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THE AGITATION IN IRELAND. COMMITTAL OF MR. BLUNT. Mr. Thomas Rice Henn, Q.C., the County Court Judge, delivered judgment at Portumna, on Saturday, in the appeal case of Mr. Wilfrid Blunt, and confirmed the decision of the Court below. In the course of his remarks his Honour said: The law as to unlawful assemblies is clear and indisputable. The Execu- tive Government has not only an inherent right but it has a duty cast upon it which it dare not neglect, to forbid and, if necessary, to disperse by force, all public meetings which, be their purpose lawful or unlawful, and be they addressed by gentle- men, few or many, it has sufficient reason to believe are likely to produce danger to the peace and the tranquillity of the neighbourhood; nay, more, the law as to such meetings is so jealous and im- perative that it says magistrates are criminally negli- gent in not putting down such meetings, and they are liable to prosecution for their neglect. Now as to the sufficiency of the reasons which compelled the Lord- Lieutenant first to proclaim, and subsequently, through his executive officer, to forbid the meeting convened by Mr. Blunt on Oct. 23, this is how the matter stands The district in which this meeting was convened was a district in which the Nationnl League had been proclaimed as a dangerous association. That is calling public attention to the fact that there was a body within it whose words and actions were a standing menace to both law and order. But still more- after this proclamation had been issued, in- deed only two or three days before Mr. Blunt gave notice of his intended meeting, in the immediate neighbourhood of this intended meeting there had been violent resistance to the Queen's writ, and the peace and tranquillity had not merely been endangered, but violently broken and seven days before, in the very place in which the meet- ing had been invited to assemble, an illegal meeting had been held, at which the people were openly urged to resist the law, and the Lord-Lieutenant's proclama- tion, the proclamation of the deputy of her Majesty the Queen, was burned in the presence of a vast crowd of people in open ostentatious defiance of his authority- a proceeding, in my opinion, more suggestive and more demoralising than any language could have been. The meeting, therefore convened for Oct. 23 was most pro- perly forbidden by the Executive as an unlawful as- sembly. Well, I would ask The MacDermot will he tell m e what freedom is? No. Then I will tell him, and I will tell it in the words of one whose youth was the admi- ration of my own boyhood, and whose manhood and whose age have the admiration and reverence of all classes of his countrymen—the most profound jurist of our time, a truly pure and upright statesman, the Roundell Palmer of his earlier career, the great and good Lord Selborne of to-day. And how does he define it ? He tells us that the supremacy of the law is of the very essence of freedom. I have taken down the words as he uttered them, and one of his distin- guished successors, the present Lord Chancellor of England (I have taken down his words also), has recently declared that respect for the law, while it is a law, is the very foundation of civil society." This, then, is the freedom which is the birthright of every Englishman, and it is the basis on which the greatness of this great country rests — reverence for law. And why ? Because obedience to the law, as Englishmen have been taught from generation to generation, is .what Scripture says it is—the Law of God. I cannot, therefore, and I will not believe that a gentleman who has so little respect for the law while it is the law, and has so widely departed from the principles of freedom, would, in reality, if he had been allowed to hold his meeting, have done good. He does not come into court with clean hands. I cannot say of such a man that he had not what the magistrates declared he had, "deliberate and premeditated intention of defying and resisting the law," and therefore with pain, with the deepest pain, I am constrained to con- firm the sentence which they have pronounced. The decision was received in silence in court. The police, having spread the report that Mr. Blunt would be taken to Ballinasloe on Saturday evening, suddenly changed their plans, and drove to Woodlawn, a small station some miles nearer Galway, where they joined the ordinary train to Galway. Mr. Byrne, R.M., had Mr. Blunt in custody, and occupied an ordinary first-class carriage. Lady Anne accompanied them to Galway. At Athenry the police endeavoured to prevent the public getting upon the platform, but the force was quite inadequate, and a great crowd with torches and drums assembled, and cheered for Mr. Blunt. The train waited about twenty minutes, during which time the cheering was incessant. Mr. Blunt seemed cheerful, and none the worse for his long drive. "Mr. Blunt arrived at Galway at half-past nine on Saturday night, attended by a large escort, and as the train entered the station cheers were raised by some thousands of people who had gathered there. Cheers were also given for Mr. Parnell, Mr. William O'Brien, and Mr. Gladstone, whilst groans were given for Mr. Balfour and Lord Salisbury. A carriage, escorted by a large body of police, was in readiness to convey the prisoner to the gaol. At first the carriage was driven off without the prisoner, as a ruse to clear off the people; but it failed. Half an hour later the prisoner was taken to the gaol in a drag, driven by a police- man. The police charged the crowd with swords and batons, wounding several people with the latter. One policeman was severely cut in the face by a stone. The town was much excited, and thousands of people thronged in the direction of the gaol. The feeling is that the police had no reason to charge in such a violent manner. After being taken into custody, Mr. Blunt was in- terviewed by a correspondent, to whom he said I wish all my friends to be of good heart about me. I am quite happy in the prospect of a two months' re- treat from the world aud its affairs. I have thus time and leisure given me as a great privilege, and I hope I may come out of it a better man-more worthy to plead the cause of liberty, which is the only one in this world worth suffering for." Before the opening of the court on Saturday morn- ing Mr. Blunt was presented with an address from the people of Portumna, and in acknowledging it referred to his trial, saying that he did not suppose there would be an acquittal, but the end would be satisfactory to him, whatever it might be. Soon after the sentence was announced, a deputation from the Clanricarde tenantry waited upon Mr. Shaw- Lefevre, M.P., and presented him with an address. In the course of his reply he said he should have been proud to stand by Mr. Blunt in the dock, and even now in the prison. Mr. Blunt's object in calling the meeting for which he had been sent to prison was to express sympathy with the Clanricarde tenantry. After careful inquiry on the spot he (Mr. Shaw- Lefevre) confidently believed that the tenants had been suffering under great wrong and injustice during the last two years, and this wrong might be traced to a single man-Lord Clanricarde. (Hisses.) The only way of compelling that man to do what was right was by bringing the pressure of public opinion to bear upon his proceedings and upon the proceedings of the Government in supporting him as they were now doing not only by all the power of the common law backed by the police and the forces of the Crown, but by all the great and exceptional power of the Coercion Act of last year. It annoyed him that after the recent disclosures as to the management of the Clanricarde property the Government did not drop the prosecution of Mr. Blunt. In the evening the inhabitants of Ballinasloe also presented him with an address. Another correspondent telegraphed: A constable, who was sitting on the carriage which was waiting for the prisoner, was struck by a stone, being so much injured that another had to take his place. A man in the throng, whilst running towards the carriage, received bayonet thrusts from some of the mounted police. Mr. Evelyn, M.P., protested to Mr. Lyster, R.M., against I the wanton conduct' of the police. The carriage containing the prisoner was hurried away to the gaol, and left the people behind; but, at the prison, the police again met the crowd, and, when Mr. Blunt was lodged inside, the constables charged. Several persons received bayonet wounds, and about half a dozen were treated by local doctors chiefly for scalp injuries. One man was conveyed in an insensible condition to the infirmary, his shoulder being dislocated. He is be- lieved to be in a serious state. Mr. Feely told the magistrate in charge that he would hold him ac- countable if the man died. Mr. Blunt has not to- day put on the prison dress, but intends to do so if required, under protest." ANOTHER M.P. ARRESTED. Mr. W. J. Lane, M.P. for East Cork, was arrested on Saturday in Cork. Mr. Lane, after his arrest, was conveyed to Cork Gaol, and subsequently brought before Captain Stokes, R.M. He was charged with having incited tenants to resist the execution of the decrees of the Court in a speech delivered at Watergrass-hill in November last. He was ad- mitted to bail, the Mayor and high sheriff giving security. The charge against him will be investi- gated at Riverstown. CONVICTION OF MR. T. HARRINGTON, M.P. At Tralee Court House on Monday, the trial of Mr. Timothy Harrington, M.P., secretary of the Irish Na- tional League, which had been adjourned from Decem- ber 19, was proceeded with before Mr. Cecil Roche and Colonel Persee, resident magistrates. Defendant was charged under the Crimes Act with having published in the Kerry Sentinel, of which it was alleged he was one of the proprietors, reports of the proceedings of the National League branches in Kerry which had been suppressed by order of the Lord-Lieutenant. Great public interest was manifested in the proceedings. The case for the prosecution had closed at the first hearing, and evidence for the defence was now taken. The principal witness was Mr. E. Harrington, M.P., who deposed that since 1881 the defendant had no connection with the Kerry Sentinel, and did not control its management in any way. Since then witness had been the sole editor and proprietor. Mrs. E. Harrington deposed that her husband signed the document which made himself and defendant proprietors without reading its con- tents. This concluded the evidence. Defendant was sentenced to six weeks' imprisonment. An appeal being granted, defendant was liberated on bail.


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