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himself had closely watched the course MR. LABOUCHERE said, he must of the Belfast riots, and he had also leave the matter in the hands of the come to the conclusion that it was most House, and he thought the impression desirable to use the military alone where on the mind of the House was quite diffiring was necessary. There was a body ferent. However that might be, the of military at Mitchelstown, and he hon. Member for East Mayo complained would like to know what they were that his hon. Friend (Mr. O'Brien) had doing all the time? Why was it that been put in prison as an untried prisoner Mr. Reed's recommendation was not until Friday week. The Chief Secretary carried out ? In conclusion he, would had said that he could not be tried bestrongly urge upon the Government: fore. The Petty Sessions were held first, that they should institute some / last Friday, and were adjourned until kind of inquiry into the Mitchelstown Thursday in this week, and surely his occurrence such as would satisfy the hon. Friend could be brought before public mind; and, secondly, that under that Court this week and tried. the special circumstances of Ireland, and MR. A. J. BALFOUR said, he never if occasions of the kind arose again, to mentioned the date, and never dwelt on send special instructions to the police the subject at all. against any excess in the discharge of MR. LABOUCHERE said, he did not their duty, and, also as to the way they think the right hon. Gentleman correctly should act.
stated the law when he said the Court MR. LABOUCHERE (Northampton) could not be called together till Friday said, that the hon. Member for East in next week. The contention of the Cork (Mr. O'Brien) had told him, after hon. Member for East Mayo was, that the interview at Kingstown, that the it was only right that the hon. Mempolice Inspector had informed him (Mr. berfor North-East Cork should be tried on O'Brien) that he would not be arrested Thursday, and that the trial should not until the following Monday if he pro- be postponed until next week. When mised not to go to England, but that the hon. Member for East Mayo comif he would not promise he would be plained of the character of some of the arrested at once.
witnesses to be produced in the ponding MR. A. J. BALFOUR: The Govern- trial at Mitchelstown, the Chief Secrement intended to arrest the hon. Mem- tary took him to task, saying that it was ber (Mr. O'Brien) on Monday, and the monstrous to prejudice justice in that reason they put the warrant into execu- way. But what did the right hon. Gention on Sunday was that they believed tleman do himself ? He entirely begged he was going to England.
the question when he said that one of MR. LABOUCHERE: Yet the right the witnesses had been severly injured, hon. Gentleman gave the House to and was hovering between life and death, understand that his hon. Friend the owing to the brutal violence of the Member for East Mayo was perfectly mob. Was that not prejudicing justice ? wrong in stating that Mr. O'Brien would He (Mr. Labouchere) called it nothing not be allowed to go to Parliament. else. The people whom the right hon.
Mr. A. J. BALFOUR said, he had Gentleman was pleased to call a mob, denied that the hon. Member was asked holding as they were a legal meeting, to promise that he would not attend had a perfect right to meet force with Parliament.
force. It was laid down by the highest MR. LABOUCHERE said the right authorities that, if a policeman exceeded hon. Gentleman was playing with words. his statutory right by law in an attack
MR. A. J. BALFOUR : Excuse me. upon any individual, the individual The accusation made against me by the might resist and even kill him; but ho hon. Member for East Mayo was, that I did so at his risk and peril
. If an indihad taken this course to prevent the hon. vidual was in peril of his life from a Member for North-East Cork making a policeman by a weapon illegally directed speech in Parliament. That I denied. against him, he might also kill that I pointed out that the question of Par-policeman. It had been laid down by the liament had nothing to do with the right hou. Member for Mid Lothian (Mr. matter. The question was whether the W. E. Gladstone) that the Government hon. Member for North-East Cork should had no sort of right to como with a rebe allowed to go to England or not. porter to a meeting and force bim there,
and if they did so, they did so at their | matter. He and his Friends made their own risk and peril, and the persons at assertions on prima facie evidence which the meeting had a perfect right to resist. might be rebutted; and all they said If the police used their batons, the was that a prima facie case had been people had a right in self-defence to made out for an independent and public strike back. Having been at the meet- investigation. That independent and ing at Mitchelstown, he (Mr. Labou- public investigation they claimed at the chere) rejoiced that the police were hands of the Government as a right. driven back by the people, and he The Government might refuse it. They maintained that whenever the Executive had a majority in that House which should attempt to violate the law in an enabled them to do what they pleased. equally outrageous manner, either in But those with him would appeal to a England or Ireland, the same resistance very different Court. They would appeal would be offered. The_Government to the people of England. [Laughter.] would not dare to do in England what Hon. Gentlemen might laugh. They they had done in Ireland. They were flattered themselves that five years would told they were not to have any sort of elapse before the people of England had free and independent public investiga- a chance of treating them as they detion into the matter. The right hon. served. But it might come sooner than Gentleman admitted yesterday that he they supposed, and they might depend received the information he had read to upon this, that when the English people the House from the police, which was a understood these attacks upon public tainted source, from the persons who meetings in Ireland, and that this was were incriminated, and yet he refused to done under the Common Law of England allow any independent inquiry. Of and of Ireland, and not by any special course, the right hon. Gentleman him- enactment in regard to Ireland, they self did not invent these stories; but would look very seriously upon this he (Mr. Labouchere) did assert that a question. They would ask themselves more gross and impudent tissue of lies whether a Government was to be mainnever was submitted to a Government tained in power, or a law to exist, which before. The right hon. Gentleman re- gave them such powers that peaceful ceived that report either from Resi- people who went to meetings might dent Magistrate Seagrave or Constabu- find themselves killed by the police, or lary Inspector Brownrigg. They lied batoned and bludgeoned by the police. grossly, and lied deliberately. He There was good reason for mitigating asserted last night that these the severity of the prison treatment of were murderers, and if they supplied political prisoners, although the right the information to the Chief Secretary, hon. Gentleman could not see any diffethey were liars as well as murderers. rence between the action of the hon. Mem. He did hope that there would be a fair ber for North-East Cork as a political criand proper inquiry into this matter, and minal and that of any ordinary criminal
. if there was an inquiry, he undertook There was this difference-that if the that every fact he had stated should be right hon. Gentleman happened to meet proved. The Government might despise that hon. Gentleman abroad he would the Radicals; but he was sure the hon. not refuse to associate with him. He Members for Northwich (Mr. Brunner) would not think he had acted in a manner and Merionethshire (Mr. T. E. Ellis), so dishonourable and mean that he was who were present, were not to be sup- not fit for the society of honourable men. posed to come lightly to that House and Yet he said he did not think the hon. state what was untrue; and he said Member for North-East Cork ought to be that when three Members of that House treated in a different way from anyone deliberately stated that, to the best of who had been sent on his trial for å their opinion, the deaths were caused by bona fide criminal offence. Our conduct the action of the police, and the wrong- in regard to the treatment of political ful action of the police — when they prisoners was a disgrace to the country, asserted that the statements made by In no other country were they so treated. the police were egregious and infamous Take France, Austria, Russia, if they fabrications — then ho maintained the liked, and they would not find politiproper course would be to have a fair cal criminals treated in the manuer and independent investigation into the we treated them, for a distinction was
drawn between ordinary and political hon. Member for North-East Cork than prisoners. [Laughter.] [Lord RAN- to those who were put in prison for doing DOLPH CHURCHILL: Worse.] He had what he suggested; but that was begging not followed the erratic course of the the whole question that what that hon. noble Lord. Perhaps he had been a Gentleman recommended them to do was political prisoner in some foreign coun- in itself a crime. They denied that it try himself. Even in Russia, political was crime; they contended that when prisoners were treated more leniently liberty was outraged it was the right than here. [“Oh!”] He had recently and the duty of citizens to defend it. been reading the life of a prisoner ar. He did hope, in conclusion, that there rested for participation in the quasi- would be some sort of inquiry, and that revolution that occurred when the Em- he and his hon. Friends were not to be peror Nicholas came to the throne. From stigmatised as three notorious liars. that it appeared that the prisoners were MR. PARNELL (Cork): Mr. Speaker kept in close confinement; but they were —the last word-and scarcely the first given plenty to eat and books to read, word—the House may rest assured, has and they were not put upon plank beds. not been heard upon this question of Further confirmation of his general the treatment of political opponents statement was supplied in the expe- Ireland. I think nothing reflects more riences of Silvio Pellico. If the noble discredit upon the government of IreLord, as a boy, read the adventures of land by this House than the treatment Silvio Pellico, he would find political of political prisoners. From time to prisoners were not treated as ordinary time, while there had been political criminals. The strong point of the right prisoners in large numbers, we have hon. Member for Mid Lothian in calling invariably heard exactly the same acattention to political prisoners under counts, the same stereotyped excuses King Bomba was that they were treated by the Government officers as those as ordinary criminals. Surely, the Chief which have been made to-night, and Secretary might order that political pri- upon other evenings during this Session soners in Ireland should be given books when the matter was brought forward. to read, and if they were to have hard We are told that these men, if not labour, it might be lighter labour than criminal themselves, that they incite to that of those who were able to bear it acts of criminality, that they are conbetter than themselves. They might victed under a law which has been also have sufficient to eat. During the passed by Parliament, that Parliament first month prisoners were given hardly thought proper to make no difference in anything to eat, but they were given their treatment, and consequently that more in the second month than in the it was not now for the Government to first; and he would suggest that the interfere. All I can say is, if it is not hardship would be less if the plan were for the Government to interfere, it is so reversed, and if the supply of food were very much the worse for the Governreduced in the second month rather than ment, and for the right hon. Gentleman in the first. He did not ask for any who is primarily responsible, if they species of luxury or comfort, but only cannot now interfere, because they that no degradation should be put upon closed the mouth of those who would political prisoners—that they should not have shown the necessity for interbe called upon to wear the prison dress, ference when the Crimes Act was being that they should not lie upon plank passed by Parliament. This law was beds, and that they should be allowed passed by Parliament under circumto have books to read. What he asked stances which compelled silence on the had been conceded by most of the part of the Opposition. We were not despotic Governments on the Conti- permitted to plead the cause of the nent, and therefore it could not be very future political prisoners under this much to ask of the Constitutional Go- Act, and now we are to be told to-day, vernment of Great Britain. It was said in view of this fact, that it is a sufficient that if this concession were made, those excuse for the Government that Parliawho incited to crime would be treated in ment has done what it has done, and that one way and their miserable victims the Government can now do nothing would be treated in another way—that more. Nothing, I think, excites more more consideration would be shown to the indignation in Ireland and I think you will be bound to admit it the House of Commons-tie large when your more sober moments come- majority of which then consisted of Con. nothing excites more feeling in the servative Members—attended to them, House of Commons than the recital of and did do something to prevent the the treatment of the Fenian prisoners in fair name of England being sullied in 1867 and subsequent years. These men reference to this question of the treatwere convicted under the ordinary lair ment of political prisoners Well
, then of the land by an Irish jury, selected came the Coercion Act of 1881, and under the ordinary system-not specially under that Act, as everybody knows, packed, not specially selected for the persons could be arrested in Ireland, purpose of convictions, but under the and during the duration of the Act, Act which had previously existed before without trial. The then Chief Secretary these offences were thought of or com--the late Mr. Forster-to his honour mitted. Those prisoners were tried, and be it said, undertook to see that the they were sentenced by a jury of their persons so treated were treated under own countrymen, some to penal ser- rules expressly framed for the purpose. vitude for life, and some to penal ser- His treatment of those persons was vitude for a long term. What was the characterized by distinguished humanity. result ? Owing to their barbarous They were persons who were not to be treatment in prison, the Devonshire tried--they were not accused of any Commission was instituted. That Devon- offence; they were arrested under what shire Commission recommended certain was practically suspension of the Habeas reforms in prison treatment, and those Corpus Act, and it was felt that they reforms were, I believe, subsequently could not be treated in the same way as carried out. It was admitted that such ordinary prisoners. Now, I believe that men as O'Donovan Rossa, whom you that is one of the reasons why the Gohave turned into a dynainiter by the vernment of the day have chosen the cruel treatment he received in Chatham summary jurisdiction method of dealing Prison, and that such men as Luby, who with their political opponents, rather was also imprisoned in Chatham, and than the suspension of the Habeas other prisoners, should not be treated Corpus Act; because under the sumas you treat ordinary thieves, your mur- mary jurisdiction method
inflict derers, your wife beaters, and those who upon political opponents imprisonment commit other crimes. Some modification with hard labour, plank bed, semiin their treatment was recommended by starvation, and the torture of solitary conthe Devonshire Commission, and it was finement, and the right hon. Gentleman carried out. Well, following upon that, the Chief Secretary was afraid that the when the Prisons Act of 1877 came comparatively lenient treatment which under discussion, we brought before the he would be compelled to give untried attention of the Conservative Govern- prisoners under the Habeas Corpus Act ment of the day the necessity for treat-would not have struck sufficient terror ing untried political prisoners in a dif- into the hearts of political opponents, ferent manner, and with more considera- and that that would not bring about tion than had hitherto been accorded the results which he hopes to see them; and in consequence a consider- brought about, but in which, I venable modification was inserted in the ture to say, he will be disappointed. Act. There was also a modification re- We are in this position-persons will be garding the treatment of persons con- arrested for the same class of offences as victed of sedition and of sections libel. under Mr. Forster's Act, and will not be The Legislature then decided that per- treated as he treated them, but will be sons convicted of precisely the same put on plank beds, will have 16 ounces offence as that of which the hon. Mem of bread a-day, with water, and a few ber for North-East Cork (Mr. William Ounces of gruel; avd if they fail in their O'Brien) was now to be tried before a allotted task to pick so much oakum, or Court of Summary Jurisdiction under raise a certain number of pounds so another name were entitled, when con- many feet high in a given number of victed of sedition or seditious libel, to hours, or fail at the treadmill, then tbe treatment of first-class misde- they will be put in dark cells and kept meanants. We obtained other modi. on bread and water for long periods. fications, and I am bound to say that That, I maintain, is barbarous treatment.
It is treatment that, if it be long con- are not criminals. You cannot make tinued, will result in the death of some such persons criminals by the mere passof the victims. It is monstrous to ex- ing of an Act of Parliament. Public pect that a man like the hon. Member opinion will not sanction the treatment for North-East Cork, a scholar and a of the hon. Member as a criminal. You man of letters, could pick oakum, lift can go no surer way to disgust the public weights, or do hard physical work; he opinion of the country, and I know of could not do it, he knew he could not do it, nothing that will be more unpopular in and therefore, rather than attempt a task the constituencies than to treat a poliin which he knew he must break down, tical antagonist as if he were a common he would decline beforehand to begin it, criminal. I believe that the hon. Mem. so that he would be punished at once for ber for North-East Cork, in the spirit of refusing, and his imprisonment would a martyr, will welcome the sufferings be one long punishment in a dark cell and the tortures that are to be inflicted upon bread and water. That is a very upon his weak and enfeebled frame, beserious situation. It is all very well to cause he knows that he is doing a service suppose that these things may not ob- to his country and his cause, because he tain publicity for a while, and that the knows, and the people of this country Government may escape the lash of will see, that the ordinary criminal law public opinion while their victims are of this country is not directed against pining away. But sooner or later pri- oriminals, but against political offences soners must come out, or, if they die, and political offenders. [Ironical Cheers. ] inquests must be held. Will the posi- | Well, I know I am speaking to callous ears tion of the Government be any better -[An hon. MEMBER—No!]-so far as then? Will they in this way obtain the the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Sesympathy and respect of the Irish people cretary for Ireland is concerned. and range them on the side of law and determined to be unique. He is going order? Will Irishmen be brought by to cut out a model for himself, and if he those means into sympathetic union with is not going down to posterity in any Englishmen? Is that the way to restore other shape, he is determined to go down law and order ? They have tried that in an original shape. He is going to sort thing for a great many centuries. trample on all the principles which have The result bas been a failure. They guided his Predecessors in Office. Mr. found Ireland, by the admission of the Forster treated his political opponents Government themselves and by their in a very different fashion ; but the right own statistics, free from crime. Will hon. Gentleman is going to treat them they leave it so? Will the recital of as they treat garroters. The right hon. their brutal and cowardly punishment Gentleman thinks he will perhaps be of men whom Ireland justly regards disgraced if he cannot intimidate the as its leaders-self-sacrificing leaders— defenders of Irish freedom-the Irish will the recital of slow tortures on those champions. But he will find, if he canmen make the Irish people tolerate them not intimidate these men, that he has more than they do now? Do the Go- face to face with him men who are vernment suppose that by what they are maintaining their position not for the doing they are not gowing strife and purpose of maintaining their Office and encouraging secret societies, perhaps to their salary, or keeping their Party in take the life of Government officials and Office, but for the purpose of freeing to the revival of the horrors of the In- their country-men who have, I hope, vincible period ? I say deliberately that as much fibre as the right hon. Gentioif they proceed on in that course, the man has, and as much courage at least, results will be on their own heads. They and who have some respect for the rights talk of inciting to crime. They say that of human beings--men as entitled to the hon. Member for North-East Cork live and breathe as himself. They have incites to crime, and that, therefore, he this short cut to the Government of Ireis to be treated as the person who com- land. “Put your political opponente mits crime is treated. And it comes to into gaol. Give them plank beds and this, that persons who incite to any of little food until they die, or are broken, the offences mentioned in the Act are and can give no further trouble.” That to be treated as criminals. I say that is the special receipt of the right hon. och persons are political offenders, and Gentleman. "Send the police to public