Page images
PDF
EPUB

modation for their Government ro- deny him ; and it is his business and porter ?” Will the right hon. Gentle- duty to take up his position before the man be surprised to know that the crowd assembled in any great multitude. officers of law in Ireland have submitted I have never, in the whole course of my to that humiliation to me personally at experience of public meetings in Ireland, least 100 times | The officers of the law whi is, perhaps, greater than that of in Ireland have asked me to give accomo any other man in this House, seen an modation and protection to the Govern- attempt made after a meeting had comment reporter on the platform, and on menced to rush and fight a passage this condition—that if I consented to do through the thickest portion of a crowd, 80 they would entirely withdraw the in order that the police reporter might police from the precincts of the meeting. get into the centre. Then, I ask, why That has been the practice in Ireland, was this universal practice departed as I stated on a previous occasion; and from at Mitchelstown? And I say, 80 I defy any offioer to contradict me-in far from the ordinary course being purfact, no one would do so. I have al. sued in the case of Mitchelstown, with ways exercised all the influence I have regard to this delioate question of a to get Government reporters a seat on police reporter, a totally novel course the platform, although they did not con- was adopted, one without precedent in tend they had a right to it. They knew the history of Irish publio meetings; they had no right to be there, but I a course which, had it been generally always used my influence to get them a adopted, would, unless a miracle had seat on the platform ; and the officials in occurred, have infallibly led to disMitchelstown must have known that, turbance. There were about 8,000 people wherever I went, my influence has around the platform; and the crowd always been exercised to protect the was so thick in its vicinity that it would Government reporter and get him a have taken the utmost exertions to get seat; and yet, in face of that, they never through the meeting. But after the asked for this permission from the pro- chairman had begun to speak, at the moters of the meeting. I believe the thickest portion of the crowd, and plump argument used was, that there was some in front of the platform, a body of 20 uncertainty as to where the platform police arrived with a reporter in their was to be. There is not a shadow of midst, and proceeded to force their way foundation for the statement. When we through the crowd towards the platform. passed through the square half an hour A noise immediately arose, the people before the meeting commenced there shouldered the police, and turned round, was a platform, consisting of two drags and an altercation arose. Two gentle. from which the horses had been re- on the platform, jumping down, moved, and when we arrived the meet-forced their way through the crowd, and ing was largely assembled around. threw themselves between the police There would be 4,000 or 5,000 persons and the people, and with their umbrellas there, and the drags were full of repre- beat our men back from the police and sentatives of the Press and priests, so prevented all disturbance. And here that it was perfectly obvious where the comes a point of the utmost importance, platforms would be; and if they had and which I will prove beyond all yea adopted the ordinary course, and asked or nay. It is of the utmost importance, me to accommodate the reporter in the because it is in the beginning of matters drag, I would have used my best in- like this that the blame lies on one side fluence to do so. Why did they not do or the other. This primary disturbance the next best thing? What do they do was quelled. Somebody in the waggon if they are refused accommodation ? suggested I should get up now, and that They invariably plant the police reporter there would be no danger of trouble. I in the vicinity of the platform before got up and addressed the meeting for a the meeting assombles. We heard a fow minutes, and the police at that mogood deal of eloquent talk about ment retired a little, and stood outside the rights of a police reporter. I the outermost skirt of the crowd, and do not know what right he has, except the meeting became perfectly peaceful to occupy the position which he takes and orderly. This is a matter which up, and not to be molested. That is has been overlooked. A distinct interval the right which I have nover sought to occurred during which the row com

men

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]

pletely quieted down-to use the words | blows as if a hail storm of shot had
of The Irish Times' correspondent—and been sent in among them. We have
the meeting was absolutely peaceful and heard a great deal about the blackthorns
orderly. The Irish Times' correspondent of the Tipperary men. The truth is that
Bays-

very few had blackthorns with them. I
Then a large body of police came marching can tell you that if the Tipperary men
up the hill to tho aid of their discomfited com- brought their blackthorns in any num.
rades.''

bers

you would have heard very little of You must recollect that up to this mo- the 50 police. Of the people around ment no blow had been struck or stone the police, eight out of every nine had thrown; and you must remember this nothing in their hands but ash plants, fact—that up to this moment and to the for they nover even dreamt of a row. last, because I saw him after he had got An ash plant, I may tell you, is a riding back to the barrack, no hand was raised cane. It may cut a man in the face ; or blow struck at Condron the reporter. but would not knock a man down. I saw Nobody had a word against Condrou, no many a fine young fellow knocked down blow was struok at him, and even tho by the batons of the police, and the few little band of 12 police, after the first who had sticks fought hard. And now angry altercation, stood beside our

as to the injuries received by the polioe.
people, and there was no disturbanco It has been said that the police had to
and no anger between them. I road on fly for their lives, and had a great many
from The Irish Times' correspondent, injuries inflicted on them. Do not be-
because the paper is an unfriendly lieve it. For every one of the polico
paper-

injured there were four of the people.
“ Jr. Dillon said : Men of Mitchelstown, I The police reported that 56 of their
ask you to pay no more attention to those men, number were seriously hurt; but what
but let us proceed with this great meeting in a does The Standard correspondent say
spirit of order and of peace, which will do
credit to the men of this district, and will show this morning? He says-
(slight interruption) to the world that the

“ In the accounts furnished by the police
people of this great country have felt in their there was much exaggeration as regards the
hearts the approach of victory which is certain injured last night. The number of injured
and soon at hand."

given was 54; but the actual list of wounded is
What does The Irish Times' correspon- less than 20, and only one man seriously
dent go on to describe ?-

hurt.'
"The police then marched up, and it became The police, as you can see from this,
apparent they were determined to carry out grossly exaggerated the nature of their
their orders to place Condron in a position injuries. I watched the progress of the
where he could hear."
The correspondent then alludes to what fight, which, so far as I can guess, lasted
has been called mounted cavalry, but say with

regard to the fight-that from the
who are simply farmers who ride on time it commenced to the time the police
horseback -

ran away, they were advancing regu-
"These men (says the correspondent] were, larly into the crowd towards the plat-
was the press. The police drew their batons form, dispersing the crowd about them.
and struck the Aanks of the horses severely. They wero not attacked-they were the
They tried to go forward, jumped to the side, aggressors. From the moment the first
reared, and created around them such a clear: blow was struck to the moment they
ance that the police were able to advance, and broke and fled, they fought their way
tako up the position in which they formerly
stood. Here the passage was blocked again, through the crowd with clubbod rifles
and they procended to force their way, using and with batons, and men seemed to go
the muzzles of their rifles."

down in ranks beneath their blows. The
That was the way the struggle com- great body of the crowd, having no-

At this stage of the proceed thing in their hands, dispersed, and ings, while the police were trying to force there were at no time more than about their way on, I saw one stone come 200 engaged with the police; but in a from the outskirts of the crowd, go high few minutes, when they saw their friends in the air, and drop among the police. treated in this manner, a curtain portion I saw no other stones thrown. In a second of them got together and stoned the the police were batoning everyone police, and the police_then turned and around them, and men fell beneath the fled baok to barracks.

I come

i arose, , acting 110se. It: m, juos ugh theatr. Jet T601 rith thet a from the rbance utmost iga pre bertat utmost in

[ocr errors]

loger of the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

of th:

portent,

now

A distzarsich the me

to the most important part of my state- not see them. I asked for the comment with regard to what occurred when manding officer, and was pointed out an the police fled. I am in a position to old gentleman with a grey moustache. be extremely accurate. I first went to a He was like a lunatic, tearing up and carriage where there were five of the down the room in an excited state. I six English ladies, and advised them to stopped him and said—"I have come go into shelter. I must say that they here with two priests. We want you to showed very great pluck during the kindly keep the men in barracks for a whole affair. I succeeded in persuading few minutes, and give us a chance of them to go into the priest's house, and clearing the streets. We undertake to then I got two priests who were stand- clear the town," and I impressed on him ing near me to go with me to the that what we wanted

was to avoid barrack to see the Resident Magistrate. bloodshed. “No, Sir; no, Sir;" he The square was covered with people, said, “I will do nothing of the sort. and I told them not to follow me, and I My men must form in the streets at left four or five priests to keep them once.” I caught hold of him and said from going towards the barrack. Ac- “For God's sake give a chance befora companied by the two priests I walked you send the men out on the street." towards the barrack. The distance to No,” said he, “I won't have any dicfrom the waggonette to the corner tation from you," or something of that of the square is about 200 yards. sort. He spoke to some constables, and When we got to this corner we turned they collared the two priests who were to the right up the street, and the dis- with me, and pitched them out of the tance to the barrack door was exactly barrack; they also laid bands on me, 62 yards. We walked to the barrack and tried to shove me out of the bar. door. There was not a single policeman rack. I succeeded in dodging them, in the street, and the door of the barrack and getting in beside the wall got to the was shut and bolted. I am ready to rear of the police. Then the County swear, and recollect this was only about Inspector and two of the three police three minutes from the time the police passed out of the door, which was open turned and fled-I am ready to swear all this time. I heard a struggle at the that there were not 20 men within 60 door, and saw the police returning, yards of the barrack door. I stood at dragging two men after them. The the barrack door and knocked. I was door was then closed and barred, and right in the line of fire if stones were the firing commenced. I find it difficult thrown. No stone could touch the now to ask English Gentlemen to be. barrack without my seeing it; there was lieve what I am going to tell. I stood no crowd in the street, and up to this near the door and saw these two men no shot was fired. We knocked at the dashed on the floor of the hall, and door, and a voice inside asked what we actually eight or 10 constables stooped wanted. I said “Mr. Dillon and the over these men and beat them with their priests are here," and that we wanted batons while they lay on the floor. I to see the commanding officer, with a called out—"Are you going to murder view of preserving the peace. The the men before my eyes ?” and the conbarrack door was then unbarred_and stables turned on me savagely, but they opened, and we were admitted. How, did not strike me. One of them said to then, can any hon. Member say that a me—“You ruffian, this is the sort of furious crowd was storming the bar- thing you get up in the country; I'll racks? The door was unbarred and hold you responsible." In a moment I opened. We walked into the hall and saw the flash of stoel, and saw that one entered into conversation with the com- of the constables had drawn bis bayonet, manding officer, and during this time and was making a lunge with all his the door was left open after us. No force at one of the men on the floor, stone was flung, no crowd collected in when a young officer, who, I am bound the street, for all the time two of the to say, was the only decent man I found three priests stood at the corner of the in the place, caught the constable by square, and kept the people back from the arm and said "No more of that.” following me. We found the barrack That I saw with my own eyes. The hall thronged with policemen. If there other constables continued to beat the were any wounded policemen we did two men with their batons; and all the time the two men were huddled together | to their minds the astonishing statement upon the floor with their heads under of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. The them to protect them from the blows. Chief Secretary never saw Mitchelstown, The firing was going on all the time and they did not take the trouble to from the upper windows. The County draw for him a diagram of the place Inspector again appeared ; he seemed to when they were sending him their story. be in a state of demoralization, running What did he say? He saidup and down like a madman, and

“I state deliberately that the firing was not seemed to have completely lost his head. the random firing of men in a panic. It was I caught hold of this man, and said the deliberate firing of men acting under the "For God's sake stop this firing, and instructions of their officers, who told them to give me a chance." I supposed at the fire only, on those who were attacking the

barracks." time that the people had collected outside the barrack; I could not conceive Now, who was the first man shot dead ? that men would fire out of the top The first man killed was a man entirely window unless a crowd were at the doors. out of the range of stones, and he must A young officer came up just at this have been deliberately aimed at accordmoment. The County Inspector would ing to the Chief Secretary. He was give me no satisfaction; and this young standing in the square about 30 yards officer, whose name I believe is Knox, beyond the corner of the square. That the District Inspector of Bansha, came is at least 100 yards from the barracks. up, and he said—“I think Mr. Dillon That man, whom I saw lying in a pool ought to get a chance. Let us ask him of blood as I walked across the square, to speak to the people from the top must have been deliberately aimed at. window." I said that I would do so Where did the two other shots, charges immediately; and I rushed upstairs, of buckshot, go ? They lodged in the thinking all the time that there was a window opposite the barrack, a second crowd in front; but when I got to the story window. There were a number of top of the stairs a tumultuous crowd of children looking on at the proceedings, policemen tumbled out of three or four and one of the shots hit by the edge of rooms on the top story, and tumbled the window, and drove the masonry in downstairs in a wild state of confusion, about the children's ears. tumbling me with them. I went to the nurserymaid who had charge of the chil. County Inspector again, and I said to dren pulled them away, and then fell him—"For God's sake, before you do down in a faint. That was tho second apything further, give me at least a of the deliberate shots which the Chief chance. If you won't let me speak from Secretary speaks of; and the marks of the top window put me out of the door, other shots are all about the houses and I will engage to put the crowd away opposite the barracks. (Mr. BRUNNER: -at any rate let me try.” He refused Hear, hear!] A great number of shots again, and said he must form his men were fired, and it is my deliberate opion the street. At that moment the nion, from looking at them, that some young officer came up again, and said — of the men fired their shots out of Mr. Dillon ought to be allowed to revenge for the blows under which they have a chance.” The young officer then were smarting; and that others fired ordered the doors to be opened himself, their shots out of sheer panio, without and they opened the doors at his com- knowing where they were firing, that mand. I suppose some of the policemen they just put their rides to the window, were inclined to do so themselves. They and pulled the triggers without taking unbolted the door, and when the door aim. Now, as to the alleged attack on was unbolted there was nobody outside. the barrack, there is abundant and conI walked out, expecting to see a crowd clusive evidence to show that no such that would have to be dispersed, and I thing took place. Take, first, the confound nobody; and there were not 10 dition of the barrack itself after all was men within 60 yards of the barrack. I over. How many panes of glass were walked straight across the line of fire, there in the barracks? There were nine and the first sight I saw was a man lying or ten windows, and 160 panes, and out dead, with the roof of his head blown of these 160 panes three panes had one off

, 100 yards from the barrack. I stone through each. I went down the would now ask hon. Members to reoall town the following day with my note

The poor

book, and I examined the barracks. Now that is the statement of The There is one stone mark in the fanlight Standard correspondent; and it absoof the door, and there are three other lutely and completely bears out the panes broken by stones—apparently by statement that I have been enabled to stones, for the hole is star-shaped, and make upon my own authority, and from you can see that there is only one stone my own observation. Well, now I bare through each pane. There are marks here, and I am going to read, the of about eight or nine stones on the evidence of a few independent observers, stanchions of the barrack front. That the only independent observers who shows the whole nature of this savage have been called at all; because the attack. As to the kicking of the door, Government have not called any in. that must be an absolute myth, or else dependent_observers, although there it must be owing to the fact that the were 10 Englishmen and ladies who police, in their hurry to get into the witnessed the whole thing, and they barrack, shut the door before all the were by no means all Gladstonians. police had arrived, because the crowd Some of them were strangers, who came did not follow them at all. As to that, there by accident, and who had no conI have independent witnesses of most nection whatever with the meeting. unquestionable character. If there was There were two gentlemen from London any kicking at the door, it must have - Mr. Turnbull and Professor Hudson been some of the police who were left - whom I never heard of before in my behind in the rush, and who knocked life, and whom I may never meet again; violently at the door in their terror, and and there was also a Mr. Conbrough, a wore admitted by their comrades. Here Scotch gentleman, who is, I am inis what a correspondent of The Standard formed, a Liberal Unionist. I met says with regard to the attack upon the him once travelling abroad some years barrack, and its condition afterwards- ago, and I met him by the merest

"In the front of the barrack [says the accident in Dublin, and he came down Standard] there are 10 windows.

Each con

with us; but he had no connection whattains 16 panes, and of the 160 panes only six ever with the meeting. I will read you are broken."

the testimony of Mr. Conbrough, who I myself only saw three. The Standard is, I have heard, a Liberal Unionist. correspondent says six. He goes on- [Opposition cries of "was" and cheers.)

--I myself know absolutely nothing of “Some of the broken glass lies outside.”

the gentleman's politics. I had not That means that some of the panes seen him for many years; but he called broken were the panes through which upon me in Dublin, just as I was going the policeman thrust their muskets. to Mitchelstown, and he said he wanted

"Some of the broken glass lies outside, as if to study the Irish Question. I said he the panes had been broken from the inside, would probably see something interestwhile in two or three cases the shattered glass ing at Mitchelstown, and he came along lies inside."

What does he say about what Now listen to what The Standard corre

occurred ? He says, with regard to the spondent says as to the character of the second attack-and' I should mention crowd. In the attack upon the barracks that he had not been able to force his he says,

way through the crowd, and remained

on a car on the outskirts close to the “When the first blow was struck, there was police. He no possibility of controlling the Tipperary men, | attack

says about the second and they attacked the police like fury.” Well, I admit that some of the Tipperary point, I noticed the police advance again, and

" While Mr. Dillon was speaking at this men fought very hard; but I utterly make a tremendous attack upon the horses. The deny that they struck the first blow. next thing after the battle was over that I saw The Stanılard goes on, and this is a most

was the police flying wildly down the square to: important point

wards the barrack, the people pursuing, and

throwing stones. I did not see the people pur“A spectator describes the air as thick with sue the police further than the corner of the sticks; but there is ovidence that before the square. I now crossed to the opposite side of fleeing police had run to the bottom of the the square-that next the police barrack-and square the rancour of their assailants had cooled endeavoured to get into some house, as I underdown, for they made no attempt to approach the stood the police would return presently and barrack."

make a bayonet charge ; but all the doors were

with us.

« PreviousContinue »