Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Amendment [3rd March] to Question—
That, Parliament having constituted a Special Commission to inquire into the charges and allegations made against certain Members of Parliament and other persons, and the Report of the Commissioners having been presented to Parliament, this House adopts the Report, and thanks the Commissioners for their just and impartial conduct in the matters referred to them; and orders that the said Report be entered on the Journals of this House."—(Mr. William Henry Smith.)
And which Amendment was—
To leave out from the first word 'House,' to the end of the Question, in order to add the words 'deems it to be a duty to record its reprobation of the false charges of the gravest and most odious description, based on calumny and on forgery, which have been brought against Members of this House, and particularly against Mr. Parnell; and, while declaring its satisfaction at the exposure of these calumnies, this House expresses its regret for the wrong inflicted and the suffering and loss endured, through a protracted period, by reason of these acts of flagrant iniquity,"—(Mr. W. E. Gladstone,)
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ Debate resumed.
§ *(4.5.) MR. JUSTIN M'CARTHY (Londonderry)
Mr. Speaker, I may say that I heard with intense satisfaction the Notice of Motion which has just been given by my hon. Friend the Member for Stockport (Mr. Jennings). It is particularly gratifying if it only shows that there is at least one independent Member on the other side of the House—and that there are more, we shall probably learn hereafter—who has the honesty to declare his conscientious convictions. I am afraid that it will be my duty for a short time to detain the House by some reference to the missing cash books of the London National League. There were two sets of books kept in the London National League office. The first were the regular weekly books containing an account of everything that was done and every order that was made. I am told that every one of those books was sent in to the Commission, and that they were all under the scrutiny of the Judges and of the Court. Therefore, every order that was made which the cash books would record has been under the scrutiny of the three Judges. I am told that one of the cash books is missing. How it comes to be missing I am not able to explain, nor is the Secretary of the National League. He is convinced that when he came into his present office every single book belonging to the National League was in his custody and possession. One of the books may have been lost in transferring the business from one set of premises to another. But neither that book nor any other contained one single entry or one single Minute which could reflect the slightest discredit upon the work of the League, or be of any assistance whatever to hon. Members opposite who are desirous of detecting some complicity with crime. The present Secretary of the National League came into office since I ceased to be President of that Body. Before then, the Secretary was Mr. Frank Byrne; after whom came Mr. M'Sweeney, who is since dead, and ho was succeeded by the gentleman who still holds the office. I mention this matter in order to divest this loss of a single book of all the glamour 263 and mystery with which the fact has been surrounded. Business of grave and serious importance was conducted in connection with the Irish League in Dublin. Upon the Irish League devoted the organisation of the whole agrarian movement. Money had to be found for the defence of tenants against eviction, to supply the means of sheltering evicted tenants against storm and rain—it had not only to feed the hungry and clothe the naked, but sometimes it had to provide funds for the burial of the victims of the landlord and the emergency man. These were the functions of the officers of the Dublin League, and sometimes they had even to deal with disorder. Our business in London was very different. We had merely to look after the registers, to arrange for election contests, to arrange for public meetings in various parts of the provinces, and for the sending down of lecturers into the country. We controlled no large amount of funds. At no time were we in quite a self-supporting position, and occasionally we hail to borrow or beg from the Dublin League for the purpose of carrying out our organisation. Therefore we could have had nothing to conceal from the eye of the community in general. During the years that I was President of the London League I attended its meetings with great regularity. I was seldom absent, and I am in a position to say that neither in regard to the proceedings at any of the meetings, or in the records which were made of them afterwards, was there a single sentence which might not be placed before this House, or read aloud at Charing Cross. Lit me turn now to the charges and allegations upon which the Judges have delivered their Report, and allow me to call attention to one passage in the Report which I think has not been criticised and emphasised as much as it deserves to be in the course of these debates. I refer to the charges concerning the murders in the Phœnix; Park. The Judges say at page 57 of their Report:—The seventh and eighth heads under which Sir Charles Russell has grouped the charges and allegations relate to the Phœnix Park murders. The seventh is 'that the Invincibles were a branch of the Land League, and were organised and paid by Egan, the treasurer of the Land League.'This," the Judges say,Does not appear to be founded so much on the Times' articles in Parnellism and Crime as on 264 passages in the Attorney General's[...] 'O'Donnell v. Walter.'It is very difficult indeed to discover what the exact capacity of the Attorney General was in connection with the Commission. Sometimes he appears as the Attorney General; sometimes as counsel for the Times; and sometimes as a Member of this House. He is not, indeed, three single gentlemen rolled into one, but one single gentleman rolled out into three. He reminds mo of Molière's play of The Miser, in which we are told that the miser kept but one servant, and ho was a man who performed the duties of cook, butler, and gardener. If the master wanted to rebuke the butler for a fault committed by the gardener he found that it was done by the cook, and if he wanted to complain of the cook for something done in the kitchen he was referred to the gardener, who, with his shirt sleeves rolled up, was engaged in setting plants, and declined to be responsible for anything else. The Report goes on to say—We do not think it necessary to set out these passages, as we find that the Invincibles were not a branch of the Land League, and that the Land League did not organise or pay the Invincibles, nor did the respondents or any of them associate with any persons known by them to be employed in the Invincible conspiracy.Now, I want to know if the Attorney General, in any of his capacities, has ever used any expression of regret for having made additional charges on his own account, and for the malignant, stroke which he undoubtedly made off his own bat. The Report proceeds to say—There are passages in the articles included in Parnellism and Crime which Sir C. Russell construed as justifying the eighth head of his summary of the charges, that Mr. Parnell was intimate with the leading Invincibles; that be probably learned from them what they were about when he was released on parole in April, 1882; and that he recognised the Phœnix Park murders as their handiwork; and that, knowing it to be theirs, and partly for his own safety, he secretly qualified and revoked the condemnation which he had thought it politic publicly to pronounce.The Judges dispose of that defence, and they say in clear and unmistakeable terms that Sir Charles Russell put an accurate interpretation upon the language used. Let me read a small portion of the language used, and show the House what it 265 was that the Times said. The Judges say:—This is based upon the following passage of the Times article of 10th March, 1887:— Mr. Parnell was liberated on parole on 10th April. 1882, to attend his nephew's funeral in Paris. He was late for the funeral, but he passed several days in Paris and in London. Messrs, Egan, Sexton, and Healy happened to be in the French capital, while Mr. Justin M'Carthy, the Chairman, and Mr. Frank Byrne, the general secretary of the League; in this country (under its then alias of 'The National Land and Labour League of Great Britain') went out to meet the Irish mail at Willesden the evening of their leader's release; Mr. Frank Byrne, indeed, 'was the first to enter the compartment and greet Mr. Parnell, whom he warmly shook by the band. That gentleman appeared delighted at seeing him,' and expressing (sic) his satisfaction at meeting him. But Mr. Parnell had the inexpressible mortification of informing his friends in both cities, that his parole bound him to refrain from polities. His honour, indeed, was the sole obstacle to the most exhaustive discussion of all pending transactions between the confederates. The heads of Mr. Parnell's several organisations were at hand. They had many vital secrets on their minds. They bad every facility for private conference with their chief. All of them where not distinguished by a chivalrous regard for truth. But on the 24th, Mr. Parnell returned to Kilmainham, his pledge, we are assured, inviolate in letter and in spirit. He had his reward. He was definitely released on the 2nd of May, and hastened to London with his liberated lieutenants. On Saturday, the 6th of May, he escorted Michael Davitt from Portland prison to town. At Vauxhall the chiefs were met by Mr. Frank Byrne and other favoured disciples. The same evening, Lord Frederick Cavendish and Mr. Thomas Burke were stabbed with amputating knives in the Phœnix Park. The knives were brought to Dublin for the purpose by a woman, whom one of the principal assassins believed to be Frank Byrne's wife. The shock to the public conscience was tremendous. On the Sunday, Davitt drew up a manifesto recording his own horror and that of his co-signatories, Messrs. Parnell and Dillon, at the deed.Now, let me ask hon. Members on the other side of the House is there any other possible interpretation of this article in the Times than that Mr. Parnell and myself met Frank Byrne with some criminal purpose in our minds to carry out, and that the result of our meeting was shown in the murders which took place in the Phœnix Park? That is the distinct and obvious meaning which, at the time, was sought to be conveyed and it was only at the last moment when no one any longer believed one word of these charges that the Times agents and counsel endeavoured to shuffle out of the full responsibility for that passage.
266 Let me read what the Judges say. They say—It appears to us that Sir Charles Russell ha s put a correct interpretation upon the language used. We consider that there is no foundation whatever for the allegation that Mr. Parnell was intimate with Invincibles, knowing them to be such, or that he had any knowledge direct or indirect of the conspiracy which resulted in the Phœnix Park murders; and we find the same with reference to all the other respondents. We do not think it necessary to enter into the question whether or not any persons other than those who were convicted were guilty of participation in those crimes, because we are clearly of opinion that none of these respondents were aware, at the time, that any persons with whom they associated were connected with these murders.The charge amounted to an attempt at moral assassination, can find no words to express my detestation of the criminal and cruel levity with which these atrocious charges were concocted and put forward. I read the other day some comments in the Times upon a recent debate in which some reference was made to the charges against Mazzini, and in which the writer asked the light hon. Member for Halifax (Mr. Stansfeld) how lie liked to hear his friend Mazzini compared with assassins like the Phœnix Park murderers. I think my right hon. Friend will remember that there was a time when he was compelled to hear Mazzini likened to assassins, and when he himself was described over and over again as the accomplice of assassins. At that time the right hon. Gentleman was himself denounced, and it was the Times newspaper that denounced him. The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson) in his amusing and variegated speech yesterday, took occasion to pay a high tribute to a man whom I highly respect— my esteemed friend Mr. Michael Davitt. I think that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bury (Sir H. James) in one or two of his speeches has also passed, a well-deserved panegyric upon Mr. Davitt, and has even endeavoured to set him up as the real leader of the Irish people. Now, I have observed that the little game of some hon. Members of this House, and of some writers out of the House, is to endeavour to create some sort of division among the Irish Party by setting up Mr. Davitt as the recognised leader against my hon. Friend the Member for 267 Cork (Mr. Parnell). That little game is not likely to be rewarded by the least success, or to produce even the slightest amount of trouble or confusion either in the mind of Mr. Davitt or my hon. Friend the Member for Cork, or of the Irish people. The Irish people well understand how to respect and revere the sacrifices which have been made and the services which have been rendered both by the one man and the other, but they know that they have found their natural leader, and they intend to keep him. They know what he has dune for them, and for their cause, and for their country. They know that he has done what no man ever did before for the cause of Ireland and the Irish people. They know that he has, out of "chaos and old night" brought daylight and order—out of the wreck and welter of many organisations, some for peace and some for force, has constituted a peaceful and well-ordered Constitutional and progressive movement. He has prevailed on conspiracy herself to come out of her subterranean caverns into the light of day, and move in the movement, and work with the instruments, of a peaceful and Constitutional association. The Irish people appreciate these great, these unparalleled services in the man; and the English people are beginning now to appreciate them as well. And as the Liberal Party in England has one leader and knows no other, so the Irish party and the Irish people recognise no leader and will recognise none but the man who has so served them, who has saved them, and who will bring them yet to the triumph of their national cause.
§ *(4.31.) SIR H. JAMES (Bury, Lancashire)
Mr. Speaker, if in the course of this debate any hon. Member should think it right to remind me that I have been an advocate in relation to the matters which we are now discussing, I can assure him that it will be perfectly unnecessary to recall that fact to my mind. I myself regret that, as one who has been an advocate for one of the parties to this inquiry, I should find it necessary to take any part in tins debate, and if it had met the better judgment of my hon. and learned brethren to abstain from taking any part in this discussion, I can assure them I should have been glad enough to follow their example. My impression is that 268 we are treading very closely upon that line which contains the Motion of Lord Hotham in 1858, which declared that no advocate should take any part in discussions in this House in reference to any proceeding in which he has been professionally engaged. I must confess, while I hold that view, I think that my hon. and learned Friends who have taken part in this debate have done much to mitigate the bad effects I think may arise. So far as I have heard them I feel they have endeavoured to throw off, as far as possible, the prejudices likely to arise from their position as advocates, and I think they certainly have added to the information which has been conveyed to the House. There is another reason why, if I could have my own way, at least if I could take a different view of my duty, I should have abstained from taking part in this debate. I say at once that to come into conflict, almost into personal conflict, with hon. Members whom I have been in the habit of meeting in the discharge of their public duties afford no pleasure to me. I envied my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hackney yesterday, when he made his speech, in being able to add to that zeal, which is a part of his nature, the feeling that he was advocating the cause of men who were his political friends and personal associates. But following the example of my hon. and learned Friends, and also because much has been said in this debate which, to my mind, requires notice from me and cannot be passed entirely unheededly, I ask of the House the same consideration to me, an advocate, as has been shown to my hon. and learned Friends, whilst I attempt to put some subjects before the House that I hope will not be framed in a spirit of animosity, but will add something to the information which has already been placed before this House. Of course, the main consideration we have to deal with is the proposition of the First Lord of the Treasury and that of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian. If justification of those who will record their votes against the Amendment is necessary, I will ask the House to consider what these two propositions are. Sir, it seems to me there are, with respect to these propositions, only two courses open in order 269 to deal properly with the Report which has been laid on the Table. If you follow the course suggested by the Government von accept the Report and make a record of it upon the Journals of the House. Yon might take a different course by accepting the Report presented, and deal with each and every one of the findings. The House might thus express its judgment upon each of these findings, and in so doing accept the view of my right hon. Friend, that palliation and condonation may have entered into the judgment of the House. But there is no middle course between these two procedures, and the error into which my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian has fallen appears to me to be the result of taking that middle course. He suggests that you should accept the Report, and then pass judgment on certain of the findings only. But if that course were adopted, what would be the record in the Journals of the House in respect of the judgment the House has offered on the Report? It would be an expression of gratification which, ungrudgingly I admit, hon. Members have a right to feel in respect of certain findings. Bat it would then pass over all the other findings unheeded, so that we should be treating these findings either as unimportant or erroneous. Is it possible for this House, in the face of all the other findings, to say that they are either immaterial or insignificant, and therefore, we do not express any approval or give any effect to them, or on the other hand, say these are so badly found that they will not accept them as right? cannot conceive that if would lie a, dignified, a logical, or a just course to pursue, to let all the other findings lie where they have fallen as if they were immaterial. There is one satisfaction that should be expressed before we approach the consideration of this Report. I may remind hon. Members that prophecies were made that no impart id judgment could proceed from these learned Judges The House will remember that scurrilous and gross abuse was poured upon each and everyone of these Judges, and they were held up almost to execration. It is a matter on which I offer congratulations to those who differ from me in regard to this question that my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian felt him- 270 self able to offer much praise to the Judges, and I thought that his mind was hovering over the word "impartial." But that word did not fall from him. but my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Hackney, who was better able to repair the omission, if omission there were, used that word, and said that the judgment was the impartial judgment of men whom my right hon. Friend described as being-most anxious and desirous to perform their duty. If this be so, it is impossible for us to deal with the findings as if they were lightly found. You may in respect of palliation and condonation, as my right hon. Friend said, go behind or beside these judgments, but these judgments determine facts; and until yon can get rid of them by matter extraneous to the evidence brought before the Commission, or until, like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, you ask for a new trial, you must accept the findings of the Court, and proceed to deal with them. I do not wish to enter into unnecessary detail as to the findings of the Judges. I should have refrained from going into the matters dealt with in the inquiry bad it not been that certain observations are forced from me by statements made in the course of the debate. May I remind the House that there are certain findings the gravity of which no human being can doubt. Even those who sit below the Gangway will admit that this, for instance, cannot be regarded as a light finding:—We find that the speeches made in which land-grabbers and other offenders against the League were denounced as traitors, and as being as had as informers, the urging young men to procure arms, and the dissemination of the newspapers above referred to, had the effect of causing an excitable peasantry to carry out the laws of the Land League even by assassination.How are we to treat the finding which I will now read?—We find, as to the allegation that the respondents did nothing to prevent crime and expressed no bonâ fide disapproval, that while some of the respondents, and in particular Mr. Davitt, did express bonâ fide disapproval of crime and outrage, the respondents did not denounce the system of intimidation which led to crime and outrage, but persisted in it with knowledge of its effect.I give these two as a sample. If we accept the Amendment of my right hon. 271 Friend, what is this House about to say to these two findings? Are we to say that we regret that these two findings should be placed on the record? I cannot think that any Member of this House will venture to say that they are immaterial. Are we to go behind them and say that they are wrongly found? But when we delegate certain powers to these Judges—as we did to Election Commissioners in 1868—we are bound to accept their findings, and not to go behind them. Having admitted that these Judges have done their duty to the best of their ability and have impartially discharged their task, can we go behind their findings? If I be right in so tracing the steps of this inquiry, how are we to discharge our duty? Do we not, when we are asked to declare those findings immaterial, narrow the question to whether there is palliation and condonation to be found arising out of the circumstances existing in Ireland sufficient to cause us to say no censure is to be applied to those who have been found guilty of having so acted? I sincerely wish that I knew where the grounds for this palliation and condonation are to be found. I listened to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian, charmed by his eloquence and astonished by his energy, and I heard the grounds of condonation which he submitted to the House. The right hon. Gentleman's ground was that Lord Carnarvon had entered into negotiations with the hon. Member for Cork City. Admitting all the right hon. Gentleman's facts, what power, I ask, has Lord Carnarvon to grant condonation? The offences mentioned in the Report are offences against the community, principally and mainly against the Irish people, and what power has Lord Carnarvon or any human being to condone such offences? If these charges dealt with in the Report are established, how can it be suggested that because an individual or a number of individuals entered into negotiations for the purpose of securing a: Party advantage—I do not say that this was done, but supposing for the sake of argument that it was—how can it be suggested that such action can condone grave offences against the community and against society? Then we are told that no heed is to be taken of these findings, and that the justification of the 272 acts done is to be found in palliation. I think we should understand what palliation is. It cannot convert a wrong into a right. In consequence of it you may mitigate the quantum of condemnation, but the condemnation must be put upon record before you can take note of palliation. Now I proceed to consider whether it is true that palliation can be found in the events that occurred in Ireland at the time when these offences were committed. The supporters of the Amendment say, "You are here dealing with a combination and not with individuals, and there is a vast difference between the two cases." From that view I must dissent. Persons who are engaged in questionable transactions cannot get rid of their liability by forming themselves into a Joint Stock Company and becoming directors of that company. They cannot say, "We exist as a corporate m and are not liable individually." It is true that the Land League was a combination—a quasi corporation, if you will—but the men who acted as managers, controlling it and taking an individual part in carrying out its objects, cannot on that ground claim immunity from blame. It was said that what occurred under the réyime of the League was only the natural or incidental accompaniment of a revolutionary movement, and it is said that no revolutionary movement has ever taken place without sad incidents which men would regret. Lord Montagu and the movement with which lie was connected have been referred to, and it has been said that he did not take upon himself the duty of detecting or reprobating crime; but surely that instance is not parallel with that with which we are concerned. Revolutionary movements have, I know, been accompanied by incidents which those engaged in them have regretted. You will find in warfare, even when an army is most strictly controlled, that the camp followers commit acts of outrage and spoliation which the general in command would at once check if he could. That is a very different case from one in which the general commanding-in-chief, knowing of the outrages that are being committed, does nothing to check them, and the captains in command of the guard actually rouse men to perpetrate further outrages. Lord Montagu, as far 273 as I know, never said one word to foster crime, and had no power of detecting or checking it. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hackney (Sir C. Russell) more than once drew the attention of the Commissioners to the fact that there were two powers in Ireland in the years 1879, 1880, 1881, and 1882—one the authority of the Queen, which ought to have been paramount, but was nominal and helpless; the other the authority of the Land League, all powerful and all controlling. It was my hon. and learned Friend's boast that behind the Land League was the will of the people, and that that was the reason of its power and triumph. If this were so, how can it be said that what are called the "incidents" of the movement were incidents which the leaders deplored when they did nothing to check them? My hon. and learned Friend told us yesterday that this powerful body came into existence out of the necessity of the time, because men were starving and that there was great distress. Sir, distress had very little to do with the existence of the Land League. Who designed the Land League? It was designed by one man in the solitary hours of his imprisonment in Dartmoor, at some time before the end of 1877. What had distress to do with that design? Mr. Davitt knew nothing of the condition of Ireland at the time, and moreover, there was no distress in 1877. 1876 was, perhaps, the most beneficent year Ireland had ever known, and 1877 was a year fall of benefit to the people. In that year the Land League was designed. There was no distress until 1879, and that distress did not cause the Land League to come into existence. Advantage was, it is true, taken of that distress: but the Land League did not spring naturally from it. The hon. Member for the City of Cork (Mr. Parnell) has said—Davitt took advantage of the distress in 1879 to place the League before the people.Passing on to 1881 and 1882 we find that the harvests were above the average, and there was no distress in Ireland of abnormal character, yet then it was that the Land League grew, as Mr. Davitt says, "in the hands of the politicians." What now becomes of the argument that the people were driven to commit criminal acts by 274 tyranny, misery, and starvation? No; it was not the people that were rising; it was the people that were being roused. They had to be greatly influenced before they would act as the leaders of the League wished. We have Mr. Matthew Harris's testimony to that effect. He said—Our peasantry in Ireland, the farming classes, were in a very dormant, low, enslaved condition. And if we had not worked with great energy, and appealed to every feeling and every sentiment that would rouse them up, we could never have brought the Land League beyond the point to which Mr. Butt had brought it in his old drag-along movement.The hon. and learned Member for Longford (Mr. T. Healy), making a speech at Chicago, said—Why was it that we did not believe in the No-rent manifesto? I am in favour of no-rent, not merely as a temporary policy, but for all time. But the consideration of our men was this, is it expedient? And we considered that it was not expedient, because we did not believe that our people at that time were worked up to it, and we would adopt no policy which would lead to disaster or defeat.I am endeavouring to find how it was that the population came to commit crime. Was it because they were starving? I say no. It was because they were roused by these numerous speeches from political agitators. The hon. Member for Longford here says that at that time the people were not yet up to the standard of agitation. Thus we see that it was not an upheaval from below, but a movement proceeding from above, due to political agitation, endeavouring to stir up action which would otherwise have remained dormant. I have one quotation more to show the power of the Land League at this time. Mr. Matthew Harris did not represent the Laud League as being helpless in this matter. He and his friends did not represent the crime that was being committed as a circumstance to be deplored, and one which they were unable to control. Mr. Harris said—It was an understood thing among the loaders of the movement, I may tell you in relation to this—with Egan and myself and Mr. Davitt—that at the time of the State trials, which was early in 1881, we would pursue a more moderate policy.What was meant by "a moderate policy? Why, a more moderate policy meant abstention from agitation, which would have created comparative peace and absence from crime in Ireland. But in 275 consequence of the State trials we are told that that more moderate policy was not pursued. No, it was the policy of the Land League at this time, as, indeed, has been declared by Mr. Davitt, to keep Ireland in a state of unsettlement. But how was Ireland to be kept in a state of unsettlement by those who had the control of the Land League? It was not by bringing about the passing of a Land Act which was regarded as opposed to the principles of the Land League. It was not by allowing landlords and tenants to come together and arrive at mutual agreements. It was not by allowing tenants to enter the Land Courts and have just rents fixed. That would not have kept Ireland in a state of unsettlement. The object was to be achieved, not merely by preventing the impoverished tenant from coming to terms with his landlord, but also by preventing the solvent tenant from paying his rent. I wish I could picture to the House the condition of Ireland during the years from 1879 to 1882. It is not only to be found in the record of statistics of crime, showing between 4,000 and 5,000 agrarian offences in one year. That does not tell the tale of suffering and misery which prevailed in many a household in Ireland. The country at this period was in a most deplorable condition. Yet I heard my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. Gladstone) state in this House the other evening that that which was occurring in Ireland at this time was "the outcome of the contest between liberty and tyranny." That was the justification which the right hon. Gentleman found for hon. Members who were the respondents before the Commission. I ask, if this was so, who were the oppressed? Were they the members of the Land League, who at this time could set the Queen's authority at defiance, and had the virtual control of the lives and property of the tenants of Ireland? And who were the tyrants? If the oppressed sit there (below the Gangway) the tyrants are those who are now sitting here (on the Front Opposition Bench.) Who were the tyrants? [An hon. MEMBER: You were one of them.] Yes; that is j List the point. I think I was no tyrant. I was but performing a task imposed on me by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian 276 (Mr. Gladstone). I was not Prime Minister. I am looking round for my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby (Sir W. Harcourt). He was another tyrant, a very sample tyrant. And if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Sheffield (Mr. Mundella) were here now, we might see him posing for the first time as a tyrant. The argument of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian is that this crime was the result of the tyranny under which the Irish people suffered while he was at the head of the Government. Against that view I must enter my respectful protest. It would be presumption on my part to say one word as to the position which my right hon. Friend occupied at that time, not only in this country, but throughout the world. The right hon. Gentleman was head of the Government during the years 1880 to 1882, and if any one had charged his Government with being a Government of tyranny, he would have repelled the accusation as a libel. I wonder, after the right hon. Gentleman's declaration of last Monday night, what the entity we hear so much of, the civilised world, will think of this country in the years 1880 to 1882. I have formed a far different judgment of my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian than he expresses himself. I had believed until last Monday night that my right hon. Friend had done more than any other statesman to elevate the name of England amongst the nations of the world. We have had statesmen supporting a spirited foreign policy. In the last century Lord Chatham, in the earlier days of this century Mr. Canning, in more recent times Lord Palmerston asserted the name and the position of England among the nations of the world but I believed that my right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian, when he brought the rays of freedom to the Italian captives at Naples, when the echo of his words brought more than hope, brought protection, to the Christian subjects of the Porte, and when he protested against our ravaging Afghanistan, had done more to lift England high on the ladder of liberty than any of the statesmen who, by force of arms, or by loud words, had asserted the authority of this country. But this vision is shattered, this view of the right hon. Gentleman falls to the 277 ground, if this theory be true; for he tells us that his Government was a Government of tyranny; that he with popular opinion at his back, and a majority that followed him as devotedly as his followers follow him now, was it tyrant imposing a tyranny upon the people of Ireland so grievous that it caused them to rise as an oppressed people. But I will have none of this. This record does not belong to the Liberal Party. It is true that hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway at the 85 Election attacked the Liberal Government because they had been a Government of coercion. But what do they say of their great leader now? Do they charge him with being the tyrant of Ireland who caused the people to commit crime? I must say that as a former follower of my right hon. Friend I heard with the deepest regret theargument, the hypothesis, that he who had led and we who had followed had been acting as tyrants oppressing the Irish people. I have to pass hurriedly on, because I do not wish to unduly occupy the time of the House. I have to pass on quickly to other matters, and I regret I should have necessarily to refer to topics mentioned in the debate. I have no complaint to make of the speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hackney (Sir C. Russell). Far from it. He made one personal reference which I should pass unnoticed if it were not that it bears upon an important matter that affects the whole of this Report. He admits that the evidence of one witness was new, and was not known to any one in 1882 and 1883, when some of these subjects were discussed—I mean the evidence of the man whom my hon. and learned Friend called Beech or Le Caron. I agree with the hon. and learned Member that if Le Caron's evidence were struck out much of the Report would go with it. It is therefore material to see whether this man spoke the truth or not; and I was somewhat astonished to find that my hon. and learned Friend's words might lead to the idea that there was a doubt to be cast upon Ls Caron's evidence. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. Fowler) directly imputed perjury to Le Caron; and my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hackney suggested that I had, with something like the skill of a Court mil 278 liner. clothed Le Caron with the patchwork of my rhetoric. I did defend Le Caron. I had to defend him, and I intend to defend him, and I will tell the House why. In the course of the inquiry before the Commission my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hackney complained that Le Caron had betrayed the secrets of the assassins of the Clan-na-Gael, who were plotting the destruction of English life and property, and spoke of his life as being a living lie. This is what my hon. and learned Friend said with regard to Le Caron—Surely the state of society has something faulty in it when the employment of such a man as Le Caron can be defended or can be necessary. His life was a living lie. He was worming himself into the confidence of men presumably honest, however mistaken in their views, only to make money and to betray them.The new I take of these words of my hon. and learned Friend is that they really do not convey his meaning. I Will not admit that there is any man in this House who will say he regards these assassins, these cowardly assassins, these inhuman assassins, as "presumably honest." I stated before the Commission that the view I take of his language is that I do not suppose my hon. and learned Friend intended to defend assassins, or to utter one word unbecoming to him as the high-minded English advocate I know him to be. But he did attack Le Caron. What for? I Some hon. Members have said because he was a perjurer, who had taken an oath not to betray the secrets of these assassins. I will not discuss here whether it is justifiable for a man to take a promissory oath he does not intend to keep. I will leave that question to the moralists and casuists, who say that evil may be done that good may come of it. I will leave that question to the men who take the oath of fealty to a confederacy pledged to destroy the Government of the Queen and to establish by force a Republic in Ireland, and who then enter this House and take the oath of allegiance to the Sovereign. [Cries of "Name."] Hon. Gentlemen ask me for names. I refer them to the records of this inquiry. [Renewed cries of "Name."] All I will say is that there are Members of this House who have done as I have said. If fault there be in breaking a 279 promissory oath, under all circumstances such is the fault of Le Caron; but what did he do? For 20 years he carried his life in his hand, for any indiscretion either on his part or that of any official might have betrayed him to certain death, and all this that man did on behalf of every loyal subject in the Kingdom; he did his best to frustrate the object which these assassins had in view. I have but one word more to say on this matter. Is public life now for Party purposes to be degraded to the level to which this attack upon Le Caron brings it? English statesmen hired him, English statesmen used him, and English statesmen paid him; and is it to be that the English statesmen who employed him and who paid him will cheer the speaker who attacks Le Caron for what he did? Sir, I did defend Le Caron, and I shall do all in my feeble power to defend him now; and I say I would rather occupy the position of Le Caron, objectionable as it is, than I would occupy the position of the "presumably honest men"—the assassins whose safety we are asked to defend and protect. I will not attempt to draw any comparison between Le Caron and the men who first hire him, then pay him, and afterwards denounce him. One word now as to the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton. With strong emphasis and bold assertion the right hon. Gentleman has told the House that the judgment of the Commissioners is wrong. He disbelieves Le Caron. My right hon. Friend never saw Le Caron and never heard him in the witness-box. Has he read his evidence?
§ Sir H. JAMES
Just so. Here are the Commissioners, who heard everything, who saw Le Caron in the witness-box, uncross-examined by Mr. Davitt, and who found corroboration for his evidence step by step. On the other hand, my right hon. Friend, who has only read some of the evidence, asks the House to accept his opinion against those of the Commissioners. Let me point out upon what uncertain premisses the right hon. Gentleman has given his judgment. He speaks of the improbability of the conversation taking place which Le Caron says he had with the hon. Member for Cork. Does the right 280 Gentleman recollect that Le Caron came with an introduction to Egan from Devoy, and that he came as the representative of the Physical Force Party in America? At that time there was no activity amongst the Irish in America, exceptin the ranks of the Physical Force Party, and they had to be kept on good terms with the Constitutional action in this House. How was that to be done? It was not by telling them—"We will have no dealings with you." What was more probable, having regard to what was known of the connection between the Constitutional Party here and the Physical Force Party in America, than that the hon. Member for Cork would send a message which would be acceptable to them? It was a matter of diplomacy for the hon. Member for Cork to use words which would be acceptable to the Physical Force Party, in order to obtain their support. There was no improbability in the conversation taking place. Moreover, it was corroborated by the fact of the message being delivered; and I do not think that any person who reads the proofs will doubt that throughout his evidence Le Caron spoke nothing but the truth. Then there is the fact that the documents of the Clan-na-Gael, produced at the inquiry, were not produced then for the first time. They had been sent day by day to this country for many years past. It was not even suggested by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hackney that there had been any tampering with these documents. So far as the action of the Clan-na-Gael is concerned, and the body of men combined for the purpose of assassination, and who supported the Skirmishing Fund, the case rests, to a great extent, upon the evidence of Le Caron. Is the House, after having delegated to the Commissioners power to inquire into and report upon all these matters, to go behind the verdict of the Judges, and to say, with the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, that the Judges have come to a wrong conclusion, and that the House is better able to arrive at a right one? Now, I pass from these men to the presumably honest men. I hope it will be understood I have been speaking in respect of the action of men in America, of those men who represented—and more than represented, who advocated—assassination and the use of dynamite. There 281 is a finding in the Commissioners' Report to the effect that newspapers were circulated—United Ireland, the Irishman, and, above all, the Irish, World—which preached the doctrine of assassination and destruction. It has been said from this Bench that it is cant to object to receive money from the Irish World, which was a mere conduit-pipe for the collection of money, and that, therefore, the leaders of the Land League in no way identified themselves with the doctrines of the Irish World.hat depends very much on the facts. I heard that statement with astonishment. When I heard it said that the Irish World was a: mere conduit-pipe in the collection of money, I remembered the phrase of the hon, and gallant Gentleman opposite, who com pared it with the neck of a bottle, which I suppose represented to his mind the most agreeable form of conduit-pipe. But this conduit-pipe occupies a very remarkable position, even if it be the neck of a bottle. We have to deal with something which I should think was very different indeed from a conduit-pipe. Mr. Davitt, a very good witness in this matter, says—I cannot forget the unparalleled services which you "—that is Patrick Ford—Rendered to the Land League from its very inception, until its organisation, but not its spirit, was suppressed by the Government of England. Indeed, no truthful historian can read the record of that organisation and its giant assault upon the citadel of felonious Irish landlordism without recognising the fact that the chief inspiration of the movement, its spirit, and most of its financial strength came from the Irish World.Can any description of its position be more different from that of a conduit-pipe when it is described as the inspiration of the movement, in its spirit and its financial strength? It is now said that the Irish World was a very objectionable periodical, that it was a mere collector; but on the 2nd of July, 1881, Mr. Quinn, Secretary of the Land League, says—We appeal to the lovers of liberty and the sympathisers of suffering humanity to send the Irish World to Ireland. The success of the cause is to be measured by the extent of the acceptance of its principles.And that at a time when it was preaching dynamite and assassination. 282When the Irish World is read in every hamlet in every county it will be beyond the power of earth and hell to perpetuate the landlordism in Ireland.
Sin if. JAMBS
From Mr. Quinn, July 2, 1881. Then Mr. Davitt wrote—I do not think Mr. Healy is just to the Irish World when he says we would have got the subscriptions (the money sent to the Land League) if the Irish World never existed. This I deny. I believe that three-fourths of the enormous sum of money received by the Land League from America was subscribed through the appeals which were made by Patrick Ford in his paper through the instrumentality of the hundreds of branches of the Auxiliary American League, which were organised by the Irish World.Why did the Irish World collect this money? My hon. and learned Friend says that it was merely accidental; that the poor Irish people in America and some Americans contributed this money; and that this newspaper was merely the accidental conduit-pipe to receive this money. But the Irish World said—This money question is a very ticklish one. The reasons why men transmitted money to the Land League through the Irish World are these—a dollar sent through the Irish World is a significant endorsement of the principles enunciated by the Irish World.Mr. Brennan, on March 19, I SSI, says—The moral and financial aid which is constantly coming from our brothers in America through the Irish World cheers us in our work.It was this moral aid and the principles of the Irish World that collected three-fourths of the money which caused the upheaval of the people of Ireland. And those were the doctrines which were at the bottom of tin: action and movement and upraising against tyranny carried on in a manner which would be disgraceful to anyone bat those who believed in the principles of the Irish World. Disjointed I must be. I will not enter into the details of other subjects before the Commission: lint there is a matter which has occurred in this debate to which I must refer. My right hon. Friend the Member for Mid Lothian—who opportunely gives me his countenance as I make the reference—will allow me to call attention to one statement in the course of his speech. I have to apologise to the House for dealing with these 283 details; but as my right hon. Friend thought it worthy of his notice and of the notice of the House I "wish to occupy a few minutes with it. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian referred to the finding of the Commissioners on what has been called the Horan letter, and described it as a. trumpery charge. My right hon. Friend said—There is another head which may be called the £12 case, spent for the purpose of relieving persons who had been, or were supposed to have been, engaged in committing crime. I think a more trumpery charge to appear in a State indictment than this, standing as it does and supported as it is, it would be difficult to conceive.I hope the House will permit me to suggest one or two facts which I think will show that that charge was not trumpery. The House will recollect that the papers relating to the League were of a most bulky character. They represented thousands and thousands of communications. They were not forthcoming before the Commission; but one very small portion of them, affecting a very few days in the history of the League, did come into the possession of those who produced them before the Commission, through a person named Phillips. Among those few papers two important documents were found-one is mentioned in the Report. It was addressed "Irish National Land League," and it was written from the "Irish National Land League branch office. Castle island," and directed to Mr. Quinn at the Central Office—Sir.—I beg to direct, your attention to a matter of a private character which I attempted to explain to you when I was in Dublin at the Convention. The fact is that one of the men from a shock lost the use of his eye. It cost him £4 to go to Cork for medical attendance. Another man received a wound in the thigh, and was laid up for a month. No one knows the persons but the doctor and myself and the members of that society. I may inform you that the paid parties cannot afford to suffer. If it were a public affair a subscription list would be opened at once for them, as they proved to be heroes. One other man escaped a shot, but got his jaws grazed. Hoping you will, at your discretion, see your way to making a grant, which you can send through me or the Rev. John O'Callaghan, C.C.—Yours truly. Timothy Horan.That, letter, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dumfries (Mr. Reid) said, no doubt was intended to refer to men who attempted to commit crime 284 and suffered in the attempt. Mr. Ferguson, a man of great ability and shrewdness, took charge of this matter as one of the executive of the League, and reading this letter he must have known it was an application for money to be paid to men who had committed crime. It was not a matter of charitable assistance; it was an application for repayment of money that bad already been paid for medical assistance. Mr. Ferguson, in the course of his cross-examination, said that the executive of the League had had several similar applications, that some were granted and some refused, but none were ever assented to without the permission of the Executive Committee, and that each case was considered as it arose; and then the endorsement £6 to be paid to the man as deserving of the consideration and the assistance of the League represents the results of such regular course of proceedings. My right hon. Friend calls this a trumpery case. I should not so describe it, even if it stood alone, but we have the admission that there were several like cases of men brought into the same position by the commission of crime. There is a second ease in which a man named Butterfield asks for assistance on behalf of three men who were in gaol on a charge of intimidation and housebreaking, adding, "They are really deserving." So my right hon. Friend will find that with no assistance from the records of the League, we were enabled by tin accident to know how the business of the League was carried on, and to know how those captains of the guards, the executive of the Land League, transacted their business in the offices, and how money was sent to persons who had suffered in the cause. Can that be called trumpery case? It represents the manner and the method in which the business of the League is carried on, and will anyone say that the finding of the Commission has not been justified by Mr. Ferguson's statement, that it was the habit to consider such applications, and according to their merit to grant sums of money? I have mentioned incidentally the Land League documents, and here I must say one word with respect to the matter to which the hon. Member for Londonderry referred, and I will do so in justice to him. The suggestion was made that certain documents and 285 records of the Laud League had disappeared, or, as my hem. Friend the Member for Dumfries says, had been "dissipated," whatever that may be, and also that certain books of the English Land League had not been produced. That is not a mere, vague, general remark; it is a matter of the gravest import, and it, helps to bring' home much of the proof against those in charge of the organisation. The matter to which the hon. Member for Londonderry referred arises in this way. The English Land League had as its Secretary the well-known Frank Byrne. It is said that he was connected with the commission of grave crime in Ireland. He kept the books, and among the books was a cash book which contained a record of the expenditure. The steward of the funds must have made a record of what was spent. In 1888 the hon. Member for Londonderry made an affidavit stating that certain hooks were in his control. And here I wish to say that if it be supposed that any suggestion is made that the hon. Member had in any way departed from the strictest action of propriety or frankness that is a, misconception and mistake. The hon. Member was regarded as being simply the legal custodian of these documents, and an affidavit was made by him stating that a, cash hook running from a certain date to a certain date existed. A solicitor said that he made that affidavit. There are the dates; there is the statement in the affidavit. That cannot he the result of imagination if you have a cash-book running from a certain date in 1883, to a certain date in 1883. And so that affidavit was accepted. A witness came into the box and said that in the autumn of 1882, Byrne, who was Secretary to the English Land League, wits in Dublin, and that he saw him with Invincibles and saw him give money to those Invincibles. He also described a conversation about the payment of money, and saw money paid. What could be more conclusive to show that these statements were untrue than to produce the cash look? That book, on tin; other hand, would have shown expenditure for the journey to Dublin and money spent there, if the witnesses evidence was true. This cash book could not be produced, and was not produced. Where is the cash 286 book which the sworn affidavit stated was in existence? The solicitor, one of the ablest men I know, said—I am sure J have looked for the books; they are not there, and, therefore, I must have imagined a cash book, and must have put it down as running from October, 1881, to October, 18S3, as a vision of the brain.He said—But there is Mr. Brady, Under Secretary, who will tell you about these books. He took the books away, and he is in Court.
§ MR. T. HARRINGTON (Dublin, Harbour)
If the right hon. Gentleman will excuse my interruption, he did not say he took the books away; he said he got a receipt for the books, and that the books were still in Court.
§ Sir H. JAMES
I have elsewhere found the hon. Member's memory so accurate that if be corrects me I will accept the correction. Then, upon what the solicitor said, an appeal wars made to my hon. and learned friend the Member for Dumfries who had charge of this particular part of the case, to clear the matter up by calling Brady, and he said. "We will accept your view, and the matter shall lie I considered." And my hon. and learned Friend did consider the matter, but we never could see Brady. For good or for evil, the production of the cash book would have shown whether Byrne was in Dublin at t ho time, what money had been spent, and how it had been spent, and if there had been no such entry the charge would have fallen to the ground, the evidence of Delaney would have been discredited. Of course, there was such a book: of course, no one could have carried on business without it. Although there was an affidavit saying that there was such a book, and although we got ail the other hooks that were then accessible, we never have been able to get this cash book.
M.R. REID&c) (Dumfries,
The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly accurate. I said that I would investigate this matter, or some words importing that; I did investigate it, and I have not the slightest objection to stale the result. Brady, in point of fact, was in Court for many days; and if the Commissioners desired to ask any questions, or the right hon. Gentleman had desired to do so, it would have been perfectly easy to have done it. Before the end of the case I withdrew from the 287 case. Counsel were withdrawn from the case, and, therefore, I had not an opportunity of stating to the Court what I intended.
§ Sir H. JAMES
I accept what my hon. and learned Friend has said perfectly, but I do not think it at all explains this matter. Before my hon. and learned Friends retired from the case they stated that there were a few witnesses they intended to call, and Brady was not one of them. Brady was never intended to be called. The result was that, after making inquiries, my hon. and learned Friends did not produce Brady, and the cash book was never produced. I very much regret that anything like the details of the inquiry should now be discussed in this one matter, but, as I have stated, I felt it to be due to the hon. Member for Londonderry to refer to it, and, having referred to it, it was impossible to leave the matter where it stood. There is one other subject which I cannot refrain from referring to, because great importance ought to be attached to it. I know but little difference between those who incite to crime and the men who, having influence, do not take upon themselves to prevent crime. For private individuals there is one measure of responsibility; but upon an organisation which has a controlling power in the land, which has an uncrowned King at the head, of the controlling power, there is a greater responsibility. That organisation, having a power which has set the Queen's authority at defiance and taken upon itself the responsibility of standing in place of the authority it defies, surely should use its influence to prevent the commission of crime. We have proof that the power existed, not by way of suggestion proceeding from those in political opposition to hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, but from members of their own Body, who have told us, and can tell us, of the great power they had at their disposal. There is one witness, Mr. Matthew Harris, who tells us of the power which the organisation possessed. Speaking of the time when crime was becoming rife, and when he knew the policy the Land League had been pursuing, he gives us his view of the policy the leaders of the movement ought to take. He tells us, in fact it was 288 an understood thing among the leaders of the movement—and he mentions himself, Mr. Egan, and Mr. Davitt—and he said that about the time of the State trials, which was early in 1881, they agreed to pursue a more moderate policy, but when the State trials took place there was no moderation of policy. Again, at the end of 1880, Mr. Davitt returned from America. He had seen what public opinion there was. He had found, as is often the case, that people the most democratic are the most determined to see the authority of Government maintained, and that public opinion in America was shocked by the outrages which were committed in Ireland. Mr. Davitt addressed himself to Mr. Parnell on the subject because those whom Mr. Davitt and Mr. Parnell controlled had the power to stop crime. Mr. Davitt asked the hon. Member for Cork to use his influence for that purpose. "I did not make any speeches in such sense," said the hon. Member for Cork, "because my engagements had come to an end"—meaning he had come to the end of the speeches he had arranged to make. What answer is that, when speaking on behalf of a great power controlling Ireland, and when agrarian crime and outrage was rife and directed, too, not against the hated class of landlords, but inflicted on the poorest class of those the organisation pretended to protect. The denunciations by Mr. Davitt were, however, accompanied by expressions representing the avoidance of crime as desirable as a matter of policy rather than a moral obligation. Davitt, however, did set himself to work to denounce the crimes in this qualified manner, but with that exception I do not find at this crucial time any denunciation from those who at that time held power in Ireland. One witness was called, the most powerful we could call—Mr. Davitt—and even he had to stand forth as a witness to condemn those men. Mr. Davitt wrote a letter, which appeared in the Standard in May, 1882, respecting the suggestion that the Irish leaders should undertake a pilgrimage to denounce crime, in which ho said—You next call upon my friends and myself to employ our recovered liberty to give the world solid and unanswerable guarantees of the loathing with which we regard all forms of 289 outrage by making a fresh pilgrimage through the country, and to never desist from denouncing assassination until these hideous crimes are exorcised from the land. I agree with you, Sir, that such a pilgrimage ought to he made even now. Had it been made before it is my firm belief that the terrible tragedy of the Phoenix park and many another tragedy, which, though it has not attracted so much attention, has wrung heartstrings as bitterly, would never have occurred. Why have there not been such pilgrimages? Let the facts answer so far, at least, as I am concerned. From the first initiation of the Land League I warned Irish people against outrages as the greatest danger of the movement.Yes, Sir, such a pilgrimage might have stayed not only the attack on the Representatives of the Government; it would also have stayed the attacks on the men of the hillsides who wore being-shot down, and whose fate wrung many heart strings just as much as heart strings wore wrung by the death of Lord Frederick Cavendish. There is one observation I ought to make in respect of that letter, that from October, 1881, until May, 1882, the hon. Member for Cork had been in Kilmainham. But look at the records of crime that existed up to October, 1881, and we shall find that the maximum of crime existed during 1881. Where were the pilgrims then? There was freedom of action and freedom of power, be the policy right or wrong pursued at that time, and it was because these pilgrimages were not made and because the hands that had the power to stay crime would not do so, that appeals were made to put the Act of 1881 into force. But I pass from this topic. The hon. and learned Member for Hackney, like the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, has said that these crimes were the natural outcome of semi-starvation, of distress, and of evictions. That theory has been found to be incorrect. If you compare the evictions that took place in the great famine years from 1849 to 1851 and the crime that then existed with the evictions and crime in the years 1880–1882, you will find that in the former period there were 14 evictions to every agrarian crime, while in the latter the proportion is about 1"3 evictions to one crime. This proves that step by step, where the Land League existed, crime increased, and we know the truth now of the remark that "crime dogged the footsteps of the Land League." It 290 has been proved that this increase of crime is not a question of the distress or of the evictions, but that wherever the Land League existed and held power crime spread, as had been said, like wildfire. Therefore, I say that the finding of the Judges on this point is amply justified. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian has said that, to sun: up the case in the language of Lord Chatham, the actions were the action of liberty as against oppression. There is also another speech which Iread with great regret—the speech of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Aberdeen, in which he is reported to have said—.Who would blame tho3e who had co-perated, however much they disapproved the agency, with the societies that were using assassination as their means?[MR. BRYCE dissented.] I understood that my hon. Friend does not accept the report as it appears, and therefore I will not rely on those words, but I think-there was something of substance in the report I have read. There was something of substance in it, so far as the saying that a revolutionary party may use agents which they would not wish to use at any other time. I hope that doctrine will not be carried too far, for the danger of it is great. It is a doctrine which justifies the existence of terrible agencies. The right hon. Member for Mid Lothian has said that all that occurred might be summed up as representing the action of liberty against oppression. He was speaking of his Government in the years 1880–82. If it be that the Government of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite shall ever be more tyrannical in Ireland than the Government of 1880–82, may we not expect that similar occurrences may take place, and be regarded as justified if this argument be true? If this is the act of those who are oppressed against tyrants, if this be liberty fighting against oppression, do you not think that the theory used in this House now will be relied on by those who hereafter commit similar acts to those that were committed in 1880–82 I May not the weighty words of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian quicken the action of many a doubtful man when he is thinking whether he shall commit crime or not—may not he be influenced if he thought 291 that all that had been done in the past represented the emblem of a glorious struggle of liberty against tyranny, against oppression? When we fire told that there may be justification for dealing with societies of assassination that is another question. Let moralists decide that. But if you are using such weapons as these, do not tell us that your agitation is a Constitutional agitation. I accept the theory that there have been in the past men who may have usurped the power of Government, but they have borne the consequences, find claimed to be treated as men who would receive the triumph, of their cause if they won and who would suffer the penalty if they lost. If the agitation is only Constitutional you have no right to tell us at the same time that the crime committed was only the natural outcome of a struggle between liberty and oppression. I well recollect the most eloquent appeal of the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian to hon. Gentlemen opposite to set, their prejudices on one side, and his appeal to their better judgment in the stillness of their chambers. I, too, appeal to you, but not as Party men, for it is not to a, Party that the appeal should be made. That appeal should be made to a, people. And the people I appeal to are the loyal population of this country, the men who are loyal, not only to the name and the symbol of the Crown to them an empty symbol but, loyal to the institutions and to the Constitution of this country. To them I appeal. I appeal to them iii their better judgment, that they shall, in their chambers, as my right hon. Friend has said, ponder and commune with themselves, and I believe their judgment and their prayer will be that to men who have so acted and to doctrines such as have been propounded in this House no power shall ever be given to control the loyal subjects of the Queen.
§ *(6.16.) MR. H. H. ASQUITH (Fife E.)
Nothing can be more repugnant tome than to enter info a public controversy with the right hon. and learned Gentleman who has just sat down, and I trust that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will not think that I am wanting in respect to him if I leave many of his most disputable propositions to be dealt with, by subsequent speakers. But there is one general observation which 292 I must make about the speech of my right hon. and learned Friend. I could not help thinking as I listened to it how far we have travelled from the starting-point of this inquiry. Has the right hon. Gentleman ever by chance read a publication called Parnellism and Crime? He has given us to-night a very interesting and ingenious disquisition on the theory of revolution, and the relation between crime on one side and agitation and distress on the other, and he has applied his theory to the state of Ireland in 1879 and 1880. But that topic was urged in this House with at least as much force by the late Mr. Forster in February, 1883. What was the rest of my right hon. Friend's speech? It consisted of a reference to, and a, vindication of, his protège, Le Caron, the Horan letter, and the disappearance of the books—topics not one of which could have been alluded to in Paniellism and Grime, but which were purely an. afterthought, and if the whole of my light hon. Friend's contentions were made out it would not carry the authors of that publication one step nearer their conclusion. What was the charge in support of which the right hon. and learned Gentleman and the Attorney General opposite exerted all their powers for a period of nearly a year? It was this—that the Land League was nothing but a cloak, a pretext, for a system of organised treason and outrage, committed, it is true, in detail by subordinate agents, but contrived, controlled, and paid for by men who still sit among us as Colleagues in this House. Was that or was it not the charge? The right hon. Gentleman will not deny that that was the charge. Has that charge been found proved or has it not? I appeal to the Report of the Commission, and if, as we contend, and I am certain that my right hon. and learned F fiend as a fair-minded man would not deny, that charge in every one of its particulars has been found by the Judges to be disproved, I must confess that it is to many of us, sitting on this side of the House, a matter not only for regret but for surprise that my right hon. and learned Friend, of all men, is going to cast his vote against the Amendment of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian. For if such a charge has been preferred, and persisted in, and disproved, I should have thought. 293 that my right hon. and learned Friend would have been the first man to say that this House ought not to withhold reprobation from the calumniators, or sympathy from those whose characters have at last been cleared. I pass from that speech, but I cannot but feel that I owe an apology to the House for the intrusion into the debate of another lawyer who has acted as an advocate before the Special Commission. I can assure the House—and I believe that I am expressing the feelings of my hon. and learned Friends beside me—that I would most gladly have remained silent. If the relation of counsel and client still existed between me and any of the incriminated Members, or if any persons or private interest disabled me from forming an impartial opinion on the issue before the House, I would have abstained. But our interposition in the debate is not only justified, but necessitated by the action of the Government. What are the Government doing? The Government are inviting the House to undertake a judicial review of a vast number of grave and complicated findings, without at the same time providing the House with any authentic or accessible record of the charges in relation to which these findings were made, or of the evidence upon which they were based. That is tin" position, and it becomes, therefore, the duty of those of us who have been counsel in the case, inasmuch as we are necessarily familiar both with the accusations and the matters proved, to afford such assistance as is in our power to enable the House to perform the duty which the Government has, in my opinion, gratuitously and wantonly cast upon it. I cannot hope to add to the general considerations stated the other night by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian, nor can I add much to the specific criticism on the details of the case made with such admirable force and cogency by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hackney. But since then the Attorney General has spoken, and has introduced some matters of which I am bound to take notice. I confess that I approach the hon. and learned Gentleman on this question with some diffidence and apprehension. My hon. and learned Friend appears to me to have got into a state of moral 294 sensitiveness, which I can only characterise as morbid. He fancies, or seems to fancy, that on this side of the House there is something in the nature of a criminal conspiracy to single him out for attack and to take away his professional character. For my own part, I know of no such, conspiracy, and if it exists I am certainly not a party to it. I have never said, and as far as I know, my hon. and learned Friends near me have never said, that in his conduct of the case, whatever complaints we may have: had to make—and they have been many and grievous—the Attorney General overstepped the bounds of professional duty. It may be the duty of an advocate to put forward charges which may ultimately turn out to be unfounded. It may even be within the duty of an advocate—but T hope that it has not often happened—when those charges, under the stress of a judicial inquiry, crumble into dust, upon the instructions of his client to make such an expression of regret as the Attorney General made in this case—an expression of regret which will, I venture to say, live in the forensic annals of this country as a classical instance of a shabby and ungenerous apology. But we are not now in the Royal Courts of Justice. We are on a different platform. The Attorney General, when he rose and spoke last night, spoke, not as a counsel for the Times, but as a Member of this House, and the occupant of a high and distinguished post in Her Majesty's Government. His tongue was no longer inspired, and his hands were no longer tied by instructions from Mr. Soames. For my own part, J must confess that, remembering all the circumstances of the ease, when I saw the hon. "and learned Gentleman come to the Table, I watched with anxiety, and waited with confident expectation, for such an expression of sympathy from the Attorney General with those who had been unjustly accused, and of joy at their acquittal, as would have befitted the office as well as the man. But I listened in vain. The Attorney General a long speech, a great part of which was devoted to the vindication of his own professional character, while the remainder, so far as I could appreciate it, amounted to a suggestion that the Commissioners might, and indeed 295 ought, to have found a great deal more adversely to the respondents. The hon. and learned Gentleman, towards the conclusion of his speech, interjected a frigid and meagre congratulation that the hon. Member for Cork and some of his Colleagues had not been found guilty of complicity in the Phœnix Park mnrders. The Phœnix Park murders! But that was only one count, and, in my opinion, not the heaviest count in the indictment of the hon. and learned Gentleman. The charge was that in the case of every agrarian murder in Ireland for a period of three years, these men were implicated either as principals or as accessories before or after the fact. That is the charge of which the Commissioners acquitted the accused, and which the Attorney General has not even thought worthy of mention in a single sentence. I must now deal with one or two statements made by the Attorney General. I confess that I was very much startled—in common with every body on this side of the House—by the hon. and learned Member's assertion that never, directly or indirectly, in or out of the House, has he expressed any opinion of his own as to the case of the forged letters. I hold in my hand the volume of Hansard in which there is the report of a speech made by the hon. and learned Gentleman on the Second Rending of the Charges and Allegations Bill, and I find attributed to the Attorney General this statement—The whole of the case I opened I was prepared to prove, and if I am counsel for the Time* again shall be prepared to prove; the evidence is available if it is wanted, but I should be unworthy of my position if I allowed myself to use it for any other purpose.It is impossible not to construe this statement in the light of a passage which appeared immediately after the trial of "O'Donnell v. Walter" in a leading article in the Times. The article said—These charges against Mr. Parnell have been formulated in open court by the head of the English Ear, a man whose eminence, personal, professional, and official, offers an absolute guarantee that in his trained judgment he has the means of proving what lie says.
§ * MR. ASQUITH
The 7th of July. But after what my hon. and learned Friend said last night I will accept his assurance 296 that he did not intend to vouch his opinion in this House.
§ * Me. ASQUITH
Litera scripta manet. The Attorney General knows perfectly well the rule of law, which is also the rule of common sense, that a man's words must be understood in the sense in which they would be understood by an ordinary hearer of average intelligence.
SIR R. WEBSTER
I beg the hon. and learned Gentleman's pardon. I was speaking on the occasion to which he refers in answer to a personal attack made upon me by three Members of Parliament, the Members for Derby (Sir W. Harcourt), York (Mr. Lockwood), and South Hackney (Sir C. Russell), and if that speech be read, it will be seen, that I did not then, or at any time, pledge my personal opinion or refer to it. I stated what I was prepared to prove as the counsel for the Times. With regard to the leading article, I never saw it, I never heard of it, and I never knew of its contents until it was read this night.
§ * MR. ASQUITH
I think the hon. and learned Gentleman is not quite accurate in the latter statement, because on the 1st of March, 1889, my hon. Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) put to him a question on the very subject. I will remind the hon. and learned Gentleman of the answer he gave.
§ * Mb. ASQUITH
The hon. Member asked if the Attorney General repudiated the responsibility cast upon him by the article in question. The Attorney General replied that he did not recollect the article, but would look it up and answer on Monday. He did not give the answer on Monday.
§ * MR. ASQUITH
The hon. and learned Gentleman's statement just now was that he had never heard of the article. But I will return to the point from which I was diverted by the Attorney General's interruption. I assert that, whatever the Attorney General's intention may have been, there was no doubt of the sense in which his words were understood, and I am perfectly certain there would have been none of the enthusiasm which there was, and none of the zeal 297 and determination in the passing of the Bill, if the great majority of hon. Members opposite had not believed that the Attorney General, the head of the Bar, a lawyer whose competence and distinction no one presumes to question, had pledged his opinion that, to use the language of the Times "in his trained judgment" these matters were capable of proof. I must pass to another statement of the Attorney General's in relation to his controversy with the hon. and learned Member for Hackney as to the Attorney General's speech at Oxford the other day. I am not going to enter into tin? details of that controversy. It appears to me that the Attorney General's grievance against the hon. and learned Member for Hackney is that my hon. and learned Friend thought the Attorney General meant what he said. From the Attorney General's explanation it appears that he did not say what he meant. By the interpolation of a date here, and by the expansion of a phrase there, and by that process alone, can the Attorney General's reported words be brought into ac cordance with what he intended to say. This is really becoming a serious public question. The text of the Attorney General's speeches is almost as much in need of revision and commentary as the tragedies of Æschylus. The Solicitor General, who is sitting by his Colleague, has recently published a volume of his own speeches. A very interesting and valuable work it is. I would suggest to my hon. and learned Friend that he should now devote his leisure to editing the speeches of his colleague. I come to one of the arguments of the Attorney General, reinforced, as it has been, in some points at any rate, by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Bury. The Attorney General alleges that the Nationalist Members and those who represented them were guilty of a wilful and intentional suppression of evidence. I should have thought the question of the suppression of evidence was a delicate and dangerous topic, which the Attorney General would have had the good judgment to avoid. However, as the hon. and learned Gentleman has raised the question, I will ask the House to see how the matter stands on the one side and the other. The charge 298 of suppressing evidence is based on the absence of the Land League books, or a portion of them, for a period of' two years, and on the almost complete absence of the Land League correspondence and documents. Have hon. I Gentlemen opposite ever seriously considered what the Land League was? It has been treated by the right hon. and learned Member for Bury as though it was a Joint Stock Company, with a regular directorate, which kept its accounts and had them inspected and audited from time to time, and in whose office the most apple-pie order prevailed. The Land League was a, body which from very small beginnings rapidly and suddenly became a vast organisation, overspreading the whole country. Its executive consisted for the most part of untrained and unskilled men, totally incapable of keeping pace with its rapid growth, and just when things were being got in hand one after another the bends of that organisation—first Mr. Davitt, then Mr. Dillon, and ultimately Mr. Parnell, and every one of the leading members—were put into prison under Mr. Forster's Act. The hon. Member for Donegal (Mr. A. O'Connor) described before the Commissioners how he went to the offices of the Land League in September, 1881, and found them in a state of complete disorganisation and chaos, hundreds and even thousands of unopened letters, no system of bookkeeping, and everything in confusion. What happened then? The League was on the eve of suppression. Wind was got of the intentions of the Government, and naturally enough the officers seized every available document, and ran out of the country as fast as their legs could carry them. What has become of the documents? It has been suggested that they are still in existence, and that some one is deliberately keeping them out of the way. So far as I know there is not a tittle of evidence in support of that suggestion. Statements were made on affidavit by the Irish Members which traced those documents to the possession of named persons in whose custody they last were. One of them was Mr. Brady; another was Mr. Moloney. Those persons were not called by the Times, although some of them at least were in Court, ready to go into the witness-box. 299 or to answer any questions the Commissioners might think it of importance to put to them. Where, then, lies the responsibility, if there is any, of their non-production? The right hon. Member for Bury has in great detail complained of the non-production of the cash-book of the English Land League. Why did he want to see the cash-book? Because that infamous man the convict. Delaney, whose testimony the Judges have from beginning to end discredited, for the purpose of supporting that part of the Times' case which alleged that the Invincibles were a branch of the Land League, and that the leaders of the Land League were implicated in the Phœnix Park murders, swore that Egan, Brennan, a man who was in prison at the time, and Frank Byrne, the Secretary of the English Land League, had been over in Dublin, concocting with Brady and the rest, and providing the funds for, that terrible conspiracy. The Judges have discredited that testimony in every point. Does my right hon. and learned Friend mean to suggest that for the purpose of making good that part of the Times' case which, though it was never withdrawn from the inquiry, the Commissioners had found to be totally unfounded—that for that purpose, and that purpose alone, that book ought to have been produced? There is one other matter in relation to these documents to which I must refer, and that is Mr. Parnell's refusal to disclose the accounts kept by Mr. Monro in Paris. With all respect to the Tribunal, I venture to say that a more impertinent request was never made. It was not suggested, and could not be suggested, that the disclosure of that account, would show in detail how the money was expended; and the inspection was sought by the Times simply for the purpose of ascertaining what was the extent of the pecuniary resources of the Irish Parliamentary Party. When the Conservative Party is ready to disclose the accounts of the Carlton Club and the Primrose League, which I believe are never audited, then I will agree that it was unreasonable for the hon. Member for Cork to refuse to disclose the pecuniary resources of his Party. So stands the case in relation to the suppression of evidence on the one side. Now let us look at it on the other. My 300 hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hackney last night distinctly challenged the Attorney General to give some explanation of the conduct of his witness Houston in relation to the destruction of his documents. The Attorney General spoke for two hours, but never alluded to the subject. Houston was the purveyor of the forged letters, the efficient cause of Parnellism and Crime, and the chief witness of the Times. Houston was the person who sent that wretched man Pigott—more sinned against than sinning—upon his fatal quest. Prom time to time, whilst Pigott was making his journeys, real or imaginary, in search of compromising documents, he communicated by letter and telegram with Houston. At the time of the opening of the Commission these letters and telegrams were in Houston's possession. He was subpœnaed as a witness, and the effect of the subpœna was to make it his duty to preserve intact and unimpaired every scrap of material evidence in his possession. Houston knew also that Pigott had been subpœnaed. He also became aware, a very few days after the Commission first sat, that the forgery of the suspected letters was attributed to Pigott. He became aware, further, that it was alleged that Pigott had confessed the forgery to the senior Member for Northampton (Mr. Labouchere) and other Gentlemen. Knowing these facts, Houston deliberately availed himself of the long interval—November and December—which the Times' counsel interposed between the commencement of the inquiry and its real object to tear in pieces and burn every scrap of Pigott's communications to him. In the whole history of our judicial proceedings there is no parallel instance of a contempt of Court so gross and unprovoked. It is true that what I am saying may be novel and startling intelligence to many hon. Members opposite, for there is not a line, not a suggestion, on the subject in the Judges' Report. I can understand the view of the Commissioners. Prom their point of view the Irish Members, and not the Times, were implicated. But in this House the position is very different. The Times stand at the Bar here, except in as far as the Commissioners have expressly acquitted them of calumny and falsehood; 301 and if we are to come to the suppression and mutilation'-of evidence, I assert, upon the facts I have stated, that the offence of the Land League, if there was any, was venial and slight indeed as compared with the offence of the leading witness of the Times. I now come to another charge—that connected with the Horan letter. I assert that any man who reads that letter without prepossession, and endeavours to put a fair construction on its language, will sec on the very face of it that it referred to an exceptional transaction. The writer, undoubtedly the Secretary of a local branch, said—I beg to direct your attention to a matter of a private character, which I attempted to explain to you when I was in Dublin at the Convention.Then he went on—No one knows the persons but the doctor and myself and the members of that society.What do those words point to? They point clearly to the fact that these injured persons were members of some secret society, not the League; and the Secretary, I agree most improperly, was endeavouring to obtain a grant from the funds of the League, to compensate men who do not appear to have been members of the League at all. The Judges have apparently based their extraordinary finding—That the respondents made compensation to persons who had been injured in the commission of crime"—on the absence of the documents and books of the League, and the presumption now made for the first time, as far as I know, in any English Judicial Tribunal, that a man who is tint proved to be innocent must be held to be guilty. But this does not exhaust the matter. Not one of the respondents was present at the meeting of the executive of the League when the Koran grant was made. Not one of them was shown to have had any knowledge of the matter, directly or indirectly. The statements attributed by the Commissioners to Mr. Ferguson and Air. Biggar, that similar applications had been made on previous occasions and sometimes granted, at others refused, are, in my humble judgment, wholly unsupported by any evidence before the Commissioners. But that is not all; for every one of the respondents put into the 302 witness-box was asked in examination-in-chief whether he had ever been a party to such a payment, and swore that he had not. I now come to another matter which is of grave importance, at any rate in the opinion of the Attorney General and the right hon. and learned Member for Bury. The Attorney General was very indignant at the suggestion that the Commissioners have discovered nothing new. He said—Why, the Report has revealed for the first time the secret connection between the Clan-na-Gael of America and the Nationalists of Ireland.I shall refrain from dealing in detail with the question of the morality or immorality of receiving subscriptions through the Irish World; but I ask the House to study the evidence respecting the Clan-na-Gael. That Body is referred to by right hon. Gentlemen opposite as if it consists of a body of sworn assassins, whose sole object is, by dynamite and other infernal methods, to take life in this country and damage property. But what is the evidence in support of all this I It consists entirely of statements of Le Caron, whom I will admit for this purpose to be a witness of truth, and sheaves of circulars tendered in evidence by Le Caron and received by the Commissioners upon some principle which, up to the present moment, I confess, I have been unable to understand. I do not object to their having been received, because a more grotesque and ridiculous collection of balderdash was never foisted upon a Judicial Tribunal. What do the circulars consist of? Most of them of transparently foolish cryptograms, puerile transpositions of letters, and a mass of mysterious threats of terrible things which it is perfectly obvious were merely explosions of rhetoric. Now, if I may say so, without offence to the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for North Armagh (Colonel Saunderson), whom we see opposite, and whom we beard with so much pleasure last night. I should say I detect in point of style and expression a strong family resemblance between the circulars of the Clan-na-Gael and his familiar and much-appreciated rhetoric. In both there is a great wealth of adjectives, considerable recklessness of assertion, and the one, in my judgment, mean about as much or as little as the other, 303 Revolutionists, serious revolutionists, whether actual or contingent, revolutionists who mean business, do not spend their lives in writing long-winded circulars or in vapouring upon platforms. Now there is no evidence whatever that more than a very small fraction of this Body called the Clan-na-Gael—which primarily appears to be nothing more than a national friendly society, as we should call it in this country—there is no evidence that more than a very small fraction of the persons connected with this Body ever had any intention that dynamite should be used. Le Caron professed to have been in the confidence of the most extreme section of the Clan-na-Gael. He was transmitting every post one of these circulars—verbosa et grandis epistola—to his friend Mr. Anderson, in London, with a long covering letter of his own. I see the Home Secretary sitting opposite. I should like to know whether he, or any one conversant with the administration of the Government of this country during the last 10 years, can point to one single case in which a dynamite explosion has been prevented, or in which the perpetrators of a dynamite explosion have been detected and brought to justice, through information supplied by be Caron? Hon. and right hon. Gentlemen know very well they cannot—or rather I suspect they do. But, Sir, if it were the fact that these men were the bloodthirsty and raving monsters Le Caron represented them to have been, if it were the fact that the explosions which occurred could have been traced even by suspicion and conjecture to the emissaries of the Clan-na-Gael, how is it that this devoted spy, over whose loyal and patriotic services my right hon. and learned Friend almost shed tears, was unable to give his employers anything for their money, except sheafs and reams of bombastic circulars? The thing speaks for itself. And I will go further. The Commissioners in their Report deal with this mater: they refer to the explosion at London Bridge, and to the trial of Thomas Gallagher and others for plotting to overawe Parliament; and the Commissioners do not find that in either case there was any connection with the Clan-na-Gael. The only connection they suggest is that 304 in the explosion at London Bridge the man Lomasney, who is believed to have perpetrated it, is supposed to have perished, and "his family was afterwards supported by the Clan-na-Gael." That is the only evidence, affirmative and direct, that can assist them. Indeed, it is extremely probable that the Clan-na-Gael sought to take credit for an explosion with which they had no concern whatever. During the Commission one of the counsel on the other side read from an American newspaper an account of how certain American-Irish, on hearing of an explosion in this country, affected an air of mystery about it, but none of them ventured to claim any credit for it, and ultimately some one went to the office of O'Donovan Rossa—who has always been considered a man representing the most dangerous enemies to England—and found him with a small coterie of friends toying with one or two dynamite bombs that lay on the table before him. When questioned, this melodramatic miscreant was obliged to admit that he had had no direct share in the explosion: but he intimated that before many years were over he, too, should be able to show what he could do. The whole thing, if you come to scrutinise it, is to a very large extent a mare's nest. The Attorney General told us last night that Mr. Parnell had admitted that he sympathised with dynamite. That is an accusation which, so far as I know, was never made during the whole course of the inquiry. It is not to be found as a personal charge against the hon. Member for Cork; it is not to be found in Parnellism and Crime; it has been reserved to the Attorney General, after the conclusion of the inquiry, and after the Report has been made, for the first time to formulate it. And what is the evidence on which he makes so grave a suggestion? It is that in a newspaper called the Irishman in February, 1885, an article appeared in which the writer stated that Mr. Parnell did right not to denounce dynamite. What is the process of reasoning by which, the hon. and learned Gentleman arrives at his conclusion? Who was the writer of the article? The hon. and learned Gentleman does not tell us what is Mr. Parnell's responsibility for the article. He was a shareholder in and perhaps a 305 director of a company which some years before purchased this paper; but Mr. Parnell, it will be remembered, swore that he had no knowledge of the continued existence of the paper—a statement indirectly corroborated by a circumstance referred to by the right hon. Member for Mid Lothian, namely, that Lord Spencer and the officials of Dublin Castle were not aware that it existed. The Commission did not find that MR. Parnell had any knowledge of the articles that were being published in this paper; and the whole responsibility laid upon him in this matter is a constructive responsibility, which might lie sufficient in a civil action, but which furnishes a very slender foundation for the charge that has been made. And now, before I sit down, I should like, by the permission of the House, to summarise the charges which the Commissioners found to be proved, so far as they are matters of fact, and therefore fit subjects for judicial investigation. They are that some of the respondents did join the Land League hoping thereby to promote the independence of Ireland; that all the respondents took part in a conspiracy; that all the respondents advocated and practised boycotting; that all were parties to defending persons who were accused of crime and committed for trial but not yet found guilty; that the respondents obtained co-operation and pecuniary support from the American-Irish, many of whom were admitted to be physical force men, while at the same time it is found that none of the respondents were aware that the extreme section of the Clan-na-Gael had anything to do with controlling the operations of their organisation. These are findings of fact, and for my part I should be prepared to accept them every one, and it would not make the least difference in my estimate of the moral character of any Member. Which of these things is to be imputed to a man as a matter of moral blame? Many patriots, for good reasons or bad, in all times and at all stages of the world's history have desired the independence of their. country, g Many have taken part in conspiracies. up to 1875 every Member of a Trade Union in this country was obnoxious to that charge. The respondents advocated and practised boycotting; a weapon of defence which 306 may be abused, and unquestionably in Ireland it has been, but in itself and by itself a perfectly legitimate instrument of self-defence. They defended prisoners in a country where we know that the administration of justice, whether by resident magistrates or by juries carefully selected, does not command the confidence and enlist the co-operation of the mass of the people. They appealed for assistance to their expatriated fellow-countrymen in America; they were ready to receive innocent contributions for innocent purposes from persons who might or might not have ulterior designs of their own. Where is the moral offence of that? What is there to prevent me if I were going to use money for a Constitutional and legitimate purpose, if I received it upon the express understanding that it was to be used for that purpose only, from taking it from the veriest criminal under Heaven? If the Judges had confined themselves to these findings of fact, I should not have hesitated to adopt their Report. But they have mixed these findings with a number of finding's upon questions which are pure matters of opinion. They have given their views on the connection between boycotting and the increase of crime and between coercion and the decrease of crime. On this point the Judges say—It has been suggested that the decrease of crime which took place after July, 1882, was to be attributed to the conciliatory effects of the Arrears of Kent (Ireland) Act, which had become law on April IS, 1882. We must remark, in answer to this suggestion, that the Land Act of 1881, which has been described by the counsel for the respondents as 'the first great charter for the Irish tenant class,' had no such effect, and, in our judgment, the suggestion is not well-founded.I should like to ask the opinion of those who were actually responsible for the administration of Ireland during the three years after July, 1882—Lord Spencer, the right hon. Member for Bridgeton, and Sir Robert Hamilton, now Governor of Tasmania. I am convinced that, while every one of them will acknowledge, or claim that the Crimes Act of 1882 was of great service in unearthing' the terrible murder conspiracies which grew up during the imprisonment of the Land League leaders, they will, at the same time, with one voice declare 307 that the tranquillising of the country was the result of the Land Act of 1881 and the Arrears Act of 1882. On a point like this, which is matter of opinion and not of fact, I would rather take the judgment of three practical politicians than that of the most erudite lawyers on the Bench. What is the sum and substance of the whole matter? I could have hoped that this was an affair which might have been lifted above the region of Party controversy, and that the Government would have taken the opportunity of acting in a spirit which should be, I will not say magnanimous, but just and wise. Charges of personal complicity with crime have been preferred and persisted in against a number of Members of this House. Every one of those charges has been directly and emphatically disproved. There is no dispute on either side of the House as to the correctness of the Commissioners' finding upon all these points. What then, in these circumstances, was the proper thing to do I Surely for the Government to have invited the House—the guardians of whose honour they are—without distinction of person or party to join in a great act of reparation, as to which, so far as personal complicity with crime is concerned, every one of us is agreed. If the Government bad brought forward such a Motion, I believe that a large majority of Members opposite would have been glad to support it. But the Government have refused to take that course. They have refused to these men, incriminated, vilified, and now acquitted, the formal acknowledgment by this House of the vindication of their character, unless they and we are content at the same time to accept as true, and adopt as our own, a mass of judicial obiter dicta upon a number of most intricate and complicated questions in economic, social, and political science. There is, admittedly, no precedent for such a course, and it is of the worst example for the future. For my part, I shall vote without hesitation against the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman, and I am confident that if it is carried as carried it will be by a Party majority—it will be one of the first duties of the Parliament which shall succeed, following the bettor precedents of the past, to expunge from the Journals a record which will be a standing reproach, so long as it remains, 308 to the generosity and fairness of the House of Commons.
§ *(7.20.) MR. C. HALL (Cambridge, Chesterton)
My hon. and learned Friend who has just sat down stated at the commencement of his speech that the Government were inviting the House to make a judicial review of this Report. Sir, that is not 1113 view; but I confess that, knowing as I did the great ability of my learned Friend and the intimate knowledge of the matter he had acquired, not only by means of a careful study of the facts, but by having been engaged as counsel before the Commission, I thought we had a right to expect that, from him, at least, we should get that impartial view of the proceedings which has been so sadly wanting in the speeches of many hon. Members opposite. I wish, Sir, to call your attention not only to the terms of the Resolution, but also to the terms of the Amendment. It has already been pointed out that the Amendment suppresses part of that which ought to be stated if it is to be added to the Resolution. If I may make so bold, speaking in the presence of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), I may say I have very serious doubts whether the wording of the Amendment is the handiwork of the right hon. Gentleman. It bears a strong resemblance to the language of the cooked version of the findings which appeared in United Ireland the other day. ["Oh, oh!"] Surely, it must now be admitted to have been a cooked account. ["No, no!"] Not admitted I Why, even the Pall Mall Gazette described it as "cooking which was certainly foolish." The Amendment indulges in a superabundance of hard words and a redundance of epithets which I think its author would have done well to avoid, especially if it is not to b0e relegated to one of those cemeteries for books which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) has suggested in a 309 recent article will be necessary in the future. Sir, there has been a marked omission on the other side of the House to deal with what I believe to be almost the gravest charge of all—the charge that the respondents invited the assistance and co-operation of and accepted sub seriptions of money from, know n advocates of crime and dynamite. My hon. and learned Friend the Member Smith Hackney (Sir C. Russell) drew up a list of what he submitted to the Judges were the charges in parnellism and Crime. My learned Friend omitted that charge from the list. Whether lie will suggest that it was not worth his attention I do not know: but we know that after overwhelming evidence had been given in support of it, he felt bound to notice and deal with this serious charge. My hon. Friend in his speech the other night certainly did not go as far its his learned Colleague (Mr. Asquith) has done to-night. Nine-tenths of the speech of my hon. Friend who has just sat down were devoted to a bitter personal attack on the Attorney General. We have got accustomed in this House to the complaints of hon. and learned Gentlemen opposite that they have not had fair-play at the trial. Does any one doubt, that if they had not fair-play they hi id only to appeal to the Judges and they would have got it. It seems to me that the debates and time of this House ought to be devoted to something of a broader character than the petty allegations made by Gentlemen opposite against my hon. and learned Friend the Attorney General, which he this refuted so thoroughly. My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hackney did not go as far as my hon. and learned Friend who has just sat down. He did not go so far as to suggest that the Clan-na-Gael was only a sort of Friendly Benefit Society, or a National Friendly Society. What the Member for Hackney did suggest 310 was that the action of the Clan-na-Gael was the action of a very insignificant section of a comparatively insignificant party, and that the attempts made to control the prrceedings of the Land League absolutely failed. The Judges found directly the contrary. What was the finding?We are of opinion that the evidence proves that the Irish National League of America has been since the Philadelphia Convention (25th April, 1883) directed by the Clan-na-Gael, a Body actively engaged in promoting the use of dynamite for the destruction of men and property in England. It has been farther proved that while the Clan-na-Gael controlled and directed the Irish National League of America, the two Organisations concurrently collected sums amounting to more than £60,000 for a fund called the Parliamentary Fund, out of which payments have been made to Irish Members of Parliament amounting in the year 1880 to £7,556, and in 1887 to £10,500. It has not, however, been proved that Mr. Parnell or any of the respondents knew that the Clan-na-Gael had obtained the control over the Irish National League of America, or was collecting money for the Parliamentary Fund, and the circulars of that Body, as well as the evidence of Le Caron, show that their operations were secret. But though it has not been proved that Mr. Parnell and the other respondents knew that the Clan-na-Gael controlled the League, or that the Clan-na-Gael was collecting money for the Parliamentary Fund, it has been proved that they invited and obtained the assistance and cooperation of the Physical Force Party in America, including the Clan-na-Gael, and in order to obtain that assistance abstained from repudiating or condemning the action of that Party, it has also been proved that the respondents invited the assistance and co-operation, and accepted subscriptions from Patrick Ford, a known advocate of crime and the use of dynamite.I should like the House to consider whether there was or was not any foundation for that finding, or whether it was merely a question, as has been suggested, of a few obiter dicta. I will give the respondents the benefit of the admission that the Judges found the respondents did not know that the Clan-na-Gael was collecting money or was controlling the operations of the Land League. The Judges, however, have found conclusively that the National League in America was directed after the Chicago Convention by the Clan-na-Gael. The Judges call the Clan-na-Gael 311 "a body actively engaged in promoting the use of dynamite for the destruction of life and property in England." That is a pretty good specimen of a Friendly Benefit Society. They say it was "the corresponding organisation to the United Brotherhood of Ireland," and they add—The object of this organisation, as stated in its constitution, was to aid the Irish people in the attainment of the complete and absolute independence of Ireland by the overthrow of English domination, a total separation from that country, the complete severance of all political connection with it, and the establishment of an independent Republic. It was to prepare unceasingly for an armed insurrection in Ireland, to have no interference, directly or indirectly, in politics, to act in concert with the Irish Republican Brotherhood in Ireland and Great Britain, and to assist it with money, war material, and men.Well, Sir, that is the National Friendly Society of the hon. and learned Member, and I wish to be allowed to point out the nature of the close and intimate alliance between the Land League and the Clan-na-Gael. It is found that, it is not proved that, the respondents did not know of this intimate and close alliance. What are the facts? We know that the Land League was founded by the hon. Member for the City of Cork in America, and we have authority for saying this outside of this Report. We have the authority of the right hon. Gentleman, the Member for Derby (Sir William Harcourt). What does he say? the says—It was founded by the Member for Cork City.The hon. Member for Cork went to America to found the Land League. Whom did he meet there? With whom did he associate? According to his own evidence, the only men in America who took an active part in the Irish movement were men who belong to the revolutionary physical force party. He has been confirmed in that by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, who said in this House— 312When they first set to work to organise the Land League, who were the agents by whom it was started and conducted? Why, they were notorious Fenians, many of whom had been convicted, whilst others were perfectly well known to have been connected with the Fenian conspiracy.Now, what was the object of the hon. Member for the City of Cork when he went to America to found the Land League? His object was to connect the physical force party with the open Constitutional movement. It was to get them to work in line, and there was only one way of doing it, which was to avoid saying anything that would hurt the delicate susceptibilities of the members of the revolutionary physical force party. What the hon. Gentleman wanted to do was "to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds." Now, the hon. Member, in the course of that American tour, made many speeches, eight or nine only of which were produced before the learned Judges; and what is the reason why they were not all produced? It is a curious fact in animal history, which I would commend to the attention of the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. Lubbock), when he has time to devote his studies to the rodent class. The hon. Member for Cork told the Judges that he did bring home papers containing reports of all proceedings at those meetings, adding: "But the mice got into my portmanteau and devoured a good many of them." Well, Sir, the Judges had before them only a few of those speeches, amongst them the famous Cincinnati speech, now well known as the "Last Link" speech. There also occurred during that time the incident at Troy, where the dollars were brought "for lead and for bread." Well, whom did ho meet while he was there? He met four men, to whom I will call the attention of the House very briefly. They were—Alexander Sullivan, Devoy, Mr. W. J. Hynes, and Finerty, whose names have an important bearing on 313 this case. What did he do when leaving America? He sent to Patrick Ford and invited him and others to form an auxiliary organisation of the Land League. Now, who was Patrick Ford, whom he invited to assist in forming this organisation? What right had Patrick Ford to speak in the name of Ireland? He had never been to Ireland in his life—at any rate, since he was a boy. What knowledge had he of Ireland save that which was given to him by Michael Davitt, whose whole mind was embittered by the recollection of his imprisonment, and whose memory was poisoned by evictions which had taken place many, many years before—a man who remembers what he ought to forget, and forgets what lie ought to remember, the honest attempt of Great Britain to try and do justice to Ireland. Patrick Ford was one of the originators of the Skirmishing Fund, and was also the author of such articles as How can we Destroy London and Lay Her in Ashes? I am glad to see my learned Friend the Member for South Hackney (Sir C. Russell) in his place, because I wish to call the attention of the House to a speech he made only a few days ago in the town of Cambridge. The hon. and learned Gentleman bethought himself to give an interesting description of this Patrick Ford, and here is what my learned Friend said. I quote from the Daily News, He described Patrick Ford as—A very eccentric person. He is alternately a hardened criminal and a most benevolent man by fits and starts.The hon. and learned Member for Hackney says "Hear, hear!" Well, I have endeavoured to find traces of his extraordinary benevolence, and can only find two. First of all, that he is wont to invoke the name of the Trinity or of the Deity when inciting his readers to commit diabolical crimes; and, secondly, 314 there is the character given to him by Mr. Davitt, who said in a somewhat cynical way—I have seen many people in America and Europe, but I have yet to meet a better man morally, both as a Christian and a philanthropist, than Patrick Ford.Benevolent? Yes; truly benevolent. The man who could write in 1884, "Success to the National League and more power to dynamite"—showing by the way that he thought the League and dynamite were in alliance—and who, in 1886. could say of what he called in, I presume, one of his benevolent fits, the Gospel of Dynamite, "All that I ever said on this subject I stand by now." Now. Sir, the Land League, we know, became connected with the Clan-na-Gael. My learned Friend the Member for East Fife described it as 'a Friendly Benevolent Society." The hon. and learned Member for South Hackney described it somewhat less respectfully, for he called it "the rump of the old Fenian Party." That rump of the Fenian Party was, however, powerful enough to get control of the Land League and the National League to elect its Presidents and executive officers, and to tie its organisation head and foot, so that it could not go on without their consent. It may be asked how is this proved I It appears clearly from the Report that directly the Land League was formed the Clan-na-Gael issued a circular, and it will be found that whenever meetings of the Land League were announced to take place Clan-na-Gael circulars were issued.
§ * Me. C. HALL
Yes, secret; but there is no doubt that those circulars were issued, and although it is suggested by the hon. Member for East Fife that they were "mere balderdash," worded in a bombastic and nonsensical way, it is nevertheless true that they advocated the policy of dynamite, and that when 315 they were issued explosions of dynamite followed. One of these circulars shows clearly that Gallagher, the dynamiter, was an emissary of the Clan-na-Gael beyond the possibility of doubt. Now we find that the members of the Clan-na-Gael were invited to attend the Land League meetings in order to obtain control over them whenever they could. This was done, and it will be found that, as in 1878, Michael Davitt had pointed out the hon. Member for the City of Cork as a young and talented Irishman who was going to assist them, so, in 1880, the Clan-na-Gael welcomed him with open arms. In 1881 an emissary of the Clan-na-Gael came over here—Le Caron. I do not propose to say one word about Le Caron's character after the clear and convincing statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bury (Sir H. James), who has shown how far we may follow the advice of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler), who had said in a light-hearted way that he had read some of the evidence and he did not believe Le Caron. We know, however, that the Judges did believe him. Well, Le Caron came over, and a remarkable incident occurred which, I think, has not vet been pointed out, although I cannot suppose it has altogether escaped the attention of hon. Members on both sides of the House. In his interview with the hon. Member for the City of Cork Le Caron tells us that the hon. Gentleman said to him—Go and see Devoy—he can do more than anyone else; go and see Alexander Sullivan; go and see W. J. Hynes; go and see Dr. Carroll, and tell Devoy to come and, see me at Paris.Yes, Paris, a place which was beyond the jurisdiction of the Queen. Was any attempt made to contradict Le Caron by examining witnesses on Commission? My hon. and learned Friend the Member for South Hackney applied Mr. G. Hall 316 for permission to examine witnesses on Commission, and could have examined Egan in order to ascertain whether he told Le Caron that Mr. Parnell wanted to see him. He might have told the Court he wished to examine Devoy, and he might have sent to America to ask if it was true that he had been asked by Egan to come over. But I pass that by. The hon. Member for the City of Cork wanted Le Caron to go to Devoy for advice. Now, what was the character of the four men the hon. Gentleman selected? Who was Devoy—the man who could do more than anybody else? What was Devoy? He was known to the hon. Member for Cork at the time as a Fenian and an ex-convict; he had met the hon. Member repeatedly in America, and he was also a Trustee of the Skirmishing Fund. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby had warned the hon. Member for Cork and his Friends below the Gangway six weeks before as to who and what Devoy was. The right hon. Gentleman had pointed out that he was a man who was the author of an article advocating the laying of London in ashes to the danger of 4,000,000 of inhabitants. And yet this was the first man to whom the hon. Member for Cork wanted Le Caron to go. Who was the next? Alexander Sullivan. He is a man also well-known to the hon. Member for Cork. He was one of the leaders of the extreme party, and afterwards President of the Clan-na-Gael and the National League. It was he who arranged the tour of the hon. Member for Cork and the hon. Member for East Mayo, and accompanied them over much of the route. Well, there were two others, one was Dr. Carroll. He was a member of the Clan-na-Gael, and a trustee of the Skirmishing Fund. It was he who arranged the meetings addressed by the hon. Member for Cork in the coal and iron districts in Penn- 317 sylvania. The other was W. J. Hynes, also a member of the Clan-na-Gael, and ho acted as chairman of the Chicago Convention, at which the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool attended as representative of the hon. Member for Cork. These were the men the Member fur Cork wished Le Caron to see. Truly a brilliant set of Constitutional representatives! Le Caron saw the whole of these men, and if he is not telling the truth, I want to know why none of them were examined on commission. The alliance between the (Ian and the League now gets closer and nearer. What occurred in August, 1881? The Clan-na-Gael issued adynamite circular, and the same autumn the hon. Member for Cork sent a telegram to the benevolent Mr. Patrick Ford, the known advocate of crime and dynamite, saying, "Mr. T. P. O'Connor will represent my views at the Chicago Convention." The hon. Gentleman the Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool arrived and attended a caucus meeting at the office of the Irish World. Caucus meetings were invariably held before these Conventions. Whom did he meet at this caucus. He met two very distinguished gentlemen Mr. Patrick Ford, and Mr. Finnerty, who, during that visit, told the hon. Member for the Scotland Division that he (Finnerty) was a dynamiter, who was one of the leaders of the extreme party, and as we find by the Nation, one of the Irish newspapers, a man who expressed his sorrow that the attempt to blow up the Government buildings had not been more successful. These gentlemen were the colleagues of the hon. Member for the Scotland Division before the Convention took place. In November of 1881 the Convention was summoned at Chicago, the usual circular was issued, and the brethren of the Clan-na-Gael attended in full force to get control of the proceedings. The 318 alliance is becoming much closer and much warmer. At the Convention W. J. Hynes, the member of the Clan-na-Gael, was in the chair; Finnerty made the opening speech; and then at the evening reception a. very remarkable speech was made. The evening reception was given in honour of the Irish delegates, I suppose. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division, representing the hon. Member for Cork, made a speech, which I believe has been read in this House, and which I wish was circulated throughout the length and breadth of this country, for a more disgraceful speech was never uttered by a Member of Parliament. What did he say? He said:—What becomes of the ten thousand farmers meantime? We will put the tenants as near their farms as we possibly can. They like to have a glimpse of their old home, and if I was the agent of an insurance society I would not like to have my whole, organisation and corporation dependent on the ten thousand farmers who will go into the farms that the other ten thousand have been evicted from.What did that mean?It meant," as the Report says, "that the dangerous consequences resulting from the action of the Land League were known to the speaker, and Mr. T. P'. O'Connor admitted that the shooting of land-grabbers was one of the incidents of civil war.There was one other Irish delegate present, the hon. Member for Longford, lie made a speech which practically amounted to this-—I am an advocate of no rent for all time, and if you want to break the British rule you must strike the land through the land system and landlordism.After such speeches as that a resolution was come to by this Friendly Society that English rule had neither legal nor moral sanction in Ireland. I pass on: a year has elapsed, and what do we find? We find that as soon as another Convention is about to be held a dynamite circular is issued by Alexander Sullivan, of the Clan-na-Gael, in October, 1882. I hope the House will mark the date. Early in the spring of the following year explosions took place in considerable numbers. Two men, one of whom was Gallagher, were arrested for being in possession of dynamite. These explosions took place, and not a word of objection was heard from the hon. 319 Member for Cork. What did the Irishman say with regard to the hon. Member's silence?—Still the English papers howl at Mr. Parnell for not denouncing the dynamite people. Mr. Parnell's silence is a proof of his statesmanship, and one of the best evidences he could give of his sagacity.A man named Lomasney was supposed to have perished in an attempt to blow up. London Bridge by dynamite, and his family were supported by the Clan—"the national friendly society." Now, Sir, at the very time of these explosions the Convention, which bound the League hand and foot to the Clan-na-Gael, was held at Philadelphia. What happened? The Land League was merged into the National League, and the Clan-na-Gael obtained control over the entire movement. The usual caucus meeting took place; and the Convention was called "Mr. Parnell's Convention, in the fullest sense of the word." The question for the Convention to determine was stated bluntly and simply in the Nation newspaper:—"Shall physical force and dynamite be used or not in the contest?" A Committee was elected, and from that time the National League was absolutely powerless in the hands of the Clan-na-Gael. The Land League, as I have said, was merged into the National League, and United Ireland said, "it was Mr. Parnell's Convention in the fullest sense of the word." Now, that Convention stimulated the Clan-na-Gael, who, directly the Convention was over, issued another dynamite circular—5. In localities favourable to the work D's—i.e., Camps—shall institute schools for the manufacture of explosives and other warfare.Six months after we find issued another dynamite circular, which, I say, points conclusively to the fact that Gallagher was an emissary of the Clan-na-Gael, for in speaking of his failure it says—The efforts of the Executive were marred by treason.What was the Irishman's view of this Convention, virtually the view of the hon. Member for North-East Cork? We know the effect which this style of writing has upon insufficiently educated people who believe that what they see in print must be true. The Irishman said— 320The outcome of the Convention no man can accurately forecast. It threatens to compass an end of thrilling interest to England.Which meant, I suppose, the explosions which would follow.There is no cure for it … but topsy turvey, and then the retreat of the English garrison with bag and baggage—if, may haps, the latter can be saved in the pell-mell confusion of a horrible upheaval and universal crash.Mr. Speaker, I think many hon. Members, who read those words, will have no difficulty in recognising in that turgid style and bombastic style the pen that wrote them. Now, we pass to the year 1886. The same close alliance still exists. Matters are left entirely in the hands of an Executive Committee, six out of seven if not all the members of which are also members of the Clan-na-Gael. And I come now to the Convention summoned at Chicago. We are told on the authority of the Irishman that previous to its meeting a Privy Council was held, among the members of it being the hon. Members for Cork County and Wexford, representing the Irish Party; and they met—a distinguished quartet—Egan, Davitt, Alexander Sullivan, and Patrick Ford. These are the men who, we are told, are representative of American public opinion. Sir, it is a calumny on the great American people to suggest anything of the kind. Mr. Davitt admitted that the whole tone of the American Press was denunciatory of these outrages, and that it called upon the leaders of the agitation in Ireland to do their best to put them down. I can say from personal knowledge, from such an investigation as I have been able to make during the last few months, that it is a gross calumny to say that the great American people sympathise with the dynamitards, or have any connection whatever with Irish crime. Now, Sir, at the Convention a finance sheet was produced, and it showed that the sum of 314,000 dollars was sent over to the Parliamentary and from America. That money was got together by the Clan-na-Gael and the National League, and a large portion of that very large sum went into the pockets of hon. Members for Ireland who sit below the Gangway opposite. Now, Sir, I am happy to say that I shall be able to deal with this matter without mentioning the 321 names of hon. Members opposite. I think it is to the credit of that much-abused paper the Times, that their names have not been exposed. T am not here as its apologist, but I do say it deserves credit for not having pilloried these men who received the money. I believe that, in the sanctity of their private chamber, to use the phrase of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), they will find the blush of shame rising to their cheek when they know the money they received was proved, to be collected by the Clan-na-Gael. It is said that it was not proved that they did know this at the time they received it. Let them lay that flattering unction to their souls. They know it now. They continue to receive money, and for what purposes? Is there any doubt that the money is sent over by these men with the same aims and ambitions as the men had who sent over money in days gone by? This money comes from the same tainted source. Sir, I would sooner starve in a garret than allow myself to become the hireling', to take the pay of men who are the avowed enemies of this Empire. The hon. and learned Member, in his speech at Cambridge, said the respondents received money through the instrumentality of Patrick Ford and the Clan-na-Gael, and that the Judges so found quite correctly—I want to know," said he, "why this should not be so? I do not see because Patrick Ford is the channel through which it comes, why Mr. Parnell should not accept the money subscribed by tens of thousands of honest men and women in America, whatever their object was; and I say that, in the main, it was good, and virtuous, and patriotic, provided always that he receives it and applies it to a purpose which is proper, honest, legal, and constitutional.I do not think anybody will quarrel with the latter part of the sentence, but when we are told by the hon. and learned Member that these subscriptions come from tens of thousands of honest men and women in America—and I notice that the hon. and learned Member for Dumfries (Mr. Reid) expanded the number into millions in his speech here the other night—it is as well to see what authority I have for saying this money comes from a tainted source. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, when he 322 was Home Secretary, spoke of this money received from America—Who," he said, "supports the Land League in Dublin? Is it supported by Irish subscriptions? Why, the Irish subscriptions are coppers, but the gold and silver come from Fenianism in America. That is where the money comes from, and the hon. Member knows it as well as I do. Who are the men they take for their agents to transmit the money to Paris and thence to Dublin? Men like Devoy, a convicted Fenian.This was the right hon. Gentleman's view it few years ago. Has he changed it since? If he has not it is rather hard upon him that the hon. and learned Member for Hackney should say it is canting and pharasaical to say money should not be received through Patrick Ford because his paper, the Irish World, at times had "violent fits of the advocacy of dynamite and such like stuff.'' The hon. and learned Member for Dumfries asked what harm is there in receiving money from the Irish World. The answer is supplied by the Irish World itself.The money question," said the Irish World, is a very ticklish one. The reason why men transmit their money to the Land League through the Irish World is this—that a dollar sent through the Irish World is a significant endorsement of the principles enunciated by the Irish World.So much, then, for the analogy of the "conduit pipe.' The on, and learned Member for Hackney asks why should not tin's money he received. I will tell him why? Because the people of this country will not tolerate the policy 'and wire-pulling of a Chicago Caucus, which will continue to claim from those whom they pay shall be worthy of their hire and support, an aim and purpose which has been described by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Gladstone) as "marching through rapine to the dismemberment of the Empire." But these aims are not allowed to be openly discussed; it would not pay: they do no dare. To use the words of the Nation with reference to the Philadelphia Convention—To take the affirmation side on the question whether physical force of all kind—including dynamite—may be properly applied by the Irish people in their struggle for the liberation of their country from British rule" would "hardly be a safe thing for anyone who would contemplate returning to, and living in any 323 part of the so-called United Kingdom; least. of all would it be safe for a member of the British Parliament. On the other hand it would be no easy task to urge before an Irish-American audience that the use of force by Ireland would be immoral.The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby made a speech the other day, at Bath, a speech of considerable length, in which he said lie would deal with this Report. But he very carefully avoided any reference to this ninth charge, and I think he was "wise in his generation." It was a significant omission, but I think the right hon. Gentleman must have felt he was estopped by his previous utterances, in which he described the Land League as a vile conspiracy, and told the House the League depended upon the support of the Fenian conspiracy, and that its doctrines were those of treason and assassination. The right hon. Gentleman said in his light-hearted way "there is nothing new in the Report, not a fact that was not perfectly well known in 1885." But all I can say is, that the country and very many Members of the House did not know all these facts. The vast majority of the people of this country did not know them then, but they know them now; and I would venture to point out that even the right hon. Gentleman himself must have a singular gift of prescience if he knew in 1885 that in 1886 and 1887 the League was under the control of the Clan-na-Gael. We had every reason to doubt the accuracy of the right hon. Gentleman's charges then, for the hon. Member for Cork was challenged as to the connection between the Constitutional party and the physical force party, and he got up in his place in this House and replied to the noble Lord the Member for Rossen-dale that it was absolutely false. Will he say so still? He said that in 1887, and we now know that the alliance existed at that time, for the Judges have declared it. I will not deal with other parts of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby: I will only point out that money is still being-received from the same source. For what purpose is it sent, with what purpose is it received and used? Is there any doubt that the paymasters will still demand their pound of flesh, any doubt that they will require their 324 money's worth? I see that Lord Spencer said the other day that the dynamite party even in America, were being supplanted by the advocates of Constitutional means. What proof is there of that? I fear that "hope is father to the thought." It is true the physical force party are making no demonstrations now, but why is that? because the whole matter is in the hands of the Clan-na-Gael Committee, and they are advised it is wiser not to hold Conventions for fear the truth should leak out; for fear men should show by violent speeches that if opportunity should arise they would again advocate the use of dynamite. There is no doubt whatever that if the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Mid Lothian should carry his scheme, whatever it may happen to be, a point upon which we have no knowledge; that if a Parliament were established on College Green, and the hon. Member for Cork at the head of it advocated a moderate! policy, there is no doubt the money would now into other channels, and be sent to men who would carry on the work of violence against the moderate policy, and the influence of the hon. Member for Cork would tumble away like a house of cards. Is there any vestige of evidence of any moderation in the views of the Clan-na-Gael at the present time? The policy of the hon. Member for Cork is now what it has been. It is this:—" Do not ask us any questions, send us money. Do not hold Conventions in which awkward things may be said." The whole policy now is, as it has been in the past, and I fear it will remain for some time to come, in spite of the shame and disgust that many of their allies opposite must now feel, one that can be summarised in four short words, "More dollars, no remarks."
§ (8.43.) MR. R. WALLACE (Edinburgh, E.)
In rising to—
Notice taken, that 40 Members were not present; House counted, and 40 Members not being found present.
§ House adjourned at twenty minutes before Nine o'clock till Monday next,