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would I ask the indulgence of the legally by the Government. But all House to allow me to examine for a few meetings called for the arrest of the moments the great question of public process of law are illegal and must be meeting. The right hon. Gentleman prevented. Now, that is a broad and the Member for Derby declared that he solid definition, and I hold clearly that had come up all the way from the New the meetings at Ballycoree and MitchelsForest to the House of Commons in town were not meetings cailed for the order to vindicate the sacred right of reform of law or for the removal of public meeting in Great Britain, and to public grievances; but they were disprotest against the Irish peasants being tinctly and essentially meetings called deprived of this right. Well, I think for the arrest of the process of law. he is giving himself most unnecessary That is the whole difference between trouble. I do not imagine that the the two things. Do hon. Gentlemen right of public meeting is in the slightest opposite suppose that any Judge in this danger in this country from anything country, or any Judge in Ireland, would which may have taken place in Ireland. have allowed any meeting to take place There are public meetings and public within any reasonable distance of his meetings. The right hon. Gentleman Court, when a trial was going on, if the the Member for Derby said it was in meeting had relation to the matter under tended to hold public meetings through- trial ? There is no Judge who would out the length and breadth of Great not have had all the parties before him, Britain to denounce the conduct of the if it were possible, and committed them Government, and to denounce the con- for contempt of Court. There is no duct of the Executive-to denounce the Judge who would not have called upon proclamation of the National League, the Sheriff to summon the whole forces and to denounce the incidents at Mitchels- of the Sheriff to disperse such meeting. town. No one will interfere with him. What is the difference between a meet. No one has the slightest objection to ing of that kind and the meeting at his pouring out on the Government the Mitchelstown, called to take place on the whole vials, the whole cellar of his day, and at the very hour, when the wrath. I know no reason why the Go-trial--a very important trial—of a very vernment should fear, and, even if they popular leader, was going to take place? had the right, why they should interfere I know that hon. Gentlemen opposite with, the denunciation of the right hon. will say that the meeting took place Gentleman the Member for Derby. He after the trial. has often denounced me, but I have MR. DILLON: The meeting took never felt myself a bit the worse. It is, place at the invitation of the police. no doubt, within the power of the right We asked their permission, and got hon. Gentleman and his Colleagues, if their permission. they should so think fit, and if they have LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: the courage to take upon themselves the That is a new statement altogether, and responsibility, to go to Ireland, and to it is a statement that the hon. Gentle. address public meetings there, and to man will pardon me in hesitating to denounce in the manner in which they accept. What I was saying was that have done here the conduct of the Go- the meeting was really called to take vernment. No one will object; but I place during the trial, because, inevitgreatly doubt whether they will go. I ably, if the hon. Member for North-East have the greatest possible doubt as Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien had answered the to whether any responsible ex- Minister summons and been present, the trial of the Crown is likely in the course would have been going on while the of this year to visit Ireland for the moeting was taking place, and the result purpose of making use of the strong of the trial would probably have been language which they make use of known to the public just about the time in England. Time will show whether the meeting was terminating. I cannot I am right. Now, this I put forward conceive what power would have prewith great confidence, that all meetings vented a collision between the persons in this country called for the purpose of holding the meeting and the police reform of law, called for the purpose of escorting, possibly, the prisoner from the the removal of popular grievances, are Court House. Now, that exactly states legal, and cannot be interfered with the case. The meeting at Mitchelstown
to kill you.
was called to arrest, or to interfere, or The argument will not, it appears to me, to embarrass the proceedings of law; and hold water for one moment. The right as such I hold there can be no doubt hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby whatever, in any reasonable person's used a very curious arguinent. He mind, that it was a meeting wholly and quoted Lord Eldon and Lord Erskine, grossly illegal.
and he said that in order to constitute MR. DILLON: The Government did the illegality of a meeting there must be not proclaim it.
some overt act of riot. I may point out LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: that at Mitchelstown there was an overt Oh; that is another question altogether act of riot. The resistance of the police which raises at once, what notice had is an overt act of riot. Hon. Gentle the Government ? It raises a whole men opposite have most curious notions heap of questions not brought before as to the duties of the police. You us. But the proclamation of a meet. have no right to resist the police-none ing does not make a meeting illegal. whatever. [ Cries of “Oh, oh!”] I am [ Tome Rule cheers.] That is no news to prepared to argue that point with the hon. Gentlemen opposite, though they hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. cheer it. They are quite as well ac- Labouchere), who looks very indignant. quainted with public meetings as I am, I say you have no right to resist the and they know that the Government police. If a policeman does you injushave no power to make a meeting illegal. tice, if he assaults you, or takes you into It is thê law which makes a meeting custody, or orders you to move on, your illegal, and not the Executive Govern- remedy is before the magistrate. ment. If a meeting is called for an MR. PARNELL: Suppose he tries illegal purpose, and a meeting called to arrest the process of law must be illegal, LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: no proclamation will make it illegal. I defy any lawyer in the House to conNow I come to the more general ques
tradict You have no right to resist tion of meeting. What is the state of a policeman by force. None-absolutely the case ? Hon. Gentlemen who repre- none. You may bring him before a sent the National Party of Ireland have magistrate, and if you can prove him to told us over and over again in the be in the wrong you can get the best of plainest manner, in this House and in him. I hold this is undoubtedly the their newspapers in Ireland, that they law. [Laughter.] Well, the hon. Genmean to leave no stone unturned to tlemau the Member for the Northwich reduce the Criminal Law Amendment Division of Cheshire (Mr. Brunner) may Act to a farce, and to bring its operation laugh. I do not know what treatment to naught. They have told us that in is accorded to policemen in the Salt Disthe plainest manner, in every way in trict; but I strongly advise him, however which the information could be con- great may be his grievances against the veyed. Well, when the Act was passed police, not to resist them by force of
great meeting was called in County physical strength, but to go before a Clare, where crime has been peculiarly magistrate, and if the policemen are in rife. A great meeting was called in the wrong he will obtain his remedy. order to instruct the people how they I say that if a party of policemen insist might best bring the operation of the upon their right of entrance to a public law to naught, in order to instruct them meeting they are within their right, and how they should give evidence, and in all resistance to them is illegal. I have order to instruct them how best to resist not the smallest doubt about it. At the police, in order to instruct them how Mitchelstown the policemen escorting a best to continue meetings of the National Government reporter into a meeting League in case the Government should were resisted by force of arms. [Cries of proclaim the League
to be an illegal as- "No, no!”] They were not resisted by sociation, and in order to instruct them force of firearms, but by force of arms.
every artifice and dodge by which the That is a legitimate expression. I say process of law might be resisted and that was an overt act of violence which
am told that this is per- was necessary, if anything was necesfectly legal, and that any interference sary, to constitute the meeting illegal. mental liberties of the British people. vernment have a perfect right to take with such a meeting upsets the funda- I must say T, myself, hold that the Go
whatever measures they think necessary solutely nothing. [Laughter.] Let hon. for securing sworn testimony as to what Members laugh if they choose, but passes at meetings where they have rea- let them do me the honour to listen to son to believe seditious language may be me. We listened to the right hon. used, or language calculated to provoke | Member for Derby (Sir William Har. a breach of the peace, and the argument court), who gave us some very curious that the Government reporter had no doctrines, and I would certainly put the right to force his way into the meeting doctrines of common sense against his. has no weight with me. It is a most I say that I hold that there is absolutely remarkable fact that the Government nothing within reasonable limits which reporter was the person who was the a Government cannot do; and the only principal witness in the case at the two checks that I know of upon the Police Court. I look upon it as most Executive are these—first, the check of remarkable that not only was the Go- a Court of Law, and, next, the check of vernment reporter the principal witness Parliament. They may suppress meetagainst the hon. Member for North-East ings, shoot down people, or arrest and Cork (Mr. W. O'Brien), but that another confine people, as long as their action is Government witness has, I understand, not traversed by the Courts of Law and been brought into the greatest possible by Parliament; and what we have to bodily peril, and it is doubtful whether consider with regard to this Mitchelshe will be able to give evidence in a town meeting is—Has anything taken Court of Justice. Now, if I may go place which is likely to result in a sucthrough the process of argument which cessful action against the Government the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Dillon) goes in a Court of Law, or in a Vote of Cen. through, and put not only two and two sure in the House of Commons ? And I together, but far greater numbers to do not think hon. Members have gone gether, I should say there is evidence deeply enough into this matter. I know that the deputations which came from of no other check upon the action of the different parts of the country to this Executive Government than the two I rendezvous came for a particular destruc- have named. I do not think that you tive purpose. Certainly, some are likely to carry a Vote of Censure in mounted, and some werə armed, and it the House of Commons, and the more is a most remarkable thing that the two so because you have not ventured to people placed in the greatest peril were challenge it. But if you think that the two persons who were likely to give House of Commons affords no protecevidence against the hon. Member for tion, and that the action of the GoverzNorth-East Cork. I will not pursue that ment in breaking up the meeting at line of argument further; but I maintain Ballycoree, and their action at Mitchelsit would not be one whit more untenable town, were illegal, you have your than the line of argument hon. Gentle remedy in a Court of Law. Damages men have taken up, whether with regard can be recovered, or other penalties. to the general proposition as regards Before any Judge and jury you can public meeting, or their special refer- bring your facts, and if the action of ences to the circumstances at Mitchels- the Government was illegal you can town. Now, Sir, we hear a great deal recover penalties against them. But about the rights of the people in these when you talk of the rights of the people matters, and no one would be more we are bound to recollect the rights of ready to stand up for those rights than the Government; and I am bound to I should be if I thought that the power say that when the rights of the Governof the Executive was being unfairly ment are placed against the rights of the used against them. But there is such a people, unless the House of Commons thing as the rights of the Government, and a Court of Law are on the side of and the rights of the Government are the people it is always the rights of the very great, because the duties of the Government which will triumph. Irish Government are very great. Now, I Members appear to me to have a most hold myself, despite the argument of extraordinary idea of the Executive the hon. Member for Northampton, sub- Government. They seem to think the ject, of course, to reasonable limitations, Executive Government is a kind of that there is nothing in reason which a cockshy-a kind of Aunt Sally, against Government cannot do. Nothing-ab. which any kind of insult may be hurled,
pon the at jent than one ) not think to a Tote of mons, and are not if you thick: s atlords 99 ction of the
up the ex ir actions: 1 TOD
upon which any kind of coutempt can An hon. MEMBER: It was held.
LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL:
An hon. MEMBER: We held three vation of the peace, the preservation of law and order, and the security of life meetings in Ennis. and property, is to be exposed to any
LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: kind of indignity, to every kind of in. I was quite satisfied with the result. sult and embarrassment, carried to any Several hon. MEMBERS: Yes; and length, and to remain as a lay figure, so were we. without any power of asserting itself,
LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: without any kind of action or vitality This power was shown at Mitchelstown. whatever. The moment the Government asserts itself in its most elementary
An hon. MEMBER: Yes; for murder. duty, at once we have the Irish Members Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL: coming down in a storm of indignation The man condemned to death may say and denouncing the Government for the ho is about to be murdered. You may performance of what is its most elemen- call any death that takes place in contary duty. These are principles which nection with the action of the law and I think are well worthy the considera- the Executive murder; but I find the tion of Irish Members. They have same struggle with the Executive going chosen deliberately, and, as far as I can on in other countries. There is nothing make out, even gaily, to challenge a remarkable about it, nothing unusual, struggle with the Executive Govern- nothing that does not happen every ment of Ireland. They have told us day in other countries. It happens frethat by the force of their great influence quently in that great country of the West and great abilities they will reduce not —the United States of America-from only the Common Law powers, but the which you draw your great support, special powers the Government have ob- that the moment a human life is brought tained to a farce and an absurdity, and within range of a struggle with the that they will make them as if Parlia- Executive it is valued as much as I ment had never enacted them. They value a piece of paper on the floor. In have chosen to challenge this struggle that land of , liberty—in that land to with the Executive, and if they perse- which you look for the model of the vere and really mean what they say, Constitution which you would inflict they may depend upon it that the Exe- upon Ireland—I would like to know cutive Government is not going to be what are the chances of human life, if that kind of cockshy, that kind of you dared to enter into a struggle with Aunt Sally, that lay figure they would the Executive Government? I say again, wish it to be. The Executive disposes I do not think the Irish Members have of forces which are irresistible. The measured the forces they have to contend Executive is not only armed by Common with in Ireland. When they raise these Law powers, which I believe to be un- debates in this House, and pour upon the limited, but it is also armed with a Government torrents of abuse and inspecial law; and it has behind it all the dignation, which they think it their force of the police, all the force of the duty to do, they do not realize what military, and all judicial forces, if its the effect may be on the Irish peopleaction is legal. Not only that, but so how they are possibly hurling the Irish long as their action is legal and reason people into a struggle in which they ably directed to the discharge of the must fare the worst. You forget that elementary Executive duties of govern- Parliament is not a thing of to-dayment, Her Majesty's Government know that Parliament lasts for some years. that they can count on the support of The majority supporting the Governthe great majority of the House of ment is not a thing which dies away toCommons. That is the power which morrow or next year. There is they have deliberately arrayed them- reason at all that I know of why the
The power was shown Government should not endure for some at Ballycoree, for the meeting was not years to come. We are told that they held.
will lose all public support by the action
that they have taken in suppressing pub- MR. PARNELL (Cork): Mr. Speaker, lic meetings in Ireland, and interfering I beg to move the adjournment of the with the fundamental rights of a free debate. people. We are told that bye-elections
Motion made, and Question proposed, are going against us, and that there
“ That the Debate be now adjourned." ought to be a Dissolution, and that in that event the Liberal Party would
-(31r. Parnell.) come back with a great majority. THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREA. What on earth is the object of the SURY (Mr. W. H. SMITH) (Strand, Septennial Act? It was to prevent the Westminster): Before this Question is people being carried away by the result put, I beg to make an appeal to the hon. of bye-elections, and from being pos- Member to proceed with the debate this sessed by the momentary glamour of evening, notwithstanding the hour, harsome public Leader, or from giving a ing regard to the fact that no issue has hasty judgment. You have to deal with been raised before the House, and that a powerful Executive disposing of the only Question is that you, Sir, do powerful forces, and supported by a leave the Chair. I believe I am correct large and by no means diminishing ma- in saying that there is no occasion in jority. I quite understand there may history of the adjournment of the de. be a grumble here and there, and I bate on a question of this character quite understand that the able orators unless there had been some distinct issue of the Party opposite may be able so before the House. I think I am also to place things before the people, or right in saying that on no occasion whatso to misrepresent them, and so to pre- ever has an adjournment been moved, vent and distort them, as to snap a ver- even under these circumstances, on the dict here, and a popular victory there, but third stage of the Appropriation Bill. time will sist the value of these events. I Under these circumstances, it will be my will venture to tellthe Party opposite, and duty to resist that Motion; and as we also the Government, what would lead are all anxious to hear the hon. Member to a speedy end of the Parliament—what for Cork, I trust that he will proceed will lead to a Dissolution. It will be with the remarks he has to make. that there should be a recurrence in MR. PARNELL: Perhaps I may be Ireland, owing to the failure of the Exe- allowed to say that I think the suggescutive, of that frightful disorder and tion that I should proceed at this hour crime, and outrage and terror, which (half-past 12) is a most unreasonable Parliament before negl. cted to deal one. The right hon. Gentleman must with; and you will only ruin the Go be aware that it was impossible for us, vernment beyond redemption, and inflict and for the House generally, who had upon their Party injury which years not the advantage of being present at would not repair, when you insure that those proceedings at Mitchelstown, to there should recur that terror and intimi- decide as to what action we ought to dation which during the last six years take until we had heard the statements has been a melancholy and dark feature of both sides. We have had the opporof that country, and which the Unionist tunity of hearing the statement of the Party, which is represented by the Go- Chief Secretary, and the statement of vernment, is pledged to suppress. I the hon. Member for Northampton, and believe the Government are impressed we have also heard the statement of my with that idea-I am certain that the hon. Friend the Member for East Mayo Party bebind them are impressed with (Mr. Dillon)-those last two Gentlemen that idea. I am certain that the Govern- having been eye-witnesses. I had noment rralizes, and the Party behind thing to take action upon until I had them realizes, the irresistible powers heard the statements made by the Gothat the Executive disposes of, and that vernment to-night and by the eyethe struggle in Ireland—the struggle in witnesses of the proceedings. I propose which the right hou. Gentleman the to move a distinct Amendment to the Member for Mid Lothian and the Mem Motion before the House to-morrow, and bers below the Gangway are engaged – I ask the Government to afford me the is a great struggle between law lessness Constitutional right of doing so; but, and law, and that on the triumph of had this been otherwise, I submit this law their safety depends.
House could not have brought this de