of Belmore) had it from Lord Crichton himself, that a large number—he might say two-thirds—of his party had refused to follow him, and had joined Lord Rossmore's party. He (the Earl of Belmore) knew exactly what had taken place when the party reached the Fair-green, where the Nationalists were assembled, although he was not there. It so happened that very soon after the meeting, and before any of these discussions arose, a friend of his—a magistrate and a clergyman—had given him an account of what happened. He bad written to his friend to repeat what he had told him, which he had done; and it agreed with what had been already stated in this debate. When they arrived at Rosslea, his correspondent and another gentleman were about two-thirds of the distance from the head of the column. Some Nationalist boys began to throw stones, but were at once stopped by the men—not Orangemen, but Nationalists. The slight movement, however, caused by this extended rapidly to the head of the column, where some of the men got over the fence. His friend could see the leaders—he was too 1160 far off to distinguish who they were—head their men and drive them back into their ranks, and all passed on quietly to their own meeting. Such being the case, the Lords Commissioners ought to have let the matter drop. He appealed to the noble Earl not to press his Motion, for, as the noble and learned Earl (Earl Cairns) had pointed out, Lord Spencer was not the person really responsible for Lord Rossmore's dismissal, and the Body responsible—the Lords Commissioners of the Great Seal—had ceased to exist. He wished to refer to the subsequent meeting at Dromore, where the Chief Secretary had stated that the Orangemen had gone armed, but that owing to the action of a shrewd and energetic public officer, sackloads of revolvers had been loft behind, near the place of meeting; and that these young men had gone there with murderous intentions. Now, what had appeared in the papers was this. The police had began to search the Nationalists—not the Orangemen—and had taken three revolvers. He (the Earl of Belmore) had made some inquiry into this matter, and had had a letter from Mr. E. Archdale. It appeared that when the search was made, a telegram to that effect was sent to Enniskillen; whereupon Lord Crichton and Mr. Edward Saunderson had searched their own men at the railway station there—miles off from the place of meeting—and had taken away all the revolvers they could find; and Mr. E. Archdale had done the same with his party at Bundoran Junction. Mr. Archdale had not himself heard a shot all the day, and there could not have been above one or two fired whilst the opposing parties were in any risk of collision. This was the return the Chief Secretary made to these gentlemen for doing their best to preserve order. He (the Earl of Belmore) deprecated the statement made by Mr. Trevelyan, that but for the Government, Ulster was in a state of civil war. He (the Earl of Belmore) lived in the country, and he asserted that anything further from a state of civil war it was impossible to conceive. He granted that since these meetings had been permitted there was a great deal of bitterness, and a great tendency amongst young men of 18 and upwards to throw stones. Throwing stones in Ireland was as much a disease as cutting 1161 their names everywhere was with a certain class in England. But this was not civil war. If the Chief Secretary wanted to know what civil war in Ulster really meant, let him, on his return to Ireland, go to Trinity College Library and examine the depositions taken after the Rebellion of 1641. The cruelties and the awful atrocities therein recorded, were as far removed from anything now existing in Ulster as could possibly be. He strongly urged on the Government the duty and necessity of not permitting, under any pretence whatever, any more out-door meetings in Ulster for the present. Freedom of speech was all very well, but the irritating personalities indulged in at these meetings were only an abuse of the term. He could sympathize with Lord Spencer in his present difficult position. He had at Cambridge been intimate with him, although he did not often see him now, and he had a great respect for him; and he had himself had to fill an analogous position in another, though no doubt loss important, part of the British Dominions. He thought that the Commissioners had gone too far in dismissing Lord Rossmore from the Commission of the Peace, and that a reprimand would have sufficed had they thought it necessary. He again advised the noble Earl (the Earl of Dunraven) to withdraw his Motion.
§ LORD WAVENEY
said, he hoped that the noble Earl would withdraw his Motion. It ought to be remembered that there was a large number of men in Ireland who did not belong to the Orange Organization, and who were supporters of law and order. He was not aware whether the noble Earl who had made the Motion was within the Ulster borders when the events to which allusion had been made were going forward, and when people did not know what each day might bring forth, as they saw men meeting in large armed masses.
THE EARL OF DUNRAVEN
said, that he had listened to the speeches which had been made with great attention. There had been a strong desire expressed that he should not press his Motion to a Division, and the appeal which had been made by his noble Friend the Lord President was one which he ought to seriously consider, as he did not wish to censure the conduct or add to the difficulties of the Lord Lieutenant 1162 of Ireland. Under all the circumstances, he was desirous of withdrawing his Motion. But he should not have felt himself at liberty to do so if he had not had the opportunity of consulting the noble Lord who was so much interested in this matter (Lord Rossmore). He found that Lord Rossmore was most anxious to do nothing that would interfere with the maintenance of law and order in Ireland, and expressed himself as perfectly satisfied with the tone of the debate. He (the Earl of Dunraven), therefore, thought himself at liberty to withdraw the Motion.
§ Motion (by leave of the House) withdrawn.