Suppression of "freeman's Journal."

Orders of the Day — Ireland. – in the House of Commons on 16th December 1919.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr T.P. O'Connor Mr T.P. O'Connor , Liverpool Scotland

I beg to move, "That this House do now adjourn."

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

Before the hon. Member begins, I should like to inform the House that this matter is now the subject of an arrangement which the Government has accepted. I only wish to state that it is the intention of the Government in this Debate to pay due regard to this, so that neither one side nor the other shall disclose beforehand anything with regard to the case that is to come before the Court.

Photo of Mr T.P. O'Connor Mr T.P. O'Connor , Liverpool Scotland

I quite accept the suggestion made by the right hon. Gentleman, but the Motion I have to make refers to an incident, and to a discussion of a policy rather than of a particular act. In my observations I will keep as far away as I can from any consideration which arises in this particular case. It is the question of policy which I shall discuss on the Motion which stands in my name. It is only a strong sense of public duty that induces me to interrupt the business of the House with this Motion, but I have that duty laid upon me in this case, because in Ireland we are rapidly approaching an abyss and a disaster the consequences of which will not be confined to Ireland, but affect beyond the liberty and interests of the British Empire. I will go further and say it will affect, and may even blast, the great and noble hopes of a better world for the future on which the better minds of the world are fixed.

Let me deal as impartially as I can, on account of the statement just made by the Chief Secretary, with the incidents which have given rise to my Motion. A body of soldiers entered the office of the "Freeman's Journal" yesterday, and seized and took away a considerable portion of the plant. Anyone who has any idea of a newspaper and its production, or of any manufacturing office, will know that to take away the plant is practically to destroy the existence of the concern. The result is that the "Freeman's Journal" has not been issued to-day. It is not merely the destruction, for the time being, of a very valuable property, for which a considerable sum of money has been recently paid; it also strikes at one of the organs of public opinion which has been silenced. The allegation, I understand, made by the Government is that the issue of yesterday contains seditious matter, and especially matter which interferes seriously with recruiting. I wish to say a word or two about the incidents which led to the event, because I think they must be remembered when one. is estimating the tone of the article in the "Freeman's Journal." There is each Christmas time in Ireland an exhibition mainly for the encouragement of Irish goods and Irish industries. This exhibition is continued at the expense of a number of patriotic men anxious for the development of Irish industries, and, like other expositions of that kind, it brings from all parts of Ireland, and even all parts of the world, people to Dublin who are interested in the realisation of the industrial resources of Ireland A body of soldiers entered the Mansion House in Dublin, which is the residence of the Chief Magistrate of the capital of Ireland, and prevented the holding of this exhibition. They occupied the premises for some time. I should say that anybody who has any desire for the welfare of Ireland would regard an exhibition of the kind I have described as one of the most necessary parts of good policy by a. Government at the present time. I would have also have thought that owing to the fact that it was being held in the dwelling place of the chief magistrate some regard would be had to the character of the gentleman who was chief magistrate for the time being. The present Lord Mayor of Dublin, although he is personally unknown to me, has the goodwill and respect of everybody in Dublin. Nobody can suppose that he has any sympathy with crime. Nobody in the country has more promptly and severely denounced it.

The excuse, I understand, for the interference with the private dwelling house of the Chief Magistrate of Dublin, is that this exposition has some relation, either public or private, with one of the organisations which the right hon. Gentleman, and the Irish Government, has proclaimed. I do not know whether that is so or not, whether any such connection exists or not, but I cannot see that an exhibition of Irish goods should be broken up because another organisation in some way or other is supposed to be associated in it. There cannot be anything seditious in an exhibition of Irish goods for Irish and other persons. About the time of the holding of that exposition there was a great sweep of Sinn Feiners in Ireland. Many of them were brought over to this country. I will not stop for a moment to discuss that, but I believe they were behind barbed wires and were taken to Wormwood Scrubs. The hon. Member for South Down happened to come over in the same train. He has described the pain, humiliation, and indignation with which he saw all these men kept away from cornmunication with others, surrounded at every railway station by men wth fixed bayonets, and put into vans, like any common criminals, and taken through the streets of London to a London gaol. I must say that if any Continental admirer of free institutions and the liberty for which we have been fighting for five years were present, he would, I am afraid, find, little consolation in the performance.

The next incident which apparently accounts for the article was—and the right hon. Gentleman will confirm or contradict this—that in order to strengthen the operations against crime in Ireland a certain number of Civil servants were to be enrolled as special constables. That report, by the way, was given great prominence in the "Morning Post." During the War the raising of special constables from the Civil Service in Ireland was necessary, and was bound to be accompanied by acts of menace against the Civil servants, and to subject them to conditions which they had a perfect right to resent and to refuse. I do not know whether the Chief Secretary or the Attor-ney-General for Ireland mean to read these articles, but if it will suit the convenience of the Debate for me to read them I will do so.

Photo of Mr T.P. O'Connor Mr T.P. O'Connor , Liverpool Scotland

I think the objection of the right hon. Gentleman was not mainly to the leading article but to an accompanying article on the same page.

Photo of Mr T.P. O'Connor Mr T.P. O'Connor , Liverpool Scotland

Very well, I will read the leading article. It is as follows:

"The Foreign Executive.The miserable Irish Executive are reduced to the pass of attempting to conscript the Civil Service as a supplementary police force. They have at their disposal over sixty thousand troops, with all the equipment of modern war aeroplanes, tanks, machine-guns, and gas. They have, in addition, fourteen thousand men in the shape of a militarised police force. But. their seventy-five or eighty thousand men are not sufficient even for the ordinary work of keeping the peace. Burglars, footpads, high waymen and garotters are enjoying a halcyon time. They conduct their enterprises without risk to themselves or consequences to themselves. Whatever opportunities of fair and market had been left by the Government to certain districts of Ireland the highwaymen are suspending by their operations and thus effectively supplementing the ukase.In their pitiable plight the Executive have now conceived the idea of impressing the Irish Civil servant. As in the days of the war, heads of Departments have been invited to afford facilities to the recruiter, who is about to visit them. In similar circumstances in other countries, if similar circumstances were now any longer possible in any country inhabited by a European race, the Government would call upon the ordinary citizen for assistance, and it would be freely forthcoming.…Here the call would be like the summons of Glendower to the spirits of the vastv deep. and receive the same answer. As far as the support of the civilian population is concerned the Government exists in racuo. It is steadily dying for want of oxygen; but as it dies it becomes, like the wasp, more poisonously active. The difficulties are of its own creation. The olive have been diverted from their ordinary duties to support an unsupportable political r´gime. Hence their impotence to discharge the functions of a police force; and hence the real criminal thrives as quickly as the political criminal is manufactured.There is another motive for the pressing of the Civil servants. The loyal oath was not a sufficient test for the Orange administration. A new test had to be invented. Just as Father O'Donnell was persecuted and prosecuted and slandered because he was only loyal to King George and not to Lloyd George, the Civil servants are to be judged by their readiness to serve the Coercionists. Those who refuse will be marked men. But they should not be too anxious. A Government reduced to such straits cannot long survive. I have read all that article, and I stand by every word of it. I do not think it is an immoderate statement of the case. I will read the other article if the right hon. Gentleman desires it. I admit that the language in the second of these articles is somewhat more violent.

Photo of Mr T.P. O'Connor Mr T.P. O'Connor , Liverpool Scotland

If the right hon. Gentleman thinks that will help him to make his case, I will read any passage he desires. I omit all the personal allusions to the right hon. Gentleman himself because he said to-day that any personal attacks on himself did not influence his action. As I accept that statement, I do not go into them, and to be quite frank I do not approve of the tone of the remarks referring to the right hon. Gentleman. I think his is a. foolish and disastrous policy, but I am not going to accompany that by strong personal attacks on himself, as I regard the right hon. Gentleman more as the unhappy instrument of other stronger men, and as the unfortunate victim of a most vicious system. I will now read the strongest passage in the second article: Lord French, or, failing him, the Lord Chancellor and the Recorder of Dublin might as well issue a proclamation in proper form prohibiting as an illegal assembly that conjunction of the Planets which is due next week, and, if an American professor is to be believed, will endanger the future of our globe. Obviously. the proceeding is a danger to the public peace. Concerning the mutilation of Archbishop Walsh's letter to Cardinal O'Connell, nothing need be said. His Grace can afford to treat with contempt the paltry malice of the insult. Let the ninnies of officialdom and their maiden aunts tee-hee their satisfaction; let the Orange Press applaud Lord French's truculence, and the Lodges honour his name with Kentish Fire. Much good may it do him and them !Other details of the programme of carefully prepared exasperation must be placed in a different category. Then there is an allusion to the motor car Order, on which my right hon. Friend the leader of the Labour Party has had some conversation with the right hon. Gentle-man— That there is crime in Ireland, crime of the sort that exists in every community and that all communities endeavour to stamp out in self-defence and as a duty, no sane person will deny. It does not lie with England— I will not read the next pasasge. Undoubtedly in England there has been a good deal of crime which is largely due to that rousing of savage instincts which always comes to humanity after a terrible war, but I should be very sorry to make an indictment of that kind against the law-abiding and just people of England because of these occasional crimes. But Irish crime is the greatest asset of the English Government in Ireland. It is cherished, nurtured, fostered, and protected under the shadow of Castle rule, in the shelter of that upas tree where nothing can thrive that is not noxious. Crime is not criminal—nay, it may become a virtuous action—when perpetrated by soldiers; that is the new ethical doctrine, or, rather, an old doctrine revived, which must now be accepted by order of authority. How many criminals in or out of uniform, one would like to ask, are well known to the Government, yet are allowed to walk abroad in full confidence that they are immune and safe from justice? Yet, English orators and writers of the baser sort, some of whom sit amongst the mighty, have the audacity to accuse Irishmen of lawlessness and sympathy with crime because we complain about the lawlessness and crimes of their Government in Ireland, as it exhibits itself to our eyes. I think that is the strongest passage of all. Now, Sir, when this paper says that soldiers have been guilty of crime, I wonder if the House would regard that accusation as made in the air. I read a list in the "Daily Herald," which on this occasion was quoting from official documents, and I was astounded at the number of assassinations of policemen that had taken place in Ireland. But I well remember that three men and a boy were murdered in Dublin during the Rebellion of 1016, and the officer, who alone was responsible for the murders, was acquitted on the ground of insanity. Within two years of his being found guilty of four murders he was walking the streets of Irish towns, and I am not surprised that the widow of Mr. Sheehy Skeffwgton joined the ranks of Sinn Fein in face of such provocation. If you have coercion you are bound to have these acts of violence by soldiers, and if you have a Goercionist Government it is bound, more or less, to ignore these crimes against the civil population. I have read not only the leading article in the "Freeman's Journal," but I have read the strongest passages in the second article, and I am not shirking any Facts. I put the case to the Government by my own hands, and I make two propositions—that these articles are not beyond the necessities of the ease, and, secondly, and this is even more important, that, allowing for the different methods of expression which are habitual to Englishmen with their more self-restrained temperament and to Irishmen with their more ardent methods of expression, there is not a single statement in these articles in the "Freeman's Journal" that I cannot parallel by similar statements in that great English paper, "The Times." Lord Northcliffe is not the proprietor of a newspaper in Ireland. I do not know what a mild happen to him if he were. I dare say he would have been in gaol by this time had he lived in Ireland. Here is the genesis of all these things. Are all these acts of provocation in Ireland the result of a Machiavellian, I will even say a hellish plot, not uncommon in Irish history, to prevent the settlement of the Irish question and the reconciliation of the English and the Irish peoples. We know all about it in Ireland. We have gone through it before. When Grattan's Parliament could not be destroyed by corruption and by force rebellion was instigated. I remember the day when Mr. Gladstone in one of his deep toned interruptions, when a Unionist speaker of the period was talking of the Rebellion of 1798, and asking who made it, said, "Pitt made it." He was right. That rebellion was made by Pitt and the militarists who ruled Ireland then. These have always emanated from Dublin Castle as there would if you allowed a militarist Government to be established in this country, the Agents provocateur, the spy, the paid secret agent of the Government, posing as more extreme than the extremist. There have always been these agencies in the employ of despotic Governments, whether they have been in Dublin, London, Petrograd or Warsaw. I will read from the "Times" an assertion with which I am entirely in accord—that there are evidences of a deliberate plot on the part of militarists and ascendancy men to provoke Ireland to outrage, perhaps to rebellion, so that Home Rule and its prospects may be drowned in blood. That is a strong statement, but here is what the "Times" says on that point: Our fear is this. The Irish Executive are being used, whether with the connivance of members of the Cabinet or not, in order to arouse in Ireland a state of feeling, if not a state of rebellion, in which settlement may become impossible. That there should be a shadow of justification for such a fear is intolerable. The realisation of it would mean treachery not only to the British people but to the honour and credit of the British name throughout the world. We are, therefore, deeply concerned with the present position in Ireland. We see there rival policies where there should be unity; we see drift where there should be construction.…The time has come for the Government to announce their Irish policy. Every day that passes darkens the position, and not in Ireland alone. I have another passage here from the "Times" newspaper in the same terms. It is an article headed "The Irish Executive," published in the "Times" of 16th December, and it reads: For some time past we have felt and have recently expressed anxiety in regard to the conduct of Irish affairs by those who exercise the autocratic powers of Irish Government. Events have forced us to the belief that the military regime in Ireland has failed signally in its task of preserving law and order.…It is conceivable that the determination of the Irish Executive to pursue to its utmost limits the present policy of coercion, of which the latest achievement is the suppression of the 'Freeman's Journal,' is so fixed and unalterable that it can count on support or sympathy only from men of a particular bias. If that were so we should regard it as the strongest reason for believing that the Irish Government were heading straight for a disaster which would almost certainly, if not designedly, involve the forthcoming proposals of the Cabinet. I put it to the House—I have read, I think frankly and as fully as the time at my disposal permits, the comments in the "Freeman's Journal" and those in the "Times" newspaper, and permit me to say that Ireland ought never to forget the inesti- mable services which the "Times" newspaper is giving to the cause of Ireland and of the Empire in these articles on the Irish question. If only the right hon. Gentleman would listen to the "Times" and not to Dublin Castle he would be in a much better political position than he is to-day. What is the secret of it all? I cannot trace the factors behind the policy of the right hon. Gentleman in suppressing the "Freeman's Journal"; I can only suspect them. The "Times" newspaper asks the question, "Who is the Government of Ireland?" I ask it too. It is not the right hon. Gentleman: he is a puppet. It is not the Attorney-General, a black letter lawyer of complacent speech and great distinction. I am sure he will be relieved when by that due automatic process of elevation to the Bench which follows its course with all law officers he gets back to the pursuit of his profession. Who is the Government of Ireland? Is it Lord French? He is a soldier. Whether at the present moment he enjoys the same fame as he did before he wrote his book I do not pause to say. It is the "Times" newspaper whose correspondent says that the Government of Ireland is in the hands of a certain little ascendancy gang, and we are asked to have respect for a Government in Ireland when Irishmen see, and the people of Ireland see, it exercising at every place and period these repressive laws so vindictively towards political enemies. The "Times" newspaper, through its correspondent, says that the Government of Ireland is in the hands of a certain little ascendancy gang. How can we be asked to have respect for the Government in Ireland and for the law administered by that Government when three-fourths of the people of Ireland see people in every place of power and authority there exercising repressive laws through political vindictiveness? I say nothing about the present Lord Chancellor of Ireland, who was the assessor to the Ulster Provisional Government. The "Times" mentions Sir Frederick Shaw, the Commander-in-chief, and its correspondent also refers to some of the judiciary. I am sure that the Chief Secretary will remember how the present Prime Minister, when he was Secretary of State for War, spoke about the ineptitudes and malignities of the War Office. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was Under-Secretary at the time.

Photo of Mr T.P. O'Connor Mr T.P. O'Connor , Liverpool Scotland

That was the statement of the Prime Minister. Are the ineptitudes and malignities at an end? Is the Ourragh Camp still entrenched in the War Office? Is Sir Henry Wilson not one of the men who were associated with the right hon. Gentleman opposite in provoking an Irish rebellion? How can you have respect for the English Governmeni in Ireland when those who took part in the rebellion against the people are put into high places to exercise coercion against their political opponents? What does this policy mean? One hon. Gentleman this evening, when I made this Motion, was kind enough to say that we were "murderers" "sympathised with murderers."

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

And I called him a liar, and will do so again.

Photo of Mr T.P. O'Connor Mr T.P. O'Connor , Liverpool Scotland

So I heard my hon. Friend say. But I was rather glad that Mr. Speaker was deaf on one side of his head at that time.

Photo of Mr William Thorne Mr William Thorne , West Ham Plaistow

I should not have minded if he had heard it.

Photo of Mr T.P. O'Connor Mr T.P. O'Connor , Liverpool Scotland

My statement is, and it is the opinion of nearly everybody in lreland outside this little gang, that the real cause of the horrible and deplorable outbreak of crime in Ireland is the Government and the policy of the Government. There have been more murders since the policy of drastic repression, for which the right lion. Gentleman is the official spokesman in this House, than there ever was before. I remember the historic remark of Mr. Parnell when he was put in Kilmainham Gaol in 1881, "Captain Moonlight will take my place." When he and the other responsible leaders of the Irish people were removed from the control of the Irish movement, it fell into the hands of the extremists. There was more crime during the six months of Mr. Parnell's imprisonment than during any other period of the agitation. In the same way there has been more crime in Ireland since the drastic repression for which the right hon. Gentleman is mainly responsible than ever there was before. I agree that the right hon. Gentleman is only politically responsible for this increase of assassination. I do not call him an assassin for that reason any more than I can be justly called a murderer because I say that the inevitable result of a oertain policy is the increase of crime. Not only has crime increased, but the detection of crime has diminished. Everybody in Ireland now feels that the wild blows of the Government only increase crime, diminish the detection of crime, and break up the whole fabric of society in Ireland, which, God knows, is already broken up enough! There was a meeting the other day of political friends of the Attorney-General. The Chief Secretary still calls himself a Liberal, while the Attorney-General, I believe, is officially a Unionist. There was a meeting of the landlords of county Clare. Everybody knows there is not a more convinced, vehement, and I might even say bitter, body of Unionists in Ireland than the landlords of Clare, who had to face a very severe ordeal during the land war. The landlords of county Clare the other day met. Every single one of them is a Tory to the last drop of his blood. They declared that the industries of Ireland, by the stopping of fairs and markets, were being ruined, and at the same time they declared that crime was not being diminished or detected.

My complaint against the policy of the Government is, not that it pursues crime, but that it creates crime. Am I speaking of something that has never occurred in any other age or country? I never shook hands with a Nihilist in my life. I never wanted to meet a Nihilist in my life. Nihilists have been received at fashionabie drawing-rooms in London, but have never been received by me. The fact that a Nihilist committed murder did not blind me to the fact that Czarism bred murder and murders, and that until Czarism and all its representatives were destroyed, murder would exist. In the same way, crime in every oppressed country has kept exact step with repression. That is the position in Ireland to-day. It is more lamentable than ever at the present time. The Government have announced a policy for the settlement of the Irish question, and this is the atmosphere they prepare for the calm consideration, let alone the goodwill towards and acceptance of their proposals. Is it an unnatural or illogical deduction from the policy of repression adopted by the Government that they do tot want the atmosphere and they do not want the acceptance of their proposals? Unless they are lunatics, they cannot but See that every such thing as they are doing, like the seizure of the "Freeman's Journal," absolutely makes more difficult, if not impossible, even the consideration of any proposals they may make for the self-government of Ireland.

What is the effect on the Irish mind1 It is a, suspicious mind, I admit—perhaps morbidly suspicious. God knows, it has plenty of grounds for suspicion, and never more than within the last five weeks. I am in the very place I occupied when my dead Leader, Mr. John Redmond, made his speech in which he pledged the support of the Irish people to the cause of to Allies. I never wavered in my approval and support of Mr. Redmond in that policy. I carried the flag of the Allies into more than one part of the world, and against a great deal of attack by my own countrymen In the part of Great Britain with which I am intimately associated the boys were rushing to the railway stations, each more eager than the other to risk his life and shed his blood for the cause of liberty represented by the flag. In some villages in Lanarkshire every Irish boy in the place went to the Flag without being forced to do so. There was a fair prospect of uniting England and Ireland. The same agencies which are working against peace between England and Ireland to-day were working then. The same agencies were at work seeking to transform affection into hatred. I implore the House to realise the danger of this policy and put an end to the present regime in Ireland and give me some chance of being able to live to see in my time that for which I have worked all my time, namely, the reconciliation of the masses of your people and your country with mine.

9.0 P.M.

Photo of Mr William Adamson Mr William Adamson , Fife Western

In associating the Labour party with this question I desire to make it clear that we have no sympathy as a. party with the serious crimes which are being perpetrated in Ireland. At the same time we are strongly of opinion that the frequency with which we resort to a policy of suppression in our methods of government in Ireland has a close connection with the crimes which are perpetrated in that unhappy country. The history of Ireland provides abundant proof that serious crimes are always at the highest point during those periods of repression and coercion. The problem of Irish government is the skeleton in the cupboard of British politics. It arises at the most inconvenient times and is continually cutting across our political issues. The issue of freedom of speech and freedom of the Press raises one of the cardinal principles for which the Labour party stands. We believe in free speech and freedom for the Press in Ireland or any other part of the United Kingdom. Not only nave you a curtailment of free speech and freedom of the Press by the Defence of the Realm Regulations at present, but unfortunately, we have also a curtailment of industrial freedom in Ireland. I have here a copy of the "Dublin Gazette" in which there is published a Regulation making it necessary for drivers of motor cars to apply to the police for permits to drive motor cars or motor cycles not the property of the applicant. This is a. form of repression to which the motor car drivers has very serious objection. They have made it perfectly clear that they do not object to any form of restriction being imposed upon the owners of those motor cars, but they do not like, as workmen, having restrictions imposed upon them. I understand that the drivers have refused to apply for permits, and are now, to a greater or lesser extent, idle as the result of the publication of this Regulation. Not only are we likely to have industrial trouble in Ireland with regard to this matter so far as the motor car drivers are concerned, but understand the Irish Trade Union Congress is in the course of this week to have this question under consideration, and some of us fear that the result may be a cessation of work throughout the whole industrial system in Ireland. That would be a regrettable incident which would increase our troubles so far as the government of Ireland is concerned. I had an opportunity of introducing a deputation of officials of the Motor Drivers' Trade Union, and this matter was discussed, and they implored the Chief Secretary not to insist on imposing this Regulation. As far as I understand, the right hon. Gentleman persisted, and it may lead to very serious results so far as the industries of Ireland are concerned. I would fain hope that even at this late juncture the Chief Secretary and those responsible for the government of Ireland could see their way to withdraw this Regulation and enable us to have industrial peace in Ireland.

The Labour party are strongly of opinion that to suppress either free speech or freedom of the Press is simply to take the surest method of driving the Irish or any other people who are living under a system of repression to other alternatives which are far more dangerous to stable government than if her people had freedom to express their opinions regarding. methods of government. The Labour party has always strongly opposed our system of government in Ireland, and in particular the adoption of the policy of repression and coercion. In this we are having support from very influential quarters. The "Times," in a moderately written article this morning, says events have forced them to the belief that the military regime in Ireland has failed signally in the task of preserving law and order. The adoption of this method of government has been a miserable failure in Ireland, as it has been in every country where it has been tried. In the saws article the writer says: We deplore the fact that the authority of the British name in Ireland has come to rest upon military power, when we believe that it should and might rest upon the maintenance of high principles and unimpeachable justice. The latter part of that sentence supplies us with what, in my opinion, is an alternative form of government to the one that we seek to impose upon Ireland, which, if adopted, would speedily lead to a different relationship between ourselves and the people of Ireland. I am strongly convinced that what we require is a policy of reconciliation instead of a policy of repression. That is the policy required to. improve our relationship with the people of Ireland. If we want to solve the age-long problem we must give the Irish people a full measure of self-governmept Self-determinations for peoples is one of the principles for which we fought in the recent great War. Does anyone think that the Irish people will be satisfied with anything less than the full application of that principle to Irish government—the principle for which they and we fought and conquered? No, Sir! If we think that we can continue to govern Ireland by measures of repression and coercion, we are simply deceiving ourselves, hiding our head in the sand, and taking the short road to national disaster. We seem to have the opinion that our method of governing Ireland is superior to any method which the Irish people themselves count adopt. No form of government, however good, is a real substitute for self-government. So far as the Labour party is concerned, we stand for self-determination in national life. Consequently, we will do all that we can to assist the Irish people to secure the application of that just and equitable principle in the government of Ireland.

Photo of Mr Denis Henry Mr Denis Henry , Londonderry South

My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary has asked me to say a few words on the subject now before the House, and I will try to confine myself as much as possible to the terms of the Motion and the question to which it has reference. The "Freeman's Journal" is a very old-established paper in the city of Dublin, and it has continued for years and years, and during the whole period of the War, without any complaint on the part of the executive Government. But about three weeks ago or thereabouts, as a constitutional paper, it was the subject of a winding-up order, and it has passed into new proprietorship, with the result that we have had to take the step which is complained of, namely, the step of suppressing the newspaper, because it proceeded, for reasons which may suggest themselves to some hon. Members, so far as its publications were concerned, to out-Herod Herod. Accordingly, after two or three publications which were objectionable, an Order was made by the competent military authority, in consultation with the civil authorities, for closing the paper.

Let me tell the House the circumstances out of which that arose. You all remember that during the War you were glad to avail yourselves of the -assistance of private individuals in the capacity of special constables. They did great service. They aided the ordinary police force and contributed to the maintenance of law and order at great personal risk to themselves. Lord French thought, and I think thought rightly, that it would be highly desirable to get the assistance of special constables in Ireland for two reasons—first, in order to give much-needed assistance to that sorely-tried body of men, the Dublin Metropolitan Police, and, secondly, not merely to give them assistance by taking over from them portions of their duties, but to give them the moral support that must always come to a body of men when they feel that amongst the civilian population they are not treated as outcasts. Accordingly, with that view, and that view alone, to bring into the Government as much as he could of the civil element and not of the military element, His Excellency proceeded to ask all loyal persons to join for the purpose of giving assistance, as far as they could, to the Dublin Metropolitan Police. Amongst others, he asked the Civil servants to give what assistance they could, purely as volunteers. The House will agree with me, I think, that. there was nothing out of the way in asking men who were in Government positions and drawing Government salaries to give such assistance as they could to bring about the object which we all have in view. I do not think there is any hon. Member opposite who is not anxious to see peace and order restored in Ireland. Therefore, they were asked to join in the way I have described.

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

Will the right hon. Gentleman make plain what I think is an important point? Is it that the Civil servants were asked to volunteer for service or that because they were Civil servants they were requested to serve in the constabulary?

Photo of Mr Denis Henry Mr Denis Henry , Londonderry South

They were not in any way under the slightest coercion, nor was the request confined to them. It was a request put forward by a solicitor in Dublin, a Mr. Goddard, who had served in the War in a very good position, and who had the misfortune to be arrested during the rebellion by the Sinn Feiners.

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

The chief emergency man in Ireland.

Photo of Mr Denis Henry Mr Denis Henry , Londonderry South

He has to deal with an emergency at the present time, and he is doing his best.

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

From Kildare Street Club.

Photo of Mr Denis Henry Mr Denis Henry , Londonderry South

The fact remains that there was no distinction drawn between Civil servants and any other persons. Then this article came out, headed, "The Foreign Executive."

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

Will the right hon. Gentleman kindly state whether it is a fact that this Circular was sent to the heads of the Government Departments in Dublin with the request that the officials under them should be asked to answer whether they were prepared to serve or not?

Photo of Mr Denis Henry Mr Denis Henry , Londonderry South

The Circular was sent to say that Mr. Goddard had undertaken to organise a police force of volunteers, and that he should have the opportunity he wished to see members of the Government Departments with a view to organising that force. No pressure of any kind or description was put upon members of the Civil Service to join that force. What was the result? An article in the "Freeman's Journal," at the earliest possible moment, referring to Conscription—an ugly name in Ireland—[An HON. MEMBER: "And anywhere else:"]—and speaking of press gangs or pressed men, and pointing out to the persons concerned that Those who refuse will be marked men, but they should not be too anxious. Is that an inducement to recruit, to become a member of the police force? `What does it mean? Is it not a clear dissuasion from taking any part in it? And clearly, by the whole tenour of the article—because you must have regard to the surroundings in which this article is written—it is idle for hon. Members to talk of the freedom of the Press or of speech. In England every man, practically speaking, except the lowest classes of criminal society, is on the side of the law.

Photo of Mr Denis Henry Mr Denis Henry , Londonderry South

The hon. Member says, "Hear, hear!"but—

Photo of Mr William Redmond Mr William Redmond , Waterford Borough

In Ireland it is quite the contrary.

Photo of Mr Denis Henry Mr Denis Henry , Londonderry South

I would remind the hon. Member and those who sit with him of the late which they received at the hands of the Sinn Feiners themselves. Though I have always differed with them and with the other Nationalists who went before them on many subjects, yet no one will deny that in this House, where they sat for years and years, they did good service to Ireland and secured the passing of many important measures. What was their reward when they came in contact with the madmen who are asking not for what the hon. Members in the past suggested—a full measure of Home Rule—but for the establishment of an Irish Republic? Do hon. and right hon. Members opposite wish for an independent republic? I do not think that. any hon. Member opposite will get up and say that he is prepared to set up anindependent republic in Ireland. And, notwithstanding the services of my hon. Friends, when it came to an election seventy-five of them, at least, were swept away. By what force? The forces that are attacking to-day the British Government are those which attacked the Members of the Irish Nationalist party. And what we are seeking to do in Ireland is to preserve peace, and to ensure that people will not be murdered in the streets. What do hon. Members suggest as an alternative? Are we to step back like cowards and allow the forces that represent the Government of Great Britain and Ireland to be swept away? What cowards my right hon. Friend and myself would be, and what a picture we should present to the House of Commons standing up in our places if we consciously gave way one inch to the forces of disorder, no matter at what risk! If such a course is to be pursued it will have to be pursued by another law officer than me. But so long as I have the honour to represent His Majesty as Attorney-General for Ireland, so long will I, to the best of my ability, try to carry out my duty to try to protect my fellow men from assassination.

What are we to do? Lord French, who after all, in the early days of the War did his part and obtained as he deserved in all stages the praise and recognition of every man in this country—how is he described in this paper? It says: The Constitution has been destroyed—nothing new in our experience—and D.O.R.A. subsituted in order to maintain a system that is not law, but anarchy, with the Viceroy as much an anarchist as is Lenin or Trotsky in Russia. That is the sort of language that is written about Lord French, who is the representative of His Majesty in Ireland. The position of affairs in Ireland is not a matter of to-day or yesterday. In 1916 there was an uprising in Dublin which resulted in hundreds of deaths. When you are asked here to deal with the condition of affairs in Dublin on the basis on which you would deal with them in Birmingham or Glasgow—you must have regard to locality, and to the fact that an article of this description may lead to an upheaval under existing conditions that would be in the highest degree disastrous and would result in hundreds of deaths. But there is only one course open to any people who regard their duty. That is to give the fullest protection to those who serve you, to try to the best of your power and ability to enforce the law, and it is not improved, quite the contrary, by publications such as this. Accordingly, I submit that we were fully justified in taking the course that has been taken here of suppressing this paper under the Defence of the Realm Regulation.

Photo of Mr William Redmond Mr William Redmond , Waterford Borough

Have you got law and order?

Photo of Mr Denis Henry Mr Denis Henry , Londonderry South

Matters have not improved in Ireland since they were passed. I wish we could say so, because—

Photo of Mr Denis Henry Mr Denis Henry , Londonderry South

Because a society has sprung up in Ireland which does not want self-determination and does not want any form of self-government which you are prepared to give, but is determined on the assassination of every person representing you, especially constables and peace preservers, to try to obtain from you what you will never give—an Irish republic. I put it to the House that the "Freeman's Journal" has taken proceedings against the Executive, and they will have an opportunity of ventilating this in the Law Courts; but articles such as have been written here make the task of anyone dealing with the question of law and. order infinitely more difficult.

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Leith

I certainly would have expected, when the Chief Secretary did not rise to defend this latest act of the Irish Executive, that we should hear from the right hon. Gentleman who has spoken some defence, some reason to show us, who judge things by our own standard, why the Executive suppressed this copy of the "Freeman's Journal." The hon. Gentleman who proposed the Motion read to the House with great candour the strongest passages from this publication, and it is a very significant thing that the Attorney-General in his reply made no reference to the passages him self.

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Leith

That is a consideration for the right hon. Gentleman. But I asked the Chief Secretary long before this happy accident of the sub judice to quote to the House the passage to which he took exception and he would not do so. I asked him to circulate for the information of Members the passage to which he took exception, and he would not do so.

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

I told my hon. Friend that the paper was in the Reading Room.

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Leith

I have got the paper. What is the good of telling me to read the paper? What I want to know is the passage to which he took exception. I think that most proper exception could be taken to the title of a paper called the "Freeman" in Ireland. Perhaps the title is an article of sedition. It certainly is a most grotesque contortion of the facts in Ireland. The right hon. Gentleman in his speech says, "This is our case: We want to get special constables in Ireland," which is a very proper thing to do. "We issue a circular appealing for special constables"—which is a very proper thing to do—"and the 'Freeman's Journal' discourages people from becoming special constables"—which may be a very improper thing to do; but it was not dealing in sedition. Certainly some passages in this copy of the "Freeman's Journal" are of a taste which is beneath contempt. But, after all, there are Courts in which you can bring cases for seditious statements, and in which you can bring actions for criminal libel. Why is it that the right hon. Gentlemea are forced to take this extraordinary action under the Defence of the Realm Aatt That is what we want to know. What is the Defence of the Realm Act? The Defence of the Realm Act is an Act passed by this House and only consented to by the Parliament of the United Kingdom in the face of a foreign enemy. It says in the first Section that there are certain specific powers given to the Executive, without popular control, "during the continuance of the present War" Does anyone assert, apart from technicalities, that the present War is still going on? The Executive were armed with certain powers during the continuance of the present War. The War has been terminated far more than a year, and the complaint made by my hon. Friend behind me is that the Government are using these war powers for a purpose for which they were never intended to be used. What is the real reason that the right hon. Gentleman is always driven to this sort of tyrannical conduct in Ireland? The real reason is that he has not got behind him in the government of Ireland a scintilla of public opinion. We know perfectly well that the right hon. Gentleman, in his speech said that there is a great deal in a policeman feeling that he has the moral support of the public, and, with singular candour, he went on to admit that, whereas in this country we are all all behind the police, in that country there is nobody behind the police.

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

They run the risk of being shot.

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Leith

That is to say, the right hon. Gentleman admits that there is no sanction of public support behind the Administration in Ireland. What a commentary on his resolute Government! What a commentary on his maintenance of law and order. He says that there is no one here, not even the lowest criminal, who is not behind the Execrative; but in Ireland there is no one behind his Administration. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for War (Mr. Churchill) and the polished and practised orators in this House, whenever we get up and protest against this sort of thing, say: "You are supporting murder." One hon. Member, with more candour and certainly with more latitude than is usual in this House, this afternoon charged someone with consorting with murderers, whereupon my hon. Friend the Member for West Ham (Mr. W. Thorne), in Doric fashion rebuked him. Our case is exactly the reverse. We say that step by step with your repression you are producing crime. That is the whole case. You cannot govern white people in the way that you are attempting to govern the Irish.

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

Did not my hon. and gallant Friend the other day say that it was no crime to refuse to recognise the authority of the King's Court in Ireland?

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

it is in the OFFIVAL REPORT.

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Leith

I never read the OFFICIAL REPORT, but it is a pleasure that I will give myself. I certainly never said anything of the kind, and if it appears in the OFFICIAL REPORT it is by some 'wren Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would like to read the passage.

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

Captain Beim: And is it a crime to decline to recognise the authority of the Court?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 9th December, 1919, col. 1253, Vol. 122.]

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Leith

Yes, that is the point. I do not know why we should be dragged off the Debate in which we are engaged.

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

It is a most material point. Here is an ex-Minister of the Crown who says that it is no crime to refuse to recognise the authority of the king's Court!

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Leith

I shall be quite prepared on any suitable occasion to defend what I said, and, to refer to the case in question. It was, if I recollect rightly, a ease where children were being put in gaol because they did not recognise the Courts. Even if I am, according to the right hon. Gentleman, an enemy of the law, there will be a proper opportunity for debating it, and perhaps I shall hive some oportunity of defending myself, but it is perfectly obvious that it has nothing to do with the Motion that we are discussing to-night. Our case and our contention is that step by step with repress on in Ireland the right hon. Gentleman produces these outbursts of violence. He proclaims certain areas, and then he proclaims the whole of the institution. Next he institutes a curfew. Sixty-three Members of this House—I think that is right— have been through his hands as criminals. The other day the Mansion House in Dublin was raided and a number of people were deported. Nobody knows yet what charges are going to made against them. Motor orders, prison orders—every single step that the right hon. Gentleman takes saying that he is trying to maintain law and order, merely produces another outburst of this kind, which we deplore and condemn, and which we have never failed to deplore and condemn in the most round terms. Why should we be charged with consorting with these people? We want to see these people absolutely driven out of Ireland, but the right hon Gentleman is encouraging and creating them. The fact of the matter is, that many people in Ireland believe that the policy of the Executive is to make a settlement impossible by creating so much bitterness. If that be so, and that is the opinion, at any rate, of the "Times," there is no language that I can use which is severe enough in its condemnation.

What is the reason that there is no. public opinion behind the administration of law and order in Ireland? It is because of the character of the administration of law and order. The right hon. Gentleman, in his policy of "thorough," does not catch the criminals whom everybody wants to be caught. The people that be gets are little girls selling flags, who are sentenced to five days in Mountjoy Prison, and little boys who whistle derisively at the police. Those are the people that he catches in his net, and the man who shoots somebody escapes. Is it to be wondered that this sort of contemptible futility is something against which the good sense of all people in Ireland and not in Ireland alone, revolts? My hon. Friend and the right hon. Gentleman read out passages from the "Freeman's Journal" on account of which the plant has been taken away and the enterprise has been suppressed. The material loss of the newspaper is not of so much importance as the stamping out of the liberty of the Press. When people in Ireland see these people with their offices shut and their enterprise ruined, they remember the speeches that have been made by the Leader of this House (Mr. Bonar Law) and by the right hon. and learned Gentleman opposite (Sir E. Carson). The "Freeman's Journal" says, Special constables are invited to be enrolled. We advise people not to enrol. If they do, they will be marked men.

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

No. The Attorney-General, I am sure unintentionally, completely misrepresented the article which appeared in the "Freeman's Journal" They did not state that those who join the police force will be marked men, but that those who do not join will be marked men by the Government. That is a very different thing.

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Leith

I beg my hon. Friend's pardon. In any case, they said that there would be a differentiation between the people who obeyed this Circular and those who did not. That is the statement that is complained of, and that is the reason that the paper is suppressed. Here is a right hon. and learned Gentleman who announces in this country, "I am going to Ireland to break every law of the land," and he is at the back of the Government. That is what he said. I will quote the passage: After what happened the other day in the House of Commons (the pronouncement of the policy of the Government in relation to Ulster) he intended when he went over there to break every law that was possible. That is the right hon. Gentleman. He is not suppressed. I will quote now from the Lord Chancellor. I cannot go higher than that. The Lord Chancellor said, I place on record my view that, supposing the Government gave such an Order— that is, an order for the coercion of Ulster— the consequence can only be described in the words of Mr. Bonar Law, when he said that if they did so it would not be a matter of argument, but the population of London would lynch them to the lamp posts.

Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

Is the hon. and gallant Gentleman reading from the OFFICIAL REPORT?

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Leith

I have no reason to question the accuracy of the report.

Photo of Mr Edward Carson Mr Edward Carson , Belfast Duncairn

I agree that my words were perfectly accurate.

Photo of Mr Alfred Waterson Mr Alfred Waterson , Kettering

If it had been anybody else he would have been in prison.

Photo of Mr Edward Carson Mr Edward Carson , Belfast Duncairn

Why did not they send me there?

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

I was against imprisoning you.

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

I have allowed as much latitude as possible. We have really got rather far away from the point.

Photo of Captain William Benn Captain William Benn , Leith

In obedience to your ruling, I shall come straight back to the argument I intended to put forward. When you see a great public newspaper suppressed for something for which in this country it could not have been touched, and when you see the Leader of the House using such language as that I have quoted, and when men see the Leader of the House, the head of a great party, untouched by the law, how can you wonder that the people in Ireland will not give a snap of the fingers for the law? They regard it as simply an institution for imposing on their country things which they hate and a policy which they despise. What is the right hon. Gentleman going to do? He says we must maintain law and order; that the Sinn Fein organisation is a criminal organisation and must be suppressed. I observe that an Archbishop sent —100 to the Sinn Feiners. Little girls have been sent to prison for selling Sinn Fein flags. Is the right hon. Gentleman going to prosecute the Archbishop? The situation is impossible. The right hon. Gentleman has driven every section of society in Ireland, including Unionists, into a solid phalanx against his administration. That is what he is doing by measures such as this. In this country the Press and the public sometimes criticise the Executive, but the Press and the public and the Executive are solidly united in support of the administration of the law. In Ireland the very opposite is the case. The War has put this country back 200 years in its opinions and in its state of progress. What Fox said many years ago is true to-day: If you cannot govern Ireland by love, you should not govern it by force.

Photo of Mr William Jellett Mr William Jellett , Dublin University

I need hardly say that I have listened to the discussion to-night with very considerable interest, but not with much surprise. If the Motion means anything, it means that the article in the "Freeman's Journal" is a justifiable article, and that the Government had no ground to suppress it. The broader issues I do not wish to trouble the House with, because the learned Attorney-General has already dealt with them. But I do think that the House should have some idea of the class of newspaper with which we are dealing. We have had portions of these articles read to the House. I will read one portion which has not been quoted. It is not a pleasant class of literature, but for anyone who wants the entire attitude of this paper disclosed I do not think it ought to be passed over. I find in the article this reference to the Chief Secretary for Ireland: He was Parliamentary Secretary to the War Office and was the conduit for conveying official answers to inquisitive Members of the House of Commons. Not being fastidious about his job, however dirty. he also made himself responsible for the adaptation of the French brothel system to the requirements of the British warriors in France, and managed the business with such success that when answering a Mr. peto, M.P., on 5th February, 1918, he confessed that his had memory would not enable him to deny that from 40,000 to 50,000 were in hospital at any one time suffering from a loathsome disease. No wonder that his colleagues came to the conclusion that he was the proper man to be the Chief Secretary for Ireland, and to be associated with Lord French in the government of this country. A place more fitting for his talents might be that of boots in one of the tolerated houses. Of such stuff are our rulers made and decent Irishmen are asked to feign respect for the unrespectable. I think I know something about decent Irishmen. I should be very interested to see what their views would be on reading such language as that. I take the liberty of saying that there is not a decent Irishman, or Irish woman for that, who would not read that language with loathing and disgust. We have had tonight the usual references to coercion. Whenever the law is enforced in Ireland it is called coercion. Apparently the idea of some right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite is that there should be no law in Ireland at all, or that whatever law existed should exist only for the purpose of being defied. Of course, you cannot have any civilised country without law and all law is coercion. It is perfectly true to say that there is coercion in Ireland, but what is the coercion? It is the kind of coercion that we never hear condemned from the benches opposite. It is the kind of coercion that has its sanction in the bullet of the assassin and in the knife of the murderer. It is the kind of coercion which terrorises men, prevents them from going about their daily avocations, injures their property, and destroys their live stock.

Photo of Mr William Redmond Mr William Redmond , Waterford Borough

It does not. terrorise me, anyhow.

Photo of Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh Mr Jeremiah MacVeagh , Down South

Where in the War were you? Like Macpherson, you stayed at home.

HON. MEMBERS:

Why did not you go?

Photo of Mr William Jellett Mr William Jellett , Dublin University

Nine-tenths of Irishmen are living under a system of organised terrorism. That is the real coercion. We look and wait in vain for one single word of condemnation or one single word of sympathy with the widows and orphans of murdered policemen. I suppose the reason why we have not got any kind of sympathy from that quarter is because, as those of us who have spent our lives in Ireland and know something of the past history of that country and of the past history of movements of this kind know, the man who breaks the law is always the man who has been applauded, and the man who has tried to enforce the law and to prevent crime has always been the man who has been held up to public odium. There is nothing new about it. The right hon. Gentleman who is now responsible for the government of Ireland. I am glad to say. knows his duty and is determined to do it. I have heard it stated more than once to-night that it is the repression of crime that causes crime. I should rather have thought that unless there was crime to repress there would be no necessity for repression. What would hon. Members have done if they had been in control of affairs in Ireland in April, 1916? Would they have sat quiet and folded their hands, or would they have made any attempt to put down that rebellion?

Photo of Mr William Jellett Mr William Jellett , Dublin University

I am rather surprised to-find that the hon. Member opposite does. not appear to have heard of the rebellion of April, 1916. I should have thought most. hon. Members opposite would have known. something about it.

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

I was not quite sure to what rebellion you were referring—whether the rebellion of Mr. De Valera or of Sir Edward Carson.

Photo of Mr William Jellett Mr William Jellett , Dublin University

I mentioned the year 1916, and in that way I thought there should be no possibility of mistake. The point I wish to make is this: We have been told to-night that repression of crime is wrong, and that if you repress crime you create it. If hon. Members had charge of affairs in April, 1916, when that rebellion occurred, what would they have done? They would have done nothing, because their argument amounts to this, that if you endeavour to repress crime you only produce more. I do not desire to detain the House very much longer, because I think the House has probably come to the conclusion that they have had enough of this discussion. I have heard the word "liberty" mentioned more than once tonight. We know a good deal about liberty in Ireland. What we have suffered from in Ireland in the past is not for want of liberty, but too much of it. The liberty that some hon. Members would like to see operative in Ireland is what other people would call licence, and that is what anyone who has the real interest of Ireland at heart is opposed to, tooth and nail.

What is the meaning of the whole of this discussion? Hon. Members opposite know perfectly well. This particular day was allocated to the discussion of a measure of vast importance to the interests of Ireland. Steadily the House has been occupied discussing the question as to whether language such as I have read should be suppressed or not. It is difficult to believe that hon. Members opposite can have the real interests of Ireland at heart when they are satisfied and content to block a measure of vital importance to the future of Ireland and its progress by raising a discussion like this. They did not even stop there. I heard hon. Members this afternoon rise and discuss every conceivable question with which they had no interest or concern. I listened with a considerable amount of amazement to the sympathetic observations made about Lord Rosebery's farm. I listened also to the discussion about, aeroplanes, somewhere in Cairo, and anything at all so long as you could stop a real remedial and beneficial measure for Ireland. I take the liberty of saying that the interests of Ireland are as dear to me as to any Gentleman on the opposite benches, but I take a different view of what are the real interests of Ireland from what they do. I look upon that Bill which we ought to have been discussing as one of the greatest measures introduced in my time in connection with Ireland. I hope that we shall hear no more of the side issues with which we haw been side-tracked to-night, and which are of no importance and with no substance in them, and which show that those who raised them do not know and do not care to see where the real interests of Ireland are. I trust and believe that this House will take a higher and nobler view of the. interests of Ireland, and will recognime that the action of the Chief Secretary, which is being criticised to-night, was the action of a man who knows his duty and is determined to do it.

10.0 P.M.

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

I should not have interrupted the hon. and learned Gentleman who has just spoken had I been aware that this was his first appearance in the House. I thought that his face was familiar to me, and that I had seen him before, but I was mistaken. I congratulate him on his speech, and I trust that we will have many contributions of that character in our future Debates, and I do. so because I think that speeches of that character are bound to be of an immeasurable service to the other side. He has just stated in the closing portion of his speech that nine-tenths of the people of Ireland are living in a state of terror. Will he tell us where they are? Does he live in a state of terror? The. hon. and learned Gentleman is a very well-known public man, and though he is not known in this House we know all aboat him. He has been one of the most violent rhetoricians on public platforms in Ireland. He lives in the centre, in the capital, of Ireland. He lives amongst people who differ from him in religion and in politics, and yet he has never lost an opportunity of not only slandering his. own race, and the people amongst whom he lives, but even when there was some desire amongst Orangemen and Protestants in the North for peace and contentment amongst the different and divided classes, his was the voice that was always heard against union or co-operation. Now, when he comes here and delivers a funeral oration over the condition of Ireland, it is well for the House of Commons to know that this is not a young Member coming in here with generous sympathies for the cause of liberty, animated by an instinct of glorious devotion to the cause of order, but that he is a known and seasoned partisan who has learnt his lessons of abuse of Ireland in the weltering school of rhetoricians which he adorns.

He has lectured us upon the fact that we do not denounce murder. He rather suggested that we are in favour of murder. That suggestion has been made. Will it be made openly and frankly by anybody? Will any Member on these benches say that any representative of Irish opinion returned to this House belonging to our party is in favour of murder or ever was in favour of murder, or ever said a word in favour of murder? No, we have not; but there are men in this House who have advocated murder. There have been men in this House who have pleaded that public men in England should be murdered, and I will tell you who they are. Here is a speech by an hon. and learned Gentleman from the North of Ireland, delivered in a place called Hayle. Hail, lovely morn! [HON. MEMBERS: "Smiling morn!"] Yes, smiling morn; I was in a doleful mood when I rose. The orator from the North of Ireland said The Radical Press is talking a great deal at the present time about the right of free speech. [A voice: Long live Winston Churchill.] This was at the time when Winston dared, in the name of law and order, to come over to the city of Belfast. He had proclaimed his intention, as a free-born Briton, a lover of order, a believer in law, and he said, "As an upholder of law and order I will go over to Belfast and make a speech"; and so, when the learned orator from the North of Ireland went to Hayle, he said, "The Radical Press is talking a great deal at the present time about the right of free speech," and when the voice shouted "Long live Winston Churchill," he replied, "I do not know whether, if he gets to Belfast, he will live long when he gets there." There is no doubt about it, if ever there was an incitement to murder, that was it. [Laughter.] Why does the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland not look solemn? Why should the murder of Winston Churchill cause all this merriment? Winston Churchill—[HON. MEMBERS: "Order!"]—The right hon. Gentleman—I am back again to order now, and I will be as orderly as possible—the right hon. Gentleman the Minister for War occupies precisely the same position towards us now that he occupied towards you then. He was your enemy then, he is not our friend now. What would the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary for Ireland do if I went down to Hayle? The Conservative Press, or it might be the Radical Press, because one never knows where one is in these times—for one would never have expected that a sturdy Radical from the Catholic parts of Scotland would have borne the mantle of "Buckshot" Forster thirty years after the attempt to suppress the Land League—but supposing the Radical Press, or the Tory Press, or the Coalition Press, or any sort of mixed Press, or even the "Freeman's Journal," said, "If he comes to Dublin, say, if he ever gets there, he will not live long," that would be an approval of murder, and I would not like to see Churchill murdered. I think it would be an outrage on the gaiety of nations. It would almost be as great a tragedy as the disappearance of President Wilson's Fourteen Points, and yet, if you murder a policeman—and I feel profoundly for these policemen and regret it deeply; I feel for these men tremendously—the Empire shakes to its foundations, but if you murder 10.0 P.M. Winston Churchill, the whole Ministerial Bench laughs five years after the event was adumbrated.

That only shows you the ever-changing mentality of the gentlemen of England. One day you are a rebel, the next day you are a judge. You are dressed up as a galloper on horseback in a rebellion four years ago, you are dressed up slow in all the magnificent vestments of a Lord Chancellor. You become the legal adviser to a provisional government set up in rebellion against the authority of His Majesty five years ago, to-day you sit on the Woolsack; and there you talk about law, and there you ask us to respect your institutions. I do not complain about the attitude of these gentlemen. I do not complain about them being rebellious. I think everybody is right who is a rebel in Ireland, whether air is the right hon. Gentleman or myself. Nobody in Ireland could be anything but a rebel, because all things there are all wrong, and to be a rebel is to be the only real thing that counts in the country, and therefore, I was against the arrest of the right bon. Gentleman. I heard at the time about all the preparations that were made, how they had a gunboat in Belfast Lough. Was that the reason you wanted to murder him? He was then First Lord of the Admiralty. What was the gunboat there for? I said When I was told about this that I did not approve of the blowing up of Belfast.

No, Sir, not one of you was ever arrested for preaching treason, for mutiny in the Army, for war upon fellow citizens, peaceful and law abiding, for disloyalty to the Sovereign. There was not a single hair on the head of one of you hurt in this transaction, and I think it is a mean and an unchivalrous thing that Ulster rebels, who themselves were never assailed, whom we never called upon the Government to attack, to arrest or to imprison, should lend themselves, openly and silently, to this policy of carrying on a war against everybody who thinks that his country is a nation, and that he has the right to manage its own affairs and for that rebels, when you yourselves did precisely the same thing, because you thought your country was not a nation, and do not belong to any country, but want to be associated with this one. That is my complaint, that there is no real, generous allowance made for excesses in Ireland by men who have passed through all these stages themselves, and who have never a generous word or a generous thought for the difficulties and trials of a nation in the agonies of its conflict, or even a generous sentiment for men dike ourselves who are here, the last remnant of constitutional government in Ireland, who declared their sympathy with your cause, and whose countrymen made sacrifices for the honour of your Empire and the glory of your arms. What, then, is all this discussion about to-night? I admit it is a comparatively trifling incident. The strange thing is that it is only on these comparatively trifling incidents that we have ever an opportunity of coming here and speaking for our country. The Chief Secretary for Ireland imagines he has no function in fife but to put down crime. He is somehow a Minister who bas taken the wrong turning.

Photo of Sir James Macpherson Sir James Macpherson , Ross and Cromarty

I have tried to introduce a really good, social, construetive measure to-day.

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

What do you want with an Education Bill, this splendid piece of craftsmanship and statesmanship? I am as anxious to debate that Bill as the right hon. Gentleman, but I am not going to have this Bill pushed through the House by a trick. That is my position. The Prime Minister on that bench stated that he did not intend to bring in that Bill this Session.

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

The right hon. Gentleman has contradicted me, but I will prove I am right. When the Prime Minister was reciting at the Table the different items of business that were to be transacted in the House, the Education Bill was never mentioned. The Home Rule Bill was mentioned and was dropped, and the Education Bill was put in. If he had announced that on such-and-such a day—that this day—we would have the Education Bill, I should have been perfectly prepared to discuss it and argue it; but I say it was put in by a trick, and, therefore the right hon. Gentleman is quite wrong in saying that anyone is trying to take any unfair advantage of his desire to propose this Education Bill in the House. I come back to my point. The right hon. Gentleman does not know, and has never sought to know, any opinion about Ireland outside Belfast. That is why he has never got a proper grip of the situation in Ireland. There are other places as well as Belfast. I say that profoundly and respectfully, although I am a Member for Belfast myself. I am quite willing to admit that it is the hub of the universe, but there are other places, and the rest of Ireland constitutes the other places. You think here in this country that we are ruled by England. Not at all; we are ruled by Ulster. Ulster cracks the whip, and the Chief Secretary jumps. There never was such a strange anomaly, such an extraordinary condition of affairs, as that this country is held up to—the ridicule and contempt of civilised humanity in every part of the world for the things you do in Ireland, and you think you are doing them, but you are not doing them at all. Believe me, you are not the tyrants you imagine you are You are simply the agents, with your Imperial forces and power behind you, of these Gentlemen from the North of Ireland who tell you what you are to do with these wretched and contemptible Southerners, and then it is done.

At this point a man in the Strangers' Gallery made an interruption, and was directed by the attendants to withdraw.

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

The right hon. Gentleman is going to give us a. great measure in the shape of an Education Bill. Why does he want to give us an Education Bill? As a matter of fact, Ireland is infinitely better educated now than she was in the days of the Land League. We have the educational and intellectual progress of nearly thirty years. What a commentary upon your Government and your Administration, that the more you educate the Irish people the more rebellious they become! The right hon. Gentleman will admit that Ireland was never in as bad a condition, or at least for thirty years, as now, and yet in the interests of the Empire he is attempting to carry an education measure for Ireland to make people understand things better, and therefore more rebellious than ever. I listened to the speech of the learned Attorney-General, in which he stated that the "Freeman's Journal" was a paper that, up to three or four weeks ago, was conducted on lines of constitutional policy, but has ceased to adopt that attitude. I think he said it was wound up in bankruptcy. What was the "Freeman's Journal"? It was one of the most magnificent papers in the whole of Europe at one time. [Laughter] Yes it was. It was owned and controlled by Mr. Edward O'Dwyer Grey, one of the most brilliant journalists in the world. It was a paper which for thirty years joined the members of the Irish Parliamentary party in what has now turned out to be a hopeless propaganda for a holier and better, a larger and sweeter arrangement between the democracies of these countries and the Irish race throughout the world. It rendered mighty service in the time of war. For fourteen or fifteen years it helped to keep in power the Liberal party, of which the right hon. Gentleman is such a distinguished ornament. Was that the boast made by my right hon. and learned Friend when he said that this constitutional policy had disappeared? Is not that, then, your own handiwork? You destroyed the party. You ruined the party. You destroyed the paper. What do you get in its stead? Recitals of murders, armoured cars, aeroplanes, tanks, bombs for policemen, reprisals for the poor men who are called upon to discharge these duties under these circumstances. A refusal to allow the Mansion House, which is the centre of civic dignity, of power, of authority, to be used for a sale at Christmas of articles advertising Irish industries; the imprisonment of people for the pettiest and smallest offences. No law: I admit it! No order: I admit it!

What is the conclusion to be drawn from it all? Finally, the whole Irish problem is to be solved by the appearance of Mr. Norris Goddard, who is to take charge of the organisation and recruiting of a civil police. If I am not mistaken, Mr. Norris Goddard was one of the leading members of the Dublin Recruiting Committee. I will tell the House what the Dublin Recruiting Committee was. It was made up of a number of old people who constituted themselves a recruiting committee in time of War. Sir Hedley Le Bas went over as representing the War Office and the Government to try to help recruiting in Ireland. He went to this recruiting committee. In his discussions with various eminent people gathered at the meeting. here is what he heard: "We do not want recruits in Ireland; it will be far better if these Nationalists do not join." That is not, mark you, coming from me. That is the declared and open statement of Sir Medley Le Bas, who has never been so far as Ireland before and who went over on this particular occasion. This was the sort of performance that was carried on at recruiting meetings in Dublin. Those concerned did not want the Nationalists to join the Army, because it might lead to Home Rule! Mr. Norris Goddard is charged with the function of organising a special police force for the purpose of safeguarding the Empire. They did not want the Nationalists and Papists to help in the winning of the War!

I come to the last point, which is this: Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the suppression of papers will ultimately do any good? Why does he not do what they would do in England? Why does he not prosecute a paper before a. proper tribunal as would be done in this country? The difficulty with people in Ireland who are constitutionalists is that they cannot defend anything you do. What has happened to the constitutional force is this, they are being driven day by day and week by week into the Sinn Fein camp, or they have to remain silent. You may go on with it, you may proceed on these lines, and you may carry out this policy, but has it ever struck the right hon. Gentleman, or anybody else associated with him, to ask to where is all this going to lead? Imagine anybody having any faith in a Government that proclaims as this Government did last week a dual policy, one introducing a Home Rule Bill, so-called that is, to divide Ireland in two, and before you do that you are to pass an Education Bill which is to consolidate and unify and centralise the education of the country you are going to divide in two. There is a spectacle, and I ask the House to mark it. May I ask the Minister of Education what is to be thought of the Goverment of which he is a member that proclaims its intention, if the papers speak rightly, of introducing a Home Rule Bill which proposes to divide Ireland in two, and before it is introduced they are to submit another Bill dealing with education, which is to centralise educational machinery and unify and consolidate all the educational forces of the country.

Which policy is it? Is it division or union? Is it the division of National Ireland or the unification of National Ireland? It is this kind of thing that makes the government of Ireland contemptible, and nobody has a good word to say for it. The world is gasping for some solution that will end this problem. It does not make any odds to Dublin Castle as to the future, but it is sonic odds to those who think that the future of humanity and mankind is concerned, for there is not a branch of life in any English-speaking country that is not made or unmade by this Irish problem, which, instead of sweetening the lives of communities, is poisoning every well-spring of good, and this will go on so long as this problem remains unsolved. Suppressed newspapers disappear for a day, but they spring up to-morrow, and suppressed organisations will spring up again. You may suppress fairs, you may destroy trade, and you may ruin everything, but they will come up again. This is all part and payee] of the policy of crushing National sentiment, let it take whatever form it may, and you may continue Chief Secretaries and governments as well, but there it will remain.

Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has made, as he always does, an amusing and towards the end a very eloquent speech. He has covered a wide ground. He has covered the whole Irish question, and he has gone, with your permission, Mr. Speaker, far beyond the terms upon which this Motion was framed. This is a Motion protesting against the suppression of a newspaper. Out of it has arisen a general discussion on the whole Irish policy of the Government, and, indeed, the whole Irish question. The "Freeman's Journal" was suppressed the other day. It was not the first newspaper in Ireland to be suppressed; it is not the first in Ireland which has been suppresed during the last few months. Why is it that this the first occasion in this Parliament upon which there has been a Motion protesting against the suppression of a newspaper

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

At the time the "Belfast Evening Telegraph" was suppressed I made a speech against it.

Photo of Mr William Redmond Mr William Redmond , Waterford Borough

And when a paper which attacked me in my own Constituency was suppressed I protested also against such action.

Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

But has there been any occasion on which the Adjournment of the House has been moved on the question of the suppression of an Irish paper in this Parliament before this? No; and what is the explanation? I do not wish to suggest that the hon. Member for the Scotland Division of Liverpool is not deeply moved by the events that have taken place in Ireland, or that he is not deeply concerned for the suppression of a newspaper which for years past has eloquently advocated the cause which he supports. But I cannot conceal from myself the fact that this Motion follows a line of conduct on the part of the Nationalist party in the House of Commons to-day which has taught Members of this Parliament their first experience in the arts of Parliamentary obstruction. The Irish Education Bill, which has been referred to already, was to have come on for Second Reading to-day. The Air Force Votes, which, in the ordinary course, so far as the English Members were concerned, would have been passed in a few minutes, were fought line by line. Every Vote was divided against, and with very few exceptions the only Members who took part in the Debate were hon. Members who are responsible for the Motion we are now discussing.

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

Forty millions sterling was involved.

Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

Can any hon. Member fail to connect the two? It must be obvious to anyone who can see his own nose that there has been a concerted policy on the part of hon. Members opposite to prevent at any cost and any sacrifice a Second Reading discussion on the Irish Education Bill this afternoon. And what are they doing in preventing that Bill becoming law? Although the Chief Secretary—and I give him credit for having passed in this Parliament more measures of real benefit to the Irish people than have been passed in any previous Parliament for many years, measures dealing with housing and other matters of vital importance to the lives and homes of the people of Ireland—here to-day we were to come to the most important of all Bills, and the Irish Education Bill, had it been carried would have for the first time in the history of Irish education have introduced some small element of popular control into the education of Ireland. Yet hon. Gentlemen opposite have come down and used their great arts of obstruction to prevent even the discussion of that Bill here. The result is that hundreds of Irish teachers—poorly underpaid—mere underpaid, perhaps than any other profession in the United Kingdom—will be deprived of the increase of salaries which was their due.

Photo of Mr William Redmond Mr William Redmond , Waterford Borough

Why could they not get their money without the Bill?

Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

Fifteen thousand school children in Belfast to-day are walking the streets without accommodation in which to learn how to read and write, and there are thousands also in Dublin. They are being deprived of their schools and their education by the non-passage of this Bill as a result of the action of hon. Gentlemen opposite this afternoon. Then they come down and move this Motion to-night about the "Freeman's Journal" and its suppression. The hon. Member for the Falls Division (Mr. Devlin) made numerous references to the Secretary of State for War. He said that the right hon. Gentleman used to be the enemy of my right hon. Friend (Sir E. Carson) and those on this Bench.

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

The hon. and gallant Gentleman has referred to my obstruction and to the speeches I delivered on the Air Ministry Votes. Is he aware of the fact that altogether I did not speak for fifteen minutes in the four hours, and that the Minister for War himself spoke for about two hours?

Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

I apologise to the hon. Gentleman. I was not in the House for a very long time during the Debate this afternoon, but there was one thing with which I was struck—I was greatly surprised at it—that was that the hon. Gentleman himself appeared to be hopelessly bad at obstruction.

Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

The hon. Gentleman behind the hon. Member (Mr. E. Kelly) was a master-mind compared with himself. The hon. Member for the Falls Division never has been an obstructionist, and does not understand the art.

Mr. KELLY:

Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman accuse me of not being bond fide in the points I brought before the House?

Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

I make no accusation against the hon. Member. He has sat in this House, at any rate during this Parliament, and I do not remember him referring with the great interest and the great knowledge he displayed to-day to any questions connected with aeroplanes or hangars, or the work and cost of the Air Ministry. However, I will pass from that subject to say something on the main issues we have been discussing. The hon. and gallant Member fur Leith (Captain W. Benn) said that not a scintilla of public opinion in Ireland is behind the action of the Chief Secretary. Let him not forget that in Ireland there is a public opinion which is determined to see that the action of the Chief Secretary in enforcing regard for the law is properly supported.

Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

There is a public opinion in the North, and there is also a large but silent public opinion in the South to that effect. The hon. Gentleman knows it as well as I do. I intervene in this Debate primarily as an Irish Unionist to say we feel that the Chief Secretary is carrying out his most difficult and trying task with the support of a large section of opinion in all parts of Ireland.

The Leader of the Labour party spoke in favour of the Motion. I was much struck by the difference between his speech and that of the hon. Member (Mr. O'Connor). The hon. Member discoursed upon the past wrongs of Ireland. He worked himself up into a feeling of tension and passion upon occasion when referring to the Rebellion in 1798 and other tragic episodes in the long and sad history of Ireland. But the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Adamson) was quite different. He talked about Labour, and something about motor-car licences, and the discontent of Labour at motor-car restrictions. It was altogether an extraordinary fall from a high plane to a lower, and yet much more sensible and common-sense plane. But he dealt with the question apart from all the frills and draperies with which we are accustomed to find it clothed. But he did not propose any remedy. He talked about self-determination in Ireland. What does he mean by that? Would he give them independence? That is the self-determination the South and West of Ireland are asking for to-day. Would he give Ulster self-determination? When Labour Members have been asked what their alternative is they have generally answered by saying, "Put Home Rule into force at once;" W hat Home Rule?

Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

Does the hon. and gallant Gentleman think the Act of 1914 is possible or feasible? Is it not universally admitted that it would be utterly impossible to-day? It is not only impossible because it would not in any degree satisfy the demands of Ireland. but because it was passed six years ago when conditions were entirely different and when many of the provisions, such as the financial provisions, the franchise provisions—

Photo of Mr William Redmond Mr William Redmond , Waterford Borough

The Home Rule Act expressly provided that when the contingency came about which has now arrived the whole question of the financial terms should be revised.

Photo of Hon. Hugh O'Neill Hon. Hugh O'Neill , Antrim Mid

That only supports my argument and shows that it has broken down. But I have learnt one thing, and that is that there are certainly six people, some of whom generally live in Ireland, who are in favour of the Home Rule Act of 1914 and would like to see it put into operation to-day. It is quite obvious that hon. Gentlemen, when they talk about the Home Rule Act being put into operation, speak for nobody but themselves. They are but six. It is known to all hon. Members that if you ask the people in Ireland who are asking to-day for independence and self-determination whether they would be satisfied with the Home Rule Act of 1914, that no such Act would come within miles of satisfying the sentiments which inspire them to-day. His Majesty's Government have a difficult task. I do not like coercion. I do not suppose there is a man in this House, on whatever side he sits or whatever part of the country he represents, who likes to see the state of affairs which is now in existence in the South and West of Ireland. I do plore it as much as anybody. I deplore the fact that there is necessity for the keeping of thousands of soldiers in Ireland, but so long as the party who are asking for independence in Ireland back up their demands by these extreme measures of assassination and murder, which have disgraced the annals of Ireland in the last few years, I feel perfectly certain that the British House of Commons, representing as it does a nation and an Empire which was not and would not be intimidated by the Germans, will ask for self-determination or self-government with far less likelihood of success. The only chance of any settlement of rite Irish question, either now or in the near future—a settlement which, heaven knows, all of us, and hon. Members from Ulster more than anybody, would be only too thankful to see brought about—is that the people of Ireland who to-day are going in for this extreme policy of Sinn Fein, with the terrible concomitants of murder and outrage, should realise that the British Empire is not to be intimidated. Then it may be possible that some settlement may eventually mature.

Photo of Sir Maurice Dockrell Sir Maurice Dockrell , Dublin Rathmines

I did not Want to intervene in this Debate, but a matter was mentioned by the hon. Member for the Falls Division (Mr. Devlin), and I am sure that he dues not want to misrepresent me or those who were associated with me. He referred to the Recruiting Committee in Dublin as a body of old gentlemen. I happened to be the chairman of that committee of old gentlemen. He mentioned Mr. Norris Goddard had been associated with that committee. I want to correct him in that. Mr. Goddard took no active part on that committee.

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

He did not help recruiting.

Photo of Sir Maurice Dockrell Sir Maurice Dockrell , Dublin Rathmines

He was not on that Committee and had nothing to do with it. As regards Sir Hedley Le Bas, his visit was prompted by his anxiety to introduce to the Recruiting Committee in Dublin his famous posters, and I as chairman, and the other gentlemen on that committee, who, at least, knew Ireland as well as Sir Hedley Le Bits, told him that the posters he was producing were utterly unsuitable for Dublin or for Ireland. You must distinguish between the city of Dublin Recruiting Committee, which lasted four years and took a serious part in recruiting, and the Irish Recruiting Council. I was myself on the Irish Recruiting Council, which only lasted a very short time. Sir Hedley Le Bas introduced these posters into Dublin, and we absolutely disavowed any responsibility whatever for the asinine proceedings which accompanied the production of those posters, and the position in which they were placed.

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

The hon. Member must confine himself to the question of the Freeman's Journal."

Sir M. COCKRELL:

I simply want to correct a misapprehension. I did not wish to interrupt the proceedings. Hence I did not rise on the point of Order. If, for one moment, I may illustrate what I have said as to the position in which those posters were placed—

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

If the hon. Member wishes to continue his speech he must turn his attention to the subject-matter of this Debate, namely, the suppression of the "Freeman's Journal."

Photo of Sir Maurice Dockrell Sir Maurice Dockrell , Dublin Rathmines

Would it be relevant in your judgment to introduce a reference to those proceedings? we have been charged with having been mixed up with certain gentlemen with reference to posters in Ireland.

Photo of Mr James Lowther Mr James Lowther , Penrith and Cockermouth

Will the hon. Gentleman tell us something about the "Freeman's Journal"?

Photo of Mr William Redmond Mr William Redmond , Waterford Borough

It is close to eleven o'clock, and the Chief Secretary, who is the chief Minister of the Irish Government in this House, has not considered this matter of sufficient importance to rise in his place and defend the action of the Government. The question at issue is a very serious one. It is all very well for the Chief Secretary to delegate to the Attorney-General for Ireland the task of replying to the case made against the suppression of the "Freeman's Journal," but he is the Minister responsible for Ireland, and it is his duty, and I would almost say that it is to his honour, to get up and defend the action of his Government and their advisers under which the "Freeman's Journal" has been suppressed. The "Freeman's Journal" has been a great national Irish democratic journal for the last fifty or hundred years in Ireland. It supported the party to which the right hon. Gentleman belonged until recently—I do not know to what party he belongs now—and it was a great outspoken organ of public opinion in Ireland. It was an organ of opinion which told the Irish people and the English people that they should come together and that there was the possibility, the probability, of them uniting for the mutual betterment and the further improvement of the two peoples. What is the result? I do not blame the Chief Secretary. No man could fill the position of Chief Secretary for Ireland to-day with success. The position is untenable; it is impossible. The Irish people will not have a Chief Secretary there. They say that they should govern themselves. The result is that the Chief Secretaryship is an impossibility. The present Chief Secretary thinks that he is doing well by suppressing the rising national spirit and manhood of Ireland. What is the result? Instead of having law and order in Ireland, instead of having a peaceful country, the right hon. Gentleman himself acknowledges that things are going from bad to worse from day to day. Why is it? The more you endeavour to repress the spirit of a nation, the more will that spirit rise up, and the more will it live. Therefore, you are increasing and not decreasing the national spirit of manhood of our country by your policy of suppression and coercion. The Leader of the Labour party at the commencement of this Debate referred to the question of the Motor Order in Ireland. I raised that question myself only a week ago. I asked the Chief Secretary whether he intended pursuing the matter to its final end. He said that he did. The result was that within a few hours, I think twenty-four, though perhaps it was forty-eight, the order was withdrawn, at least in regard to a portion of the traffic in Ireland. Why cannot the Irish Government deal straightforwardly and honestly with the Irish people? Why cannot they come and say, "We are going to do a certain thing and we intend to do it"? Instead of that, they try and enforce an Order which would not be tolerated in this country. You have had very disagreeable murders in this country. You had one at Leeds and you had one here in London only a. few days ago. They were brought about largely through the operations of motor vehicles. The assassins drove up to the banks, they went into the banks and committed murder, and off they went in their motor-ears. Are you going to introduce the motor permit system into England? If this is the United Kingdom, and we are all supposed to be governed under the same system, why, if motor permits are enforced in Ireland, are they not to be enforced in this country? This is only one example of the differential treatment accorded to the two countries. I was very pleased that the Chief Secretary did not speak to-night, because I feel that he knows in his inmost heart, as one who was a Radical and a supporter of self-government, that he could not have defended the action of the Castle authorities in Ireland. Furthermore, I hope in the next few hours to see an announcement made in the Press that he is to continue this state of affairs no longer, and that he has decided to resign his position as Chief Secretary for Ireland.

Lieut. -Commander WILLIAMS:

We have had a very curious and very typical Irish Debate. The speech with which it

was opened was one of those orations which we all admire for its intensity and for its volume of language. The hon. Member went over the history of the last 100 years. He brought out various facts and various troubles which have afflicted the Irish people and, incidentally, the English people. What some of us would like to see is some process whereby the Irish people would form in their own minds a scheme for the solution of this problem. To-day we have had a remnant of the Nationalist party, with some past history in the art of obstruction, doing their best to help forward the Irish race—

Photo of Mr T.P. O'Connor Mr T.P. O'Connor , Liverpool Scotland

rose in his place, and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question, "That the Question be now put," put, and agreed to.

Question put accordingly, "That this House do now adjourn."

The House divided: Ayes, 52; Noes, 161.

Division No. 162.]AYES.[11.0 p.m.
Acland, Rt. Hon. Francis DykeHerbert, Col. Hon. A. (Yeovil)Short, A. (Wednesbury)
Bell, James (Ormskirk)Hirst, G. H.Sitch, C. H.
Benn, Captain W. (Leith)Holmes, J. StanleySwan, J. E. C.
Briant, F.Irving, DanThomson, T. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Bromfield, W.Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)Thorne, G. R. (Wolvsrhampton)
Cairns, JohnKelly, Edward J. (Donegal, E.)Thorne, W. (Plaistow)
Cape, TomKiley, James DanielTootill, Robert
carter, W. (Mansfield)Lawson. JohnWallace, J.
Davies, Alfred (Clitheroe)Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan)Walsh, S. (Ince, Lancs.)
Devlin, JosephMaclean, Rt. Hon. Sir D. (Mldlothian)Waterson, A. E.
Edwards, C. (Bedwellty)MacVeagh, JeremiahWilliams, A. (Consett, Durham)
Elliot, Captain W. E. (Lanark)Murray, Dr. D. (Western Isles)Williams, Col. P. (Middlesbrough)
Entwistle, Major C. F.Onions, AlfredWilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Graham, W. (Edinburgh)Parkinson, John Alfen (Wlgan)Wood, Major Mackenzle (Aberdeen, C.)
Guest, J. (Hemsworth, York)Redmond, Captain William A.Young, Robert (Newton, Lancs.)
Hall. F. (York Normanton)Richardson, R. (Houghton)
Harbison, T. J. S.Rose, Frank H.TELLERS FOR THE AYES—
Hayday, A.Royce, William StapletonMr. T. P. O'Connor, and Mr. Adamson.
Henderson, RT' Hon. Arthur (Widnes)
NOES.
Adair, Rear-AdmiralBurn, T. H. (Belfast)Gardiner, J. (Perth and Kinross)
Agg-Gardner, Sir James TynteButcher, Sir J. G.Geddes, Rt. Hon. Sir A. C. (Bas'gstoke)
Allen, Lt.-Col. William JamesCampion, Colonel W. R.Gibbs, Colonel George Abraham
Archdale, Edward M.Carr, W. T.Gilbert, James Daniel
Archer-Shee Lieut.-Colonel MartinCasey, T. W.Gilmour, Lieut.-Colonel John
Astbury, Lleut.-Com. F. W.Cayzer, Major H. R.Goff, Sir Park
Atkey, A. R.Cecil, Rt. Hon. E. (Aston Manor)Goulding, Rt. Hon. Sir E. A.
Balrd, John LawrenceCockerill, Brig. -General G. K.Grant, James Augustus
Baldwin, StanleyCoote, Colln R. (Isle of Ely)Greame, Major P. Lloyd
Balfour, Sir Robert (Partick)Cope, Major W. (Glamorgan)Greene, Lt.-Col. W. (Hackney, N.)
Barlow, Sir Montague (Salford, S.)Cory, Sir Clifford John (St. Ives)Guinness, Lt.-Col. Hn. W. E. (B. St. E)
Barnett, Major R, W.Craig, Captain Charles C. (Antrim)Hacking, Colonel D. H.
Barnston, Major H.Davldson, Major-General Sir John H.Hailwood, A.
Barton, Sir William (Oldham)Davies, T. (Cirencester)Hambro, Angus Valdemar
Benn, Com. Ian Hamilton (Greenwich)Dixon, Captain H.Hanna, G. B.
Bigland, AlfredDockrell, Sir M.Henry, Denis S. (Londonderry, S.)
Blake, Sir Francis DouglasEdge, Captain WilliamHerbert, Denniss (Hertford)
Bowyer, G. W. E.Eyres-Monsell, Commander B. M.Hewart, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Breese, Major C. E.Falcon, Captain M.Higham, C. F (Islington, S.)
Bridgeman, William CliveFisher, Rt. Hon. Herbert A. L.Hilder, Lt.-Colonel F.
Briggs, HaroldForestier-Walker, L.Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy
Brcwn. Captain D. C. (Hexham)Foxcroft, Captain C.Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)
Bull, Rt. Hon. Sir William J.Fraser, Major Sir KeithHope, John Deans (Berwick)
Burdon, Colonel RowlandGanzoni, Captain F. C.Hopkins, J. W. W.
Hopkinson, Austin (Mossley)Mosley, OswaldStanley, Col. Hon. G. (Preston)
Howard, Major S. G.Mount, William ArthurStanton, Charles Butt
Hunter, Gen. Sir Archibald (Lancaster)Munro, Rt. Hon. RobertStephenson, Colonel H. K.
Hurd, P.AMurray, Hen. G. (St. Rollox)Stewart, Gershom
Jephcott, A. R.Murray, John (Leeds, W.)Sturrock, J. Leng-
Jellett, William MorganMurray, William (Dumfries)Sugden, Lieut. W. H.
Johnson, L. S.Neal, ArthurTalbot, G. A. (Hemel Hempstead)
Jonas, G. W. H. (Stoke Newington)Newman, Sir R. H. S. D. (Exeter)Terrell, Capt. R. (Henley, Oxford)
Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen)Oman, C. W. C.Thorpe, J. H.
Kerr-Smiley, Major P.O'Neill, Captain Hon. Robert W. H.Tryon, Major George Clement
Kidd, JamesPalmer, Brig.-Gen. G. (Westbury)Vickers, D.
Law, A. J. (Rochdale)Parry, Lt.-Colonel Thomas HenryWaddington, R.
Lewis, T. A. (Pontypridd, Glam.)Perkins, Walter FrankWardle, George J.
Lindsay, William ArthurPinkham, Lt.-Colonel CharlesWaring, Major Walter
Lister, Sir R. AshtonPollock, Sir Ernest M.Wheler, Colonel Granville C. H.
Lonsdale, James R.Pratt, John WilliamWhitia, Sir William
Lynn, R. J.Purchase, H. G.Wigan, Brig.-Gen. John Tyson
M'Guffln, SamuelRaeburn, Sir WilliamWilliams, Lt.-Com, C. (Tavistock)
M'Lean, Lt-Col. C. W. W. (Brigg)Raw, Lt.-Colonel Dr. N.Willoughby, Lt.-Col. Hon. Claud
Macpherson, Rt. Hon. James I.Reid, D. D.Wills, Lt.-Col. Sir Gilbert Alan H.
Mallalieu, Frederick WilliamRobinson S. (Brecon and Radnor)Wilson, Capt. A. Stanley (Hold'ness)
Malone, Major P. (Tottenham)Rodger, A. K.Wilson, Colonel Leslie (Reading)
Matthews, DavidRoundell, Colonel R. F.Wood, Major Hon. E. (Ripon)
Middlebrook, Sir WilliamSamuel, S. (WandswoHh, Putney)Wood, Sir J. (Stalybridge and Hyde)
Moles, ThomasSanders, Colonel Robert ArthurWorsfold, T. Cato
Molson, Major John ElsdaleSassoon, Sir Philip A. G. D.Yeo, Sir Alfred William
Moore-Brabazon, Lt.-Cot. J. T. C.Seager, Sir WilliamYoung, Lt.-Com. E. H. (Norwich)
Morden, Colonel H. GrantShortt, Rt. Hon. E. (N'castle-on-T., W.)
Morison, T. B. (Inverness)Smith, Sir Allan M. (Croydon, S.)TELLERS FOR THE NOES.— Captain
Morrison-Bell, Major A. C.Stanier, Captain Sir BevilleGuest and Lord E. Talbot

Question put, and agreed to.