§ MR. E. ROBERTSON (Dundee)
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieu- 880 tenant of Ireland, Whether, having regard to the public importance of the questions of law and facts raised in the action of "Blunt v. Byrne," he would lay a full and accurate report of the proceedings on the Table of the House?
§ THE CHIEF SECRETARY (Mr. A. J. BALFOUR) (Manchester, E)
The hon. Gentleman has not given me Notice of this Question; but I am of opinion that it would be very desirable if an authentic report could be laid upon the Table. I am not aware that there is any precedent for laying the evidence upon the Table of the House, and I do not think it is possible to do it if our sole authority is newspaper reports. If, on inquiry, I find that any authentic transcript could be put in, I will consider the propriety of laying it on the Table.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary, Whether he is aware that the proceedings against myself in the Parliament of 1880–1885 were laid on the Table of the House, and in my absence and to my detriment?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
I do not know from what source they were taken. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will communicate with me on the subject.
§ MR. BRADLAUGH
It appears from the Papers as printed that some of them, at any rate, were taken from the attorney employed against me.
§ MR. DILLON (Mayo, E.)
asked the Chief Secretary, Whether, in view of the fact that 11 of the jury who tried the case of Mr. Blunt were of opinion that the meeting was a legal meeting, and were in favour of a verdict against the Government, and in view of the principles laid down in the Charge of Chief Baron Palles, the Government did not see their wav to immediately liberate Mr. Blunt?
§ MR. A. J. BALFOUR
The hon. Gentleman asks me to advise the Lord Lieutenant to review the sentence on Mr. Blunt, on the ground that if one juryman had been of a different mind Mr. Blunt would have got a verdict for damages. I answer, in the first place, that the question of the illegality of Mr. Blunt's intentions was never submitted to the jury, being withdrawn from their cognizance at the request of Mr. Blunt's own counsel. In the second place, that the unauthorized gossip on which the hon. Gentleman bases his request could, 881 under no circumstances, be a ground for Executive action. In the third place, that the gossip which has reached me on the subject of the distribution of opinion among the jurymen is of an entirely different character to that which appears to have reached the hon. Member. In the fourth place, that I cannot consider a civil action as providing an appeal against a verdict given in one Criminal Court—[An hon. MEMBER: A verdict?]—and confirmed, on appeal, in another. And, finally, in the fifth place, that, if I did so regard it, the character of the evidence given in Court, and the tenour of the Judge's Charge, must entirely remove any doubts which could have previously been conceived to exist as to the gross illegality of the meeting which Mr. Blunt, in spite of the warnings of the Executive, persisted in attempting to hold.