HL Deb 03 July 1888 vol 328 cc156-87

, in rising to call attention to the murder of James Fitzmaurice and to the apparent connection of the National League with that and other crimes, said, that the murder was committed on the 31st of January, in Kerry, and he would have called attention to the subject some time ago had it been in his power. But the secretary of the local branch of the Land League, who had taken a prominent part in this matter, had been sentenced to six months' imprisonment for having organized the persecution of the murdered man's family, and as he appealed there was nothing to be done but to wait until the appeal had been decided. The circumstances connected with the murder were so simple that it would take very few words to detail them to the House. There were two brothers, James and Edmund Fitzmaurice. They were joint tenants of a farm of 66 acres in Kerry, which they held under Mr. Hussey. In 1886 they were one and a-half year's rent in arrear, chiefly owing to the fault of Edmund Fitzmaurice. They were evicted, and a short time afterwards James Fitzmarice, who was a man of means and of good conduct, made an arrangement to pay 75 per cent of the arrears, and he was reinstated. The other brother did not make any arrangement. Some time afterwards James came to the landlord and offered to take the whole farm, stipulating that he would give his brother a third of the land and a house free of rent. Edmund Fitzmaurice, who was an inoffensive man, was, he understood, willing to accept the proposal. A member of the League came to the landlord's office with the wife of Edmund Fitzmaurice, and said that he would not be permitted to accept that arrangement, and that James must either have one-half of the farm or none. Some time passed away, and then James took the whole farm, and for that he was summoned before the local branch of the League. He declined to give up the farm, and was condemned by resolution on several occasions. He was Boycotted, as was shown at the trial, by the National League, and on January 31 he was shot by two assassins, one of whom came from a distance, and both of whom were arrested. After their arrest the local secretary of the National League wrote letters and went about collecting subscriptions for the defence. The two men were eventually tried and convicted, and Mr. Justice O'Brien said, with reference to the verdict, that he was absolutely convinced of its justice. The Freeman's Journal, which, as their Lordships knew, was the organ of Mr. Parnell, said that this trial was but an additional proof of the necessity for a Court of Criminal Appeal. It was an open secret that Moriarty, one of the murderers, confessed; but with regard to the other man The Freeman's Journal said there was so much doubt in his case that it was clearly a case for the mercy of the Crown. It was needless to comment on that statement. That was not all. After the murder the local secretary of the National League, Thomas Dowling, proceeded to Boycott the family of the murdered man, and when Norah Fitzmaurice, the daughter, went for the first time to chapel Dowling ordered all those present to leave. For that he was tried and sentenced to six months' imprisonment. Those were the facts of the case. From the beginning to the end of that matter there was to be seen nothing but the direct agency of the National League They interfered in the first instance in the arrangements that were being made as to the farm. They summoned the man before them; they condemned and Boycotted him; they collected subscriptions for the defence of the murderers, and they afterwards Boycotted his family. He could only say that the words with which they were familiar—namely, "Crime dogs the steps of the Land League," were never more true than in such a case as this. It must not be supposed that this was an isolated case of agrarian crime in Ireland. He would, in the first place, refer their Lordships to a most important document—the Charge of Chief Baron Palles, who, on the authority of Mr. Healy, was the ablest lawyer on the Irish Bench. In that document the Chief Baron said that in the month of December, 1885, there was a difference between Sir Henry Burke and his tenants, and Father Coen, a prominent member of the League, said at a meeting that it was for them to say whether they would have their way or Sir Henry Burke his. … He did not believe that any process-server would be got to serve the processes. At the end of the month a man named Finlay did serve the processes. There was another meeting shortly afterwards, when one John Roche, another member of the League, said—"They had their Balaclava to-day, but the people would have their Fontenoy another day." Within a period of two months from that time—namely, on March 3, 1886—Finlay was shot and his wife publicly groaned and hooted at through the streets. Father Coen was appealed to by the authorities to assist in procuring a coffin, but refused. That was another murder in which their Lordships would observe that after prominent members of the National League had made strong speeches, directed against an individual, that individual was shot. He would now mention another case. He would not take their Lordships back into ancient history, but would merely refer to occurrences within the last few years. On September 11, 1887, there was a raid on the premises of Thomas Sexton, at Listowel, and a policeman named Whelehan was shot by the raiders. Thomas Sexton had taken back land, which he believed belonged to himself, and occupied it, and for that he was Boycotted by the National League, and was condemned by resolution over and over again. On September 4, Mr. Dillon made a violent speech in the locality, in which he denounced landgrabbing in the very strongest terms. On the next day there was a convention of the County Clare branches of the League, at which further attention was called to this matter. On September 11 this raid took place, and a policeman, who was nobly doing his duty, lost his life, though, fortunately for Sexton, his own life was spared. This was another case in which the proceedings of the National League were immediately followed by crime. It appeared to him that if there was nothing to be said on the other side, there was, at all events, primâ facie evidence that the National League was not unconnected with crime. The noble Earl below him (Earl Spencer), speaking at Aberystwith, said that he lamented very deeply all that had occurred, but that he was convinced that the National League was not connected with crime. When the last case to which he had referred came to be judicially investigated, it appeared, in the first place, that Sexton had been condemned over and over again by the National League, and that three of the men who had gone to murder him were prominent members of a branch of the League. When a statement such as that to which he had referred came from the noble Earl, with all his experience as Lord Lieutenant, it must carry great weight with it. He had laid before the House all the facts so far as they were known, and he would ask the noble Earl upon what facts he based his conviction that the National League was not connected with crime? He must now refer to another murder which took place on November 8, 1887—namely, the murder of Patrick Quirke. This man was tenant of a farm near his son-in-law, who was named Kirby. The latter was unfortunate, and went to America, whither his wife followed him, and his farm became derelict. Quirke entered into an arrangement with the landlord, under which the rent was reduced, and Quirke was to farm the land for the benefit, as he said, of his grandchildren. The local branch of the National League held a meeting, at which it was decided that Quirke should not be allowed to farm this land, and that another man, also named Kirby, should have it. The parish priest, who supported Quirke's having the land, was overruled and insulted. Shortly after, armed men came to Quirke's house and murdered him. The witnesses in that case against the murderers were the murdered man's widow and one of his grandchildren. It was to be remarked that the convictions in this case and in the case of Fitzmaurice were obtained solely by means of the machinery of the Criminal Law Amendment Act of last Session. It was notorious that it had become useless to try such cases as these before ordinary juries in the County Kerry. The evidence even would not be forthcoming. It was by means of the Secret Inquiry Clause of that Act that the widow of Quirke could be got to give evidence. No testimony could have been got but for this clause; but by its means Quirke's widow gave evidence before the secret inquiry, and subsequently repeated it in Court. Last Session, when the Act was passing through that House, it was said by certain noble Lords that there was no case for this Bill. He then asked the noble Earl who had been Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (Earl Spencer) whether, with his experience as to the state of Kerry, he could say that in that county the ordinary law was adequate for the punishment of crime? The noble Earl subsequently signed a Protest, in which it was stated that after two years' experience of the working of the ordinary law there was not such an amount of crime as to justify exceptional legislation. He would now ask the noble Earl whether, after the conviction in these two cases by means of this Act, the noble Earl was still of the opinion that the Act was not justified? The noble Earl, in a speech delivered last Saturday, argued that though exceptional legislation was justified in 1882 when there were 16 murders, it was not justified in 1887 when there were only six. That was considering the subject from a very wrong point of view. It was not the quantity of crime nor the consistency of the noble Earl himself which were in question; it was whether there existed in certain parts of Ireland a state of society which made it useless to attempt to work the ordinary law. Certain excuses were put forward on behalf of the National League. It was said that the Central League could not control its branches. But this contention, in view of the facts, could not be sustained. So far as he could learn, the League did control its branches whenever it thought fit to do so. He could read to the House various communications sent by Mr. Harrington, the secretary of the Organization, to local branches, giving directions, and in some cases administering rebuke. According to the reports published in United Ireland, it appeared that at the meeting of the Drogheda, St. Lawrence Gate, branch in January, 1886— A letter was read from Mr. T. Harrington, M.P., as secretary of the Executive, announcing that where a branch of the League was established and duly affiliated in any parish, no new branch would be formed in said parish without the consent and approval of the branch so registered. At a meeting of the Aghaboe branch, held in February, 1885— Rev. James Cosgrave in the chair, the hon. secretary was directed to communicate with Mr. Harrington, Central Executive, as to the time it would suit him to send down an organizer for the better working of the branch. In The Munster News of the 5th of May, 1888, there appeared the following report:— The general public meeting of the re-establishment of the City of Waterford Branch of the Irish National League was held in the Town Hall on Tuesday evening at half-past 8 o'clock. Rev. Father Sheehan, Adm., the Cathedral, presided. The chairman said they had something like 200 members and they were going on the lines laid down by Mr. Harrington. He had no doubt but that they would soon have 500 members. As regarded the old League, it was a very unfortunate thing it was suppressed. He might tell them now that about a week before it was suppressed he called on Mr. Harrington and asked him to give it another trial, and he (the chairman) 'wired' to Mr. John Kelly, their treasurer, that if he and two or three others came up and had an interview with Mr. Harrington it might not be suppressed. As they all knew, the League was suppressed, but now that it was re-established he had no doubt but that they would work it in a way that the central branch would have no fault to find with them. Whatever rules they laid down they must submit to them. Having regard to those reports, it might be taken as quite clear that the central body did exercise control over the local branches. At the recent banquet Mr. Parnell asserted that the National League and the Irish Parliamentary Party never had anything to do with the Plan of Campaign. Some very prominent Members of the Irish Parliamentary Party had certainly been very actively engaged in promoting the Plan of Campaign. Mr. Parnell said— When the Plan of Campaign was originally started in October, 1886, I was not able to express an opinion about it. I was ill, dangerously ill, and if I had been in a position to advise about it I candidly admit to you I should have advised against it. I always thought it would be most successful in protecting the Irish tenants from eviction; but I considered and still consider, that there were features in the Plan of Campaign and in the way in which it was necessary that it should be worked which would have had a bad effect on the general political situation—in other words, upon the national question. Although none of these murders had then been committed, Mr. Parnell, a little further on, said— When I was able to speak about the matter in the beginning of 1887 it was too late For my action. I considered that, as any mischief that could possibly have resulted from the Plan of Campaign had taken place, it would be better for me to leave the tenants to reap the fruits of the successful organization which was set on foot. But I stipulated for four conditions. And the last of these was that there should be moderation, conspicuous moderation, in speech and action with reference to the carrying out of this Plan. On his own showing Mr. Parnell saw that the National League was criminal in its action, but he would not advise any interference with it. But whatever Mr. Parnell might say, Mr. Dillon, Mr. O'Brien, and Mr. Parnell's other followers had entirely repudiated this renunciation on Mr. Parnell's part of the Plan of Campaign, to which they had always adhered. And what was the Plan of Campaign? It was not merely a plan to aid and rescue deserv- ing Irish tenants. It was a plan that worked by coercion, by putting compulsion upon every tenant on a property; and this was proved by the charge of Chief Baron Palles, who said— I have before me a print of a publication in United Ireland upon the 23rd of October, 1886, and I find some passages which show, I think—it is a thing for you to determine as a matter of fact, but which would appear to me to show that the arrangement of the majority of the tenants, once the Plan of Campaign was adopted on an estate, should be coercion upon all the other tenants, oven those who had not agreed to it. Therefore, it was clear, as the Chief Baron said a little further on, that the Plan of Campaign was in its essence against the spirit of personal liberty. The Plan could only be carried out by means of Boycotting, and that involved great danger of crime. The Bishop of Limerick, although he had been a Home Ruler from the days of Mr. Butt, entirely repudiated the principles of the Plan of Campaign, and said— With an excitable people like ours, you cannot mark a man out to be Boycotted without terrible risk of crime, and even of the crime of murder. It was said on behalf of Mr. Dillon that he was merely endeavouring to assist the tenants of Ireland in a legitimate way, and that his crime was a political one; but let him be judged by his own language. On December 5, 1886, he made a violent speech at Castlereagh, in which he said— I want to say a word of warning to the men who in the present struggle are thinking of taking the side of the landlords and oppressors of the people, and that warning is this, that there is no man in Ireland, England, or Scotland who does not know who will have the government in Ireland within the next few years. I tell these people that the time is at hand, and very close at hand too, when the police will be our servants, when the police will be taking their pay from Mr. Parnell, when he will be Prime Minister of Ireland. And I warn the men to-day who take their stand by the side of landlordism, and signalize themselves as the enemies of the people, that in the time of our power we will remember them. And I warn you that in the struggle you are going into this winter your enemies have a day of reckoning at hand. And on August 23, 1887, speaking at Dublin, Mr. Dillon said— I want to say plainly that so far as I go I intend to practise the same form of intimidation (loud cheers) in spite of all proclamations or persecutions they can enforce. (Renewed cheers.) If the operations of the League in the past can be correctly described by 'intimi- dation,' then I say I intend to practise them and preach them. On the same occasion he also said— I am alluding now to the combination among the tenants known as the Plan of Campaign. Now, let me say this—that if there be a man in Ireland—and I do not believe there is—if there is a man in Ireland base enough to back down, to turn his back on the fight now that coercion has passed, I pledge myself, in the face of this meeting, that I will denounce him from public platforms by name, and I pledge myself to the Government that, let that man be whom he may, his life will not be a happy one either in Ireland or across the seas, and I say this with the intention of carrying out what I say and without the slightest fear of the interpretation which will be put upon what I say by the Tory newspapers. In a speech made on September 4, at Ballycoree, Mr. Dillon said— We will put down landgrabbing in Clare. No evicted farm shall be taken in Clare so long as I am at liberty. This was followed, on September 11, within a few miles of the place where the speech was delivered, by the attack on Mr. Sexton's house and the murder of the Constable Whelehan. Speaking at Herbertstown, on April 28, Mr. Dillon said— The object, he confessed, with which the Plan of Campaign was started was to make sure that when any body of tenantry had embarked upon a dangerous and risky course it would not be in the power of any man to betray his fellow. … This was the reason the Plan of Campaign was adopted, for, as they knew perfectly well, when a man went into battle, if that man turned tail when the fight was going on, his officer would shoot him through the head. He supposed his friends the police were watching his words, but they should understand that he only made that remark by way of illustration and not with a view to physical violence, but to show that when a man betrayed those with whom he joined in any undertaking he should be treated as a traitor. He had made only some quotations that could be made affecting Mr. Dillon, and now he would take Mr. O'Brien. He apologized for quoting so much; but he felt called upon to justify in his place every charge he made. Speaking on the 29th of May, this year, Mr. O'Brien said— We will stick to Boycotting, and we will regard every landgrabber and every exterminator as a pest of society and a public enemy more dangerous to society than a leper. He would remind their Lordships that evictions occurred on the property of Lord Lansdowne, not because the tenants were unable to pay their rents, but because they had determined not to pay rent. Mr. O'Brien denounced Lord Lansdowne very strongly, and their Lordships could judge whether his language was innocent— I warn them here to-day, that if Trench dares to lay a robber-hand upon any home of an honest man in Queen's County, we will carry the war into Canada. We will meet him at his palace gates, and we will make the air ring with his fame as an evictor and an exterminator. We will track him night and day the wide world over, and from one end of that Dominion of Canada to another. I promise him, on the part of the Irish in Canada, that wherever he goes he will find the Irish hearts and Irish throats that will hoot him and Boycott him—(cheers)—and hunt him with execrations out of that great and free land. Mr. O'Brien proceeded to put that language into force; but he did not find in the New World that people were as tolerant of violent language as they are on this side of the water. So much for the leaders; and he would now take some of the followers of the Irish Parliamentary Party. On the 23rd of January, 1887, Mr. Cox, M.P., speaking at Newmarket, said— In the present agitation it was decided that evicted farms should be idle on the landlord's hands, and that the wretches who took a vacant farm should have matters made too hot for them. There was manhood and strength enough left to see that no contemptible creature in the shape of a landgrabber should take a vacant farm. There was not much difference between the landgrabber and the emergency man. Unfortunately, on the 13th or 14th of February following, John Byers, a care-taker, at Sixmilebridge, in the County Clare, a few miles from Newmarket, was shot dead on returning from the railway station. In a charge delivered by the Chief Baron several speeches were referred to. He would quote to their Lordships a few lines of these speeches. A certain Francis Tully, who was on the same platform as Mr. Blunt and who was a member of the National League, at Woodford used this language:— Cut off their supplies, cut off the tools of landlordism. Have none of them running behind backs to that blind Lewis. I would give them a dose of my medicine pills as hard as ever they got in their life. And later on, in another speech, Tully said— However, I am glad to see such an assembly before me. I hope that some other professional men will take up the position which I hold, and continue to administer the medicine during my absence, and I tell you honestly it is not for a certain class only that I use medicine at all. It is not for you, because you do not require any of it, but I use it for landgrabbers and for the tools of landlordism, and for those who support landgrabbers. Now, with reference to the grabber who holds this farm which belongs to the widow Dempsey, he used to have Peelers around him, and I was quite astonished to find the police had left him. What has he for his protection now? He has two dogs. Well, I hope and trust that I will be in a position to say from this platform, when it will be erected again to reinstate the widow and orphans, I hope to be able to say that these two dogs bit him on the roadside. Now, fellow-countrymen, we professional men are all very good in our way, but what is the use of a dozen professional men another way? I hope you will have another Saunders's Fort, and when the police and the red fellows come, it may be they will get hotter medicine than they did before. You will find my office there at Woodford, and you will find plenty of medicine for all classes of your enemies and you will be directed how to use it. Of that language the Chief Baron said— Gentlemen, if an indictment were framed against Mr. Tully for these words as an incitement to assassination, no Judge could withhold the case from the jury. That was the case which he had to lay before their Lordships. He had pointed out that the branches, the leaders, and the members of the League had used language which, in his opinion, was calculated to lead to violence and crime. He had laid before their Lordships the facts with regard to these murders which were known to the public, and he wanted to know what was the answer. Surely the time had come when some evidence should be produced as to the innocence of the League. If there was such evidence, let the League produce it. If his noble Friend was convinced of the innocence of the League, that it was not connected with crime, that the leaders of the League were not connected with crime, let him tell their Lordships what were the facts on which he based his opinion. He did not take the words "connected with crime" in a mere literal sense, and he was convinced that their Lordships would not use them in that sense. Their Lordships would place their own interpretation upon the words. They knew perfectly well what the meaning of being "connected with crime" was. They all detested crime in the abstract; but that was not enough. If a man wished to put down crime and detested it he would, if an honest man, separate himself from it, denounce it by every means in his power, and have nothing to do with an association or with men who lent themselves to acts and principles which led to crime. It was not enough that the League should merely say that it did not like crime. He was not aware that it had even said that much. But, even if it had, the question was—Did the League profit by crime, and did the Plan of Campaign work through the means which crime and crime alone could furnish? Was it true that in County Kerry there prevailed such a state of things that it was perfectly useless to try a man for murder, although it was perfectly well known that murders had taken place? Was it true that a murderer, so long as he could assure himself of being tried in Kerry, felt himself perfectly safe? If he had wanted to denounce the Plan of Campaign, and the leaders of the League, if he had wanted to denounce such language as they had been using lately, he could have found any amount of evidence to support him in the speeches of Mr. Gladstone and the Liberal Party prior to the year 1886. But he had purposely avoided doing anything of the sort; he had purposely avoided referring to anything that could be called ancient history, and had limited himself entirely to transactions which had taken place within the last two years, and to documents and proofs which were in the hands of all their Lordships. That was his case, and if no answer was given, and none had been given hitherto, it was not too much to say that there was very strong circumstantial evidence directly connecting the National League with crime.

After a pause,


My Lords, I paused before I rose to follow the noble Earl behind me because I wished to see whether any other noble Lord would address your Lordships, and in doing so would make any charges against myself which it would be necessary for me to meet. But, as I found that no one had risen, I felt bound at once to address your Lordships. The noble Earl in his speech has said nothing, as far as I can gather, that makes it necessary for me to repudiate any feeling of connivance at, or even approval of, crime. I be- he has avoided any insinuation of that sort; and I do not think it is necessary for me to assure your Lordships that, as in the past so now I have the strongest abhorrence of crime; that I detest the methods by which much intimidation has gone on in Ireland; and that I have not in the slightest degree altered the view with regard to crime which I held when I had the honour to be Her Majesty's Representative in Ireland. The noble Earl appealed to me particularly with regard to the National League. Now, I am not here as a defender of the National League. I have often had to resent and condemn action on the part of the National League, and I have also had to condemn speeches by many of its leading members. I do not now approve all the actions of the National League. And I will say this—that I consider the existence of a powerful Body like the National League in Ireland is abnormal, and that in a properly regulated society such a Body ought not to exist. I admit that it is not a healthy sign to find a powerful Body existing in that country which interferes with and regulates principles and private relations of life. I consider that to be an unhealthy sign as to the condition of the country. I have often been accused and attacked because, when I was responsible for the government of Ireland, I did not put down the National League. I freely confess, as I have often done before, that that advice was given to me on many and many occasions. But I never considered it my duty to adopt that advice. There were three reasons why I thought it would have been wrong on my part to adopt that advice. The first was that, as far as I knew, the National League in its organization was a perfectly legal organization. The second was that, if I had wished to deal with the National League, I should have met with enormous difficulties. I should have stirred up against the Government the feelings of the masses of the Irish people. I was well aware that the League had its roots in nearly every village in Ireland; and I knew that even in Ulster it existed in great power in many places. It was supported by many Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, by the great mass of the clergy of that Church, and I felt that it had the sympathy and support of the masses of the people. I therefore felt that it would have been a Herculean task to try, even if I wished, to put down the League. I had a third reason. It was that, so far as I knew, history told us that whenever an association such as this, which had the support of the great bulk of the people, had been put down by law, another was sure to rise on its ashes in a different form, but practically with the same influence and objects. I therefore conceived that it was my duty to deal with the League as I should have dealt with everybody in Ireland—namely, that if they offended against the law they should then be prosecuted. That was the manner in which, I think, it would have been right to deal with the National League in Ireland. I am quite aware that the Government took a different course. I do not want to go into that, or to consider whether they have been successful in the task on which they have entered. I am afraid that from their own admissions they have not succeeded in putting down this powerful and influential body in Ireland. The noble Earl stated that in a speech which I made lately in Wales I said that I did not consider that the National League was directly connected with crime. I have not the words I used with me, but I shall give them substantially.


I was in Scotland at the time, and read the speech in The Scotsman; I find the same report in The Freeman's Journal, and I find nothing in other papers inconsistent with it. I have taken great pains to verify the quotations I have made.


I do not complain of the noble Earl's rendering of my speech. I said that I did not consider that the National League was directly connected with crime, and that it was against the interests of the National League to be connected with crime. I still hold that opinion. The noble Earl holds a very different opinion; he quoted several recent cases of murder, and said that members of the National League took part in those outrages. I have little doubt that he may be right; I have no means of verifying his statement. But what I maintain is that because individual members of that body take part in outrages it is not fair or right or just to accuse the central body of being connected with these outrages or with crime. That is the proposition I maintain, and the noble Earl has said nothing in his speech which makes me take a different view. He has quoted two most terrible cases of murder in Kerry. As far as the National League went it was weaker in the County of Kerry, and its influence over the branches there was less than in almost any other part of Ireland. The National League, I believe, has been suppressed in Kerry, Clare, three baronies in Cork, two baronies in Galway, and two in Wexford. In the rest of Ireland this association, which according to their proclamation the Government consider a dangerous association, is allowed to hold its meetings and to carry on its works. I presume from that that the Government themselves do not consider that all crime in Ireland is connected with the National League, or they would take a very different course. In Kerry, where crime has, unfortunately, existed to a greater extent than in any other part of Ireland, the National League is weak. In other parts, as in Tipperary, where it is more powerful, there has been exceedingly little crime. Therefore, the proposition of the noble Earl is not proved even by statistics. He says that he requires me to prove my case. I say that it is for him to prove his case, and that he has not sufficiently shown that the central League in Dublin is connected with crime. I fully admit that some of the members of the National League have committed crime; but the noble Earl himself gave an instance in which the National League in Dublin was unable to control its branches. He quoted the case of Waterford, where, after an edict came from the secretary of the central body, the people laughed at the edict and would not obey it at all. That is a proof that the National League is not so powerful as to be able to control every branch of the body throughout Ireland. I referred to-day to the evidence taken before the Commission that was presided over by a noble Friend behind me. This is the evidence of the Resident Magistrate (Mr. Considine), a very able Roman Catholic gentleman, who had been in Kerry and at Tralee for a very long time— 1446. Lord Milltown: Then I suppose, on the whole, you would be of opinion that the prevalence of these Moonlighting bands adds greatly to the power and authority of the League in your district?—Yes. 1447. Mr. Neligan: In point of fact, adds sanction to their orders?—Yes. I should not wish to be taken as saying that the League itself engages in the outrages; but this outer association take upon themselves to vindicate or carry out— 1448. Lord Milltown: The unwritten law?—Yes. 1449. The President: I suppose it would be the game of the League at present to put down outrages?—Yes; I think they would desire to do so. 1450. Only these have got out of their hands?—Yes. In my judgment, for the last twelve months or more, the Central League have been doing their utmost to stop these outrages; but I think it has gone outside their power to do so. 1451. Mr. Neligan: Are outrages still continuing in your district?—Yes, Now, I have never said that some of the branches of the National League have not broken away from central control, or that individual members have not committed crime. I regret that they often have, but what I said was that the central League had nothing to do with crime. Another gentleman, the District Inspector at Castleisland, Mr. William Davis, who knew the district well, was examined before the Commission. The following is the evidence of this gentleman— 21,483. I am glad to hear from you that Mr. Davitt, who has been rather a celebrated character, had denounced outrage?—Oh, yes. He came down specially to denounce outrage. 21,484. And you believe that it had effect?—I should say it had. I was present myself at the meeting, and I observed that a number who had come to listen to him, owing to his being Mr. Davits, walked away. 21,485. What class of people?—The very fellows that commit outrages. 21,486. Was this shortly after the Curtin murder?—It was shortly after. 21,487. Did Mr. Davitt show any sympathy with the family in their misfortune?—I am quite sure that he sympathized with them; and I know members of the party to which he belongs who were present there at the funeral, and denounced the outrage, and did everything they could to prevent them being Boycotted. There was also a gentleman, named Mr. Webb, who went down from Dublin and addressed the people on Sunday there, and denounced the outrage, and endeavoured, as far as he possibly could, to remove the Boycotting and annoyance to which they were subjected. These two witnesses, of irreproachable character, gave distinct evidence that the National League endeavoured to put down outrages. I am not sure whether Mr. Davitt was a member of the League; but Mr. Webb was a member, and he was sent down to that district to denounce outrages and try to prevent the cruel Boycotting to which the Curtins were subjected. The noble Earl said he put a Question to me last year as to the condition of Kerry, and that I did not answer it, and that I subsequently signed a protest with others of your Lordships, in which I stated that I did not consider there was sufficient ground for the Bill which was passed by this House. I cannot recollect why it was that I did not then answer him in my place, but I am quite ready to do so now. I should certainly not have said that the County of Kerry last year, or now, would be a proper place for the Government to try an agrarian crime. I do not think that the people of Kerry are yet in such a condition in respect to law and order that you could depend on their giving a just verdict in a case of that kind. But what the Government might have done was to have sent the case to be tried at the Winter Assizes at Cork, or somewhere else, by a change of venue under the ordinary law. From 1885, when Mr. Gladstone's Government went out, until the Act was passed last year, the noble Marquess went on governing Ireland without resorting to exceptional methods. There would have been no difficulty in obtaining verdicts at Cork at the Winter Assizes; but even if that were not so, what I maintain is that it is of no use trying to remedy the deep-seated evils which exist in Ireland, as shown in one way by the influence of National League, and in another way by the symptoms of crime, by the old method of repressive legislation. I have said before that I feel as strongly in regard to crime, and I desire to see it, and also Boycotting, put down in Ireland as much as any of your Lordships can do; but where we differ is as to the means and the method of accomplishing that. I say that we have had the experience of 100 years of trying to cure this terrible evil in Ireland by repressive legislation, and that all our experience shows that that method has hopelessly and completely failed. What we do feel is, that we must meet this difficulty as promptly as possible, in the only way in which it can be met, by trying some, other method, and that, I venture to say, is by throwing the responsibility of governing them- selves on the Irish people. That is the only method, and the Government by their policy of last year were closing their eyes to the fact. We have had Government after Government following on the lines which they adopted, and they have all failed. I myself have held Office in two Governments which followed that course. We all failed, and I believe the Government of the noble Marquess will also fail. They are only aggravating the evil. ["No!"] Yes, they are only increasing the evil. I maintain—and I have had some considerable experience in these matters—that all action of this character tends to irritate and to aggravate the evil which we all deplore.


was understood to say that the noble Earl had not answered the question which he asked him. Upon what had he based his conviction that the National League was not connected with crime in Ireland?


My Lords, I am not going to be tempted by the concluding observations of the noble Earl to enter into a Home Rule debate; it would be out of place, and in the meantime I shall not attempt it. I must express my surprise that the noble Earl sat still for a moment and waited, as he tells us, for somebody to attack him. The able and temperate speech of my noble Friend (the Earl of Camperdown) was a challenge to the noble Earl to defend another speech which he had made, and, according to the ordinary rules of discussion, it was for him to reply to the speech of my noble Friend. Now, I ask any noble Lord who is impartial on this subject whether the noble Earl has answered the speech made by the noble Earl who sits on this side of the House? My noble Friend quoted twice the famous phrase of Mr. Gladstone, that "crime dogs the steps of the Land League." Now, it is all very well for the noble Earl and others of his former Colleagues to say that they have changed their minds as to the policy which they pursued in Ireland. They are perfectly entitled to change their policy, but to change their opinion upon matters of fact and on matters intimately connected with the Decalogue is a much more serious matter. Their tone in speaking of the question of crime in Ireland, and the connection between it and those political organizations which are now working in their favour, is a tone absolutely different from that which they adopted when they were themselves in Office. The noble Earl says that he has no sympathy with crime. Nobody suspects the noble Earl of having any sympathy with crime as such; that is not the question; the question, I think, is whether he and his Friends take their due part as subjects of the Queen in denouncing and discouraging it when they know it to exist. The noble Earl says that my noble Friend accused not only the Land League generally, as a political organization, of connection with crime, but also accused the head men and leaders in Dublin of personal complicity with crime. My noble Friend did nothing of the sort. I quite agree with the noble Earl that it would be unfair to say that because crime dogged the footsteps of the League any particular individual was therefore an accomplice in any particular crime. I repudiate such an argument altogether. But what is the reason of this change of tone on the part of the noble Earl and his Friends? When they were in Office they denounced as loudly as we do the crime that dogged the steps of the Land League, and they took strong, stringent, and I may almost say, violent measures to repress it. What is the reason, then, of this change? My Lords, I think that the reason is what I have seen from the speeches of the noble Earl himself. I hardly ever open a paper without seeing that the noble Earl is on the stump, and I have read with great amusement a speech which he made at Sheffield, in which I found these words—"All Liberal Unionists"—that is to say, we who refuse to turn round with him and to unsay everything that we have said in the last 20 years. Nothing can exceed the virulence with which we are daily attacked. The noble Earl is not a virulent man; he is much the most gentle of all his Colleagues, and he always speaks as a perfect Gentleman; but I find these words—"All Liberal Unionists we consider as Liberals on sufferance." May I ask him on whose sufferance? Is it on that of the noble Earl and his Colleagues? Well, I am not particularly anxious myself—


Will the noble Duke go on reading, and he will see to whom I am referring?


I am going to read on, and directly, but I am now taking these words by themselves— Who are the men with whom I have the honour to be associated? Is John Bright a Liberal on sufferance? Is Lord Hartington, or Mr. Goschen, or Mr. Chamberlain a Liberal on sufferance? The noble Earl went on to say that the Liberal Unionists were Liberals on sufferance because they were afraid to move as a body lest they might endanger the existence of a Tory Government, and that when it came to an election they would not vote for those measures which were considered necessary for the great Liberal cause. The noble Earl says that we dare not do certain things lest that alliance should be broken up. Exactly; and the noble Earl is a member of another alliance, less honourable, I venture to say—an alliance with the men they have but lately been denouncing for their complicity with crime, for disloyalty to the Empire, and for desiring to separate Ireland from the dominions of the Queen. That is the alliance of which the noble Earl is a member, and he refrains from denouncing crime because he is afraid of breaking up that alliance. The noble Earl has given a perfect explanation and a true one. He ceased to denounce crime because those great organizations whose steps are marked and dogged by crime are working in the interests of the Party with which he is associated. I must say I think that this is a very dangerous position for a man of honour and statesmanship to place himself in. In dealing with crime the ultima ratio is not force but public opinion, and public opinion, the accepted opinion of the people, is that those who fail to denounce crime are doing their best to encourage it; they are adding to the wounds of Ireland as no other people could add to them, however much they may invent plausible and false phrases. My Lords, I am not going to prolong this debate to-night, because, as far as I am aware, the noble Earl has made no answer to the speech of my noble Friend. I have read the evidence in the three cases of great crime, of cruel and treacherous murder, which have been referred to. One of them is a case which is so full of horror that I wonder that even the Parnellite Liberals have made no expression of horror and indignation. That is the murder in Kerry of the old man Quirke, whose only crime, I believe, was that he was nursing a small farm for a relation who was in Australia. He was told that he would have to give it up; he refused, and he was shot in open daylight. He lay in great pain and torture; he was in a place where he had no access either to the services of a physician for his body or to the administration of a priest for the comfort of his soul, and your Lordships know what that is to many of the people of Ireland, who have been brought up in the Roman Catholic religion. He lay like this till he died; and this was due to the action of the agents of the Land League. [Earl SPENCER: Oh!] The noble Earl says "Oh," and he told us that the leaders in Dublin wore not accomplices in that crime. Very likely not; but did they publish any proclamation denouncing a crime of that kind? Have they exercised the power which they possess of dissolving that branch of the League? I have never yet heard that they have done so. My Lords, these are things that cry to Heaven for vengeance, and yet what do we hear the Parnellite Liberals running about the country denouncing? Why, they denounce the Government for treating with perfect impartiality the gentleman who is well off and the poor man; these Liberals tell us that a man clothed in broadcloth is not to be treated like a man who is clothed in frieze. Is that one of the new doctrines which, under the teaching of the Parnellites, my noble Friend and his Colleagues have adopted? But it is not merely silence which, in the circumstances, is most significant; it is not merely silence, or partial silence; it is not merely the language of vituperation against the administration and administrators of the law; it is the invention of phrases intended to hide crime which is most mischievous. Take the phrase of Boycotting. Boycotting is not intended to mean simply exclusive dealing. It is the forcing of others not to do what they have a right to do. Every man has a right to take to exclusive dealing if he likes. The Conservative landowner, if he is fool enough to do so, may deal only with Conservative shopkeepers; the Liberal landowner may, if he chooses, deal only with Liberal shopkeepers. That is exclusive dealing, but Boycotting is not exclusive dealing. Let me point out the difference between what was held formerly on this subject by the Parnellite leaders and what is held now. Here is what Mr. Gladstone said of it— In the first place, it is combined intimidation; in the second place, it is combined intimidation made use of for the purpose of destroying private liberty of choice by fear of ruin and starvation; and in the third place, that being what Boycotting is in itself we must look to this, that the creed of Boycotting, like every other creed, requires a sanction, and the sanction of Boycotting, that which stands in the rear of Boycotting, and by which alone Boycotting is made effective, is the murder which is not denounced. That is the complaint which we make who have not changed our opinion as to the abominable nature of this crime, and who are determined, as far as we can, to support a Government which is resolved to secure the liberty of the people against the most atrocious tyranny ever known.


My Lords, I am glad the noble Earl has had an opportunity of making an explanation. He tells us that what he intended to say was that the National League was not responsible for crime as a body, though individual members of the League might be responsible. He also said he did not think it was for the interest of the League that crime should be committed, which is a mere matter of opinion. I am very glad that was what he said; but everyone who read his speech read it with utter astonishment, and I think what appeared in the papers was calculated to do enormous mischief. The noble Earl is reported to have said that he repudiated the idea that the National League was responsible for the crimes committed in Ireland. Such a statement of such a high authority is likely to do incalculable mischief. It has been quoted over and over again in reply to anyone who in private conversation might say that those crimes were to be traced to the League. It has been said, "Here is one who knows Ireland better than any other man, and he says that is not the case." But after the explanation we have heard to-day that argument is knocked over. I think that the crimes committed in Ireland gave the League any power which it possessed in the country, and that if there had been no crime the League would have had no power.


My Lords, it is a little remarkable that the noble Earl should have been the last of those sitting on that Bench who urged that exceptional legislation was necessary for Ireland. The noble Earl now tells us that by means of the Winter Assizes we have all that is required for restoring law and order in that country. And yet the noble Earl not only in public but in this House addressed reproaches to us for not strengthening our hands by taking power to restore law and order in Ireland. In January, 1886, after the last Lord Lieutenancy of the noble Earl, being then full of that great experience which has been justly appealed to and to which I myself paid a tribute of respect on many occasions, he reproached the Government for not having taken powers earlier during 1885 for maintaining law and order, and indeed urged its importance then. He was then, I suppose, on the verge of the great change which has since taken place, but perhaps had not made up his mind to take the plunge. He addressed us in these words— I do not say they were wrong in not renewing the whole of the Crimes Act, but certain portions of it which in my opinion and in that of the late Government were essential for the maintenance of law and order in Ireland. I never heard from any reports of the law officers before I left Ireland that the ordinary jurors were to be relied on, and I challenge the noble Marquess to produce evidence that on entering Office his Government had reason to believe that ordinary juries could be relied on. I believe it was a most serious risk to go without the power of changing the venue. I greatly fear that the condition of Ireland with regard to intimidation and Boycotting is more serious than it has ever been before. I maintain that it has increased tenfold or a hundredfold since I had the responsibility of the Irish Government. Take Wexford.… At this moment is it free from it? I do not want to dwell much on this painful subject of crime. It is a very serious thing that the law should not be maintained in that country, and it is essential that a policy should be pursued by which law and order should be restored and maintained in Ireland. These words were addressed to us for not having carried into effect that part of the Crimes Act which it was the intention of the noble Earl in 1885 to recommend to the adoption of Parliament. But you cannot accuse us of two different things at the same time. We are told, on the one hand, that we are not taking steps to maintain law and order in Ire- land, and we are told on the other that there is little crime in that country. It has been shown conclusively and admitted by the noble Earl to-night that, if not the centre, the branches of the League have been instrumental in bringing about the terrible crimes referred to. What we say is this—that the language used by the League and the relation in which it stands to Boycotting and placing people in a position in which they are exposed and pointed out to the whole neighbourhood are invariably followed by crimes, and sometimes by terrible crimes. The Government are merely doing now what the noble Earl admitted in January, 1886, was essentially necessary, and without which he asserted that law and order could not be preserved. He now refers us for the good government of Ireland to those who offer no amnesty to their opponents, but will take vengeance on their children's children; we hold that those who thus hold up to execration all who are opposed to them are not the people to whom we should wish to hand over the government of Ireland.


My Lords, perhaps your Lordships will allow me to recall to your minds the circumstances which attended the expression of opinion given by my noble Friend in 1886. The Government of that day, presided over by the noble Marquess opposite, had for several months taken no steps whatever to re-new the exceptional legislation which existed before they came into Office, and, what is more, they had announced more than once that they did not intend to take any steps. At the beginning of 1886, so far as my memory serves me, crime was rife in Ireland, and my noble Friend was of opinion at that time that the Government ought to have taken steps for the purpose of repressing it. However, the Government was changed for other reasons, and no Crimes Act was brought in by the Government of which I was a Member, and so matters went on until 1887. In 1887 there was no exceptional amount of crime, and it was our business then to deal with facts as they were, and I do not see why my noble Friend should be reproached for changing his opinion. I am perfectly free to admit there were other reasons. We had adopted a policy entirely antagonistic to the policy of noble Lords op- posite. They may say that our policy was wrong, but I do not see that that is any reason for reproaching my noble Friend. The noble Duke near me (the Duke of Argyll) treated us to a very fervid oration, as is his usual wont, in which he talked a great deal of the virulence with which his Party had been attacked. I do not much like the word "virulence," but I should say we have been attacked with quite as much virulence, though I do not think we have shown the same amount of sensitiveness that has been shown by the noble Duke, who seemed quite concerned when the fact was brought to his notice, that he and his friends are not now acting with the Liberal Party. Then my noble Friend brought a more serious accusation against us. He deliberately brought against us the accusation that we had not denounced crime. I simply say that my noble Friend is not justified by the facts in saying that. The noble Duke has denounced crime in loud tones, and everybody knows why he has done so. There is a denunciation of crime in which every one will join, and there is a denunciation of crime which is connected with political reasons. I assert that there is no noble Lord in this House who sympathizes with crime. The sympathy with crime in this House is nil, and we have repeatedly denounced crime. More than that, noble Lords opposite know that we have no interest, either political or Party, which can be served by the existence of crime in Ireland. My noble Friend seems to insinuate that we have some interest to serve in not denouncing crime. There is not one of us who does not feel that such crimes as those that have been referred to are as atrocious and disgraceful as any that could be committed, but I do not think it is necessary that we should make speeches day after day in order to let that be known. What the noble Earl has brought before us is a very different matter. He has taken an opportunity, which coincides, not, I think, very fortunately, with the commencement of a certain trial, of making a speech for the defence in that House. My noble Friend behind me did not merely say, as the noble Duke put into his mouth, that the leaders of the National League are not connected with crime. What he stated was that the central organization did not pro- mote crime. I contend that there has been no evidence that the central organization has been connected with crime, and that the object of the League is to cause crime to be committed. What are those crimes? They are, unfortunately, atrocious agrarian crimes. But they certainly have not existed only since the National League came into existence. They are the product of the state of society in Ireland for generations past; and I believe that the existence of such a society as the National League is far less calulated to promote agrarian crime, and far more likely to cause agrarian crime to diminish, than the existence of those terrible secret organizations which pervaded the whole country during the greater part of the century, and which certainly caused crime not less atrocious and far more frequent than any which, I am happy to say, now takes place in Ireland. The National League, and the Land League in the same manner, came forward in the open day. Its operations are visible to all mankind. Its discussions are reported in the Irish newspapers, and I am free to confess that even if there are branches of the National League that have been connected with crime, I believe it is far better for Ireland that the agitation on the land should take this form than it should take the form of the cruel secret societies which at one time existed all over Ireland. This sympathy with crime is chronic in Ireland, and the melancholy part of it is that it should be chronic. I think the noble Duke has very happily put his finger on the cause when he said "You do not want merely that the law should condemn and put down crime. What you want is that public opinion should be against crime." That is exactly what you have not got in Ireland, for, unfortunately, there still exists in Ireland a most extraordinary reluctance on the part of the people to assist in a Court of Law. I have known most remarkable cases in which witnesses dared not come forward to give evidence, and that is only due to the unfortunate system of government that has prevailed in Ireland. I know perfectly well that the policy which we, believing it to be the true one, recommend is unpopular in this House, and I agree with the noble Duke that this is not the time to bring that matter before the House. But I will say that we are not at all afraid of being accused of sympathy with crime because we act in common with men many of whom I believe are actuated by as pure and as patriotic motives as any noble Lord in this House.


said, that the people of Ireland had no sympathy whatever with crime other than agrarian. That there was a certain amount of sympathy with agrarian crime was undoubtedly true, but it was no new thing. It was an unhappy condition of things, but it existed just as much, nay, even more, when Ireland had a separate Parliament. He did not see how the setting up of a Parliament in Ireland again would remove this sympathy with agrarian crime. What, however, he and his friends complained of was that the Opposition were making political allies of men who were deeply implicated in crime and openly avowed that it was their policy to hand over Ireland to these very men. Certain evidence given before the Cowper Commission threw a good deal of light on the connection between the National League and Boycotting. County Inspector Davis certainly said that he believed that the National League was opposed to crime, and, with regard to Boycotting, he did not attribute it to the League at present, because he said the system was so well organized since the Land League that it was not necessary for the National League to interfere at all. In answer to further questions, the County Inspector said outrages and Boycotting had the same end in view, to carry out the unwritten law, and if Boycotting was successful outrages became unnecessary.


said, he thought it strange if Her Majesty's Government believed the National League to be connected with and responsible for these crimes, that the large powers of the Coercion Act had not been used to proclaim and put down the League. The noble Lord who introduced this subject had attempted to connect the central body with these crimes, but no attempt whatever had been made by the Government to put down the central body. The branches in two counties and small portions in three other counties had alone been proclaimed. Why was this? It was because in their hearts the Mem- bers of the Government did not believe that the League was a source of crime. They knew that the source was much deeper, and due to the miserable history and misgovernment of the country. Even the Chief Secretary in the House of Commons on the previous night had admitted that many of the laws passed by English statesmen for Ireland had been dictated by greed and cruelty. These unhappy agrarian outrages were the result of the legislation of the past, when Ireland was governed in the interest of a small Protestant majority, and they would continue so long as the policy of oppression and repression was continued. He and his friends believed that there was only one alternative to this policy, and that was to let the laws of Ireland be made by an authority which would secure the confidence of the people. They abandoned in despair the policy of the past, admitting that it could never succeed in effecting what was the great and substantial object in view—to turn the Irish into a loyal people. Reluctantly, and not without shame, he and his Friends admitted that they had tried every expedient of force and had failed. They gave up force as being useless and hopeless, and proposed instead to place faith and trust in the Irish people.


My Lords, I rise for one purpose, and one purpose alone, and that is to express my great regret that this debate has taken place to-night, having regard to the fact of a certain trial having begun yesterday in the Courts of Justice. As to the merits of that trial I, of course, do not wish to say one word, except that I may perhaps say that the parties concerned do not seem to be very evenly balanced. I cannot but think it is to be regretted that in this House, where we are not perfectly unbiased in regard to these matters, it should have been thought right to enter into a debate, in the course of which speeches, some temperate, but others declamatory, and some official, have been delivered, and where there is not one single person entitled to speak on behalf of those who have been attacked, my noble Friend's (Earl Spencer's) intervention in the debate being due to the personal references made to himself, which led him to point out that the Central Association of the National League was disconnected with crime. I must say it appears to me that the debate may very greatly increase the difficulties which may exist in another place in the administration of justice.

The Marquess of SALISBURY

and the the Earl of CAMPERDOWN rose together.


, who remarked that he wished to make an explanation on personal grounds, ultimately gave way.


My Lords, the charge implied in the speech of the noble Earl is one which is directed not only against the noble Earl who opened the debate, but against the House at large; and, therefore, I have also a right to refer to it. I do not in the least agree with the noble Earl who spoke last in blaming the noble Earl who commenced this discussion. I do not think it has anything whatever to do with the case now being heard. As far as I know, nobody has made the suggestion that the papers which appeared in The Times have anything to do with the murder of the unfortunate man Fitzmaurice. The papers which appeared in The Times, whether they were justified or not, and whether or not Mr. O'Donnell was attacked by them, and whether or not he was attacked justly, have nothing whatever to do with the later crimes which were the subject of observation by the noble Earl to-night. The noble Earl's position is that these crimes, recently committed, show that the National League, as we have it before us, is connected with crime in Ireland. The noble Earl was not disinterring history; he was not dealing with the politics of several years ago; he was dealing with the men we have to contend with now, with the organizations which exist, which destroy the peace of the country, which aggravate every evil in Ireland now. He has dealt with those politicians who give their countenance to such organizations. The question, as I understand it, is this. There is no proof—there could be no proof—that crimes which have been committed were directed or contrived by the Leaders of the Nationalist Party, or the Leaders of the National League, in Ireland; but the state of things is this, that these crimes are committed in furtherance of objects which the Na- tionalist Leaders pursue; that these crimes are committed for the purpose of punishing people whom the Nationalist Leaders denounce; that these crimes are committed to favour the friends of and injure the enemies of the National League; that these crimes are committed by men who are also known to be foremost as members of the National League. We may say, justly, that the Leaders of the Central Organization of the National League sit in an inner room, and have nothing to do with the mode in which its decrees are executed; but that does not alter the fact that the decrees are in favour of a certain policy and against certain men whose offence is land-grabbing, and that if people favour landlords their lives are to be made unhappy. I think that is what Mr. Dillon said. Although the National League may confine its apparent action to innocent occupations, we know that if it were not for the rough effect given to their decrees by the rough executioners outside, their decrees would be perfectly futile and their power in Ireland nothing. At that point I leave it. I will not say, because I do not know, to what extent any individual man, or any body of men, are conscientiously engaged in furthering crime. I only appeal to the terrible suspicion which must always be produced by the application of the proverb, Is fecit qui prodest—"He did it for whom it profiteth." And now, how does this affect the action of our political opponents? Some one suggests that we believe they sympathize with crime, or that they do not denounce crime. I need hardly assure them I repudiate any suggestion of that kind as ridiculous. Nobody makes this suggestion against them; but we say that their whole political power at the present moment depends on the agitation which is maintained by Irishmen in Ireland and in this country, that that agitation owes the whole of its force to the means—and atrocious means—which are employed in its support; that the political force which is thus manufactured is used by the Liberal Party, and that the Liberal Party, though it may denounce crime, though it may hate crime, yet subsists by the support of those to whom crime is by no means odious; and I say that no English Statesmen can, without great danger, not only to their own future usefulness and success, but also to their country's good name, accept the alliance of crime.


My Lords, it would be unworthy of me if I abstained from stating in a single sentence that I share the opinion of the noble Earl (Earl Granville). It is not for me to presume to judge or to express any opinion upon what your Lordships, or any one of your Lordships, may think fit to do; I have no right to do it, and I disclaim any intention of doing it; but I must say that I deeply regret that this debate should have taken place at the moment it has. I can only say for myself that it will make a task already very difficult far more difficult than it was before.


I was sorry, and I must own I was somewhat surprised, to hear what has been just now said by my noble and learned Friend (Lord Coleridge). I myself, as soon as I heard the suggestion dropped by the noble Earl on the Front Bench (the Earl of Kimberley), that this debate might have some bearing on the trial now going on, determined that I would take no part in it; not because I was much impressed by the suggestion, but simply because it was made. My noble Friend who introduced the subject gave Notice of his intention many weeks ago, and the Notice has been standing on the Paper without any idea that it would come on while this or any other trial was pending. I should have supposed it to be quite impossible that anything that has been said to-night on one side or the other could affect those who have to administer justice in the pending trial—either jury or witnesses or Judge. The speeches on either side have been very moderate and unexceptionable in their tone. The noble Duke (the Duke of Argyll) spoke to-night, as he always speaks, with much power, but his speech was not intemperate; and certainly I do not think that any speech which has been made can have any outside effect.


My Lords, I cannot altogether agree with my noble and learned Friend who has just sat down. If there were circumstances which constituted a sufficient reason to deter him from speaking they might have suggested a similar abstention to others, for a week's postponenent of the debate could not have done any irreparable injury to anyone. I do not for a moment suggest that the noble Earl who introduced the subject was actuated by any improper motive. I know he gave the Notice when it could not be known that this trial would be now proceeding, but it was perfeetly competent for the noble Lord to have postponed the matter to a future day. I would deprecate as earnestly as anyone can do the idea that the debate should influence anyone concerned in the administration of justice; but you cannot prevent jurors taking an interest in it. I understand the defence in the action now being tried to be that there is a connection between Parnellism or the Nationalist Party and crime. I understand it was the object of the noble Earl who opened the debate to prove the very same thing. The noble Marquess said the crimes referred to were recent crimes; but the noble Earl went back three years, and therefore to part of the case that is being tried. I do not think there is any object in discussing the matter further; but it does not appear to me to be an unreasonable regret that this debate did not take place after instead of during the trial. I hope and trust that those who are connected with the trial will not permit the speeches to influence their determination of the case. People cannot dismiss things from their minds, and they cannot tell by what their minds are influenced; impressions made by speeches may affect their judgment, although they may have the best will in the world to dismiss such impressions. At all events, I trust that the remarks which have been made by the noble Earl beside me may have the effect of preventing further discussion.

House adjourned at a quarter past Seven o'clock, to Thursday next, a quarter past Ten o'clock.