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SELIVING A SUMMONS IN THE HOUSE. THE GOVERNMENT AND THE IRISH MEMBERS. A GROSS OUTRAGE ON PARLIA- MENTARY PRIVILEGE. EXCITING SCENE. After the discussion had continued some time, The SPEAKER called on Mr Molloy to address the House. Mr SHKifHT, who had been speaking a few moments previously, rose, and, speaking with some excitement, said 1 have to bring before the House a question of privilege. As I was leaving the House a moment ago one of the attendants handed me what seemed an ordinary visitor's card. I went to the lobby, when a police constable from Ireland asked me to take a summons from him, under the Coercion Act. I asked him if he had the audacity to serve the summons in the precincts of the House of Commons, and he said he did not think it would be out of order, and I accepted it from him. In consequence, I beg leave to move that we report progress, in order that information may be given in this matter. Mr BRADLAUGH: After the intimation given by the leaier of the House, I took it that instructions would be given so that these summonses should not be served during the sittings of the House. It is a little too much that this should be done, and I desire to protest against any such shabby and discourteous pro- ceedings. (Cheers.) Mr HANBURY I thoroughly endorse what has been said by the hon. member. I do not in the least know who is to blame for this-whstber it is the Chief Secretary for Ireland or who it is, but I it is a scandal and a deliberate insult to the House. (Hear.) It is especialiy so after the promises that were made by tile First Lordof the Treasury. I say it is monstrous that after these promises had been given members of this House should have summonses served upon tbem in tho very precincts of this House. (Cheers.) I think, and I speak for othoe COlJservatives who feel as strongly as I dr, that it is our duty to resent these gross outrages. Unless soma decided ami satisfactory answer from the front beuch I is given, I hope the House will take such steps I aud support such resolutions as will at once and for all put an end to these proceedings. (Hear, bear.) Mr A. J. BALFOUR: I think my hon. friend behind me hro." «puken in great deal ot ImnCC3S- sary heat—(Opposition cries of "01;, oil ")-of an incident which so far I entirely deplore, but of which I never heard till this moment. Mr SHICKHY: It only happened this moment. When the hon. member came in a moment ago, and said ho had something to tell the House connected with an incident which occurred in the lobby, I sat down in my seat to listen to one of those episodes which unfortunately on one or two occasions last session occurred between mem- bers of this House..1 had not the slightest idea that I should hear that the hon. gentleman had I been served with a summons. It certainly had nothing to do with me. I asked the 'Home Secretary whether he knows auvthing about it, and he informs me he does uot. Therefore I am afraid no information can be given from this bench because no information is possessed by us. Mr A. O'CONNOB I rise to order. I wish to know whether the question is not that you should report progress ? (Opposition cheers.) Mr A. J. BALFOUR; I do not know whether wo are strictly iu order, but the motion to report progress was made so1ely to discuss this question, so that I may be allowed to go on. The hon. gentleman stated correctly, I have no doubt, according to his belief, that tbe notice in question was served by a member of the Irish con- stabulary. Mr SHKKHY He informed me so. Mr BALFOUR I am surprised at that, because I had thought on these occasions the ordiuary practice was that any legal document should be placed in the hands of the metropolitan police when any member was :irrested before the arrest was made by a member of the constabulary. The Home Secretary is now making inquiries, but I believe I am right in saying that we have no control over this at, all. (Oh, :.11, and hear, hear.) I am speaking in ignorance on this matter, not having had time to inquire, but I should be glad if some gentleman more learned in criminal pro- cedure would explain to the House how far inci- dents of this kind are under the control of the executive with regard to the time at which they take place. I entirely concur that it is a grievous and unhappy thing that such incidents should occur within the- precincts ot the House. (Cheei-H.) If it is a matter in which we cau interfere wo should interfere—(hear, hear)—and if there is any leeal power to see that such things shall not occur, that power should be exercised. (Renewed cheers.) I can only repeat that I am in total and absolute ignorance of everything that has happened. Sir W. HARCOURT: What I am informed has occurred is this. The hon. member for South Galway was addressing the House, when thero was sent in to him one of the ordinary cards of visitors seeking the presence of members, addressed in this way:—" David Sheehy, Esq., M.P. Jeremiah Sullivan, R.I.C., Lunorick." This Royal Irish constable servos a member of this 'House with a visitor's card in order that he may serve him in the lobby with a summons. I am extremely glad that the Irish Secretary has disowned this proceeding. It is a, scandal and an outrage. (Cheers.) But I cannot see how he can disavow, I will not say the responsibility, but the power of dealing with the matter. If the authorities are not responsible for keeping Irish constables in London in order, the situation would be intoler- able. For the Irish Secretary to say that they had no authority to deal with the matter——— Mr BALFOUR I never said that. Sir W. HAIICOUBT proceeded It is plain the Government is responsible. (Hear.) We want to know what instructions have been given, or are to be given, in this matter. (Hear.) Of course, there is considerable difficulty in discussing the matter now, and we are all more or less out of order in doing so in committee on a motion to report progress. Our proper course is to report progress in order that we may have the Speaker in the chair. (Hear, hear.) We may then have this matter, so deeply affecting the dignity of the House and the character of the executive Govern- ment, adequately dealt with. (Cheers.) Therefore it is that I support the motion. J Mr BALFOUR If I was misunderstood, I wish to make myself perfectly clear. I absolutely disclaim any sort of knowledge of this matter, and I do not disclaim nor do I claim responsi- bility for what has happened. The House must be aware it would be folly on my part, off hand, without the slightest notice, without having had an opportunity of consulting the legal advisers of the Government, to give the House an authorita- tive statement of the precise responsibility that rests with the executive Government. (Henr, hear.) It is a delicate and difficult matter upon which I cannot give an opinion off hand without consultation, but I can do this—I can and do give an emphatic pledge to the House that in so far as the executive Government may be shown to be responsible, and if it in any way rests with me,I shall take care that an incident of this kind dnei not again occur. (Cheers.) Mr ILUNOWORTH It is evident that Castle rulo is coming very near home. It was predicted long ago that when constitutional practices were abandoned we should soon have the ssme actions on this side of the water. (Hear, hear.) We admit the Chief Secretary had no knowledge, but his action all through these melancholy Irish proceedings is an assurance to his minions—(oh, oh)—how they may act. It is a grave iusult and menace to the House of Commons, j and should be dealt with at once, (Hoar, hear.) Mr J. MOBLEY } We urge the proposal that tha Speakss may be called in in order to bring forward 1 a specific proposal that a committee be appointed to inquite into the whole circumstances. (Hear, hear.) Mr W. H. SMITH: On behalf of tbe Govern- ment I at once consent. We will at once agree to report progress that a motion may be made to appoint a committee. (Hear, hear.) 1 will niake such a motion myself that a committee forthwith do inquire into all the circumstances, and report to the House. (Cheers.) The motion to report progress was agreed to, and in a few minutes the Speaker returned to the chair. Mr W. H. SMITH, rising at once, said Mr Speaker, an incident has occurred .which has occasioned great reeret to the House and to the Government. A-member of the House has been served—or rather he has not been served— he received a message from a person who inti- mated a desire to serve the hon. member with a summons in the lobby of the House. Under these circumstances the Government thought it desirable that a committea should forthwith be appointed to inquire into the circumstance1 under which all attempt was made to serve the summons within the precincts of the House., and forthwith report to the Housa. I will venture to suggest the names of the com- mittee and the terms of reference. I propose that a select committee be appointed to consider the attempted service—I believe it was not an actual service—(no)—attempted service—(an hon. member, Alleged other cries of "No")—the alleged attempted service of a summons upon Mr Sheehy, member for South Galway, in the outer lobby of this House. (Hear, hear.) The names I would suggest for the com- mittee are Sir W. Harcourt, Mr J. Morley, Sir C. Russell. Mr Parneli, Mr Secretary Matthews, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir E. Clarke, the Solicitor-General for Ireland, and Sir Matthew White Rulley. The SPEAKER read the terms of the motion, and several members objected to the word "alleged." Mr W. H. SMITH amended his motion, omitting the word. Mr DILLON Before tho question i3 put allow me to say that the reference is dangerously narrow. (Hear, hear.) The outrage did not consist alone in the attempted service. The outrage consisted in the fact that an Irish police constable has had the audacity to send in a card as a visitor to a member of this House, and decoyed him out from his duties with deliberate intention of service a summons. (Hear, hear.) What we contend,and what wu and our friends understand, is that the circumstances depart very little from an actual walking into the House and serving a summons on a member. (Hear.) Mr SKiTON: How soon will the committee sit ? (Several voices "Tomorrow.") It is necessary that instant and unequivocal action should be taken. (Hear.) The goverumeut of Ireland is administered by persons who delight in personal indignities. (Oh, oh, and hear, hear.) I need scarcely remind the House that not only was the hon. member for South Gaiway to be served with a summons, but proceedings arc pending againdt five other members. (Hear, hear.) We want to know what action is about to ba taken to-night. Is Mr Jeremiah Suliivan and his 11,000 fellows to be admonished that a breach of privilege bas been committed tbal; must not be repeated? (Hear, hear.) I beg the House to note the policy pursued towards Irish members-— the policy of aggression. (Hear, hear.) There was a time, not long ago, when Irish members were allowed to return to Ireland before being summoned. There was a time, a little later, when at least a member was allowed to go outside the precincts of the House. But now it appears it is not, enough that members who, by reason of their being such, are deliberately selected for insult by every creature of the Irish Government —(oh, oh, and hear, hear)-it is not enough that we should have to pass to and from our duties iu this House through groups and ranks of pimps and spies while discharging the duties of the paople who sent lW here, but we are to be deliberately molested and insulted by tha creatures of the Government. (Hear, hesr.) I say this matter admits of no delay. If the committee sits forthwith I am satisfied, but either that should be done or Jeremiah Sullivan should he at once brought to the bar of the House and admonished. (H«:<r, hear.) Mr W. H. SMITH: Undoubtedly it is the intention of the Government that the committer should sit forthwith. We are as fuliy sensible as any member of the House that the question should be dealt with without any delay, and 90 I hope the committee will sit to-morrow. (Cries of "o, novy.") [Mr W. H. Smith exchanged a word or two with the clerk at the tabic, and proceeded.] There are :precedeat.s as well as the facts of the case to be examined. However strong the indignation cf hon. gentlemen may be, it. is most desirable that wa should proceed with care into all the facts that the circumstances require. To sit to-night would, I think, be to t"kt3 a course absulutely u¡¡precp.dent,,< (" No," and "Make a precedent,") We desire to place 110 obstacle in the way of a complete examination of all the facts of every kind, and it will be only consistent with the reputation of the House, as well as all its members, that the subject should be examined immediately, exhaustively, aud in a judicial spirit. (Hnar, hear.) Mr SKXTON Wilt the constable be deta;ned ? Mr BALFOUR He will be subject to the order of the committee. Sir W. HAIWOURT: There is another question to be answered. The Chief Secretary for Ireland is waiting to have six or seven members arrested. Are constables waiting round the House for thsse Irish gentlemen to put in an appearance? (Hear, hear.) I want to know what orders have been g-i..e. on this point. This question cannot wait uni tj-marrow. I venture to make a suggestion. No uoubt the right hou. gentleman will accept the I addition of tllA words, "and the circumstances attending "he attempted service." Mr W. H. SMITH Certainly. Sir W. HARCOURT- That is a matter of form. The other is a matter of substance. We should have an assurance that there will be no further action to-night against the six other members. Mr COUKTNKY (Ciiairirtau of Committee); We must all be satisfied with the extreme gravity of the occasion, and sensible that the circumstances should be enquired into with a judical temper, and at the same time without delay. There are, certainly, precedents for committees sitting forth- with for instance, though it is only formal work, a committee is appointed to consider the terms of the reply to the Royal speech, and reappears before the sitting close?. Lst me throw out a suggestion worth adopting—that, the committee should be appointed, and retire forthwith. They could probably have beforG them the hon. member for South Galway and tho constable, aud could recsive statements on both sides, and if they thought it desirable they might then adjourn after considering what steps they should take to- morrow. Mr ILLINGWOKTH We are not yet under Castle rule, and it does not become hon. members to boycott a member who desires to exercise tho I freedom of debate. (Oh, oh, and Agreed.") We ought to have the assurance asked fur from the Chirtt Secretary that here, at least, we should have something like the ancient security for members. (Hear, hear.) Mr BALFOUR I have told the already that tho whole matter C'twe before me only in the last tew minutes, and I have been unable to enquire into the exact relation of the execution to whoever has the administration of the jaw in this matter but I caunot conceive anything that would really tend to produce that want of tecu- rily. 1 absolutely decline, without consideration, without taking advice from those competent to give it, to lay down categorically what are or what are not the powers of the executive, or give an engagement to exercise powers I do not possess. Sir G. TREVKLYAN I think this affair has a slightly broader aspect. This police constable appears to have done a very crude and a very I brutal act which shocks the House, and will shock everyone who reads of But I conceive that is not the important question which underlies it. The, important question is whether members of this House shall be able to go about their parliamentary duties with security that they shall not be arrested in a manner equally dangerous to their independence as members and an outrage 011 the dignity of the House. I cannot see any difference whatever in regard to either of these two considerations between the actual arrest of members within the precincts of the House and arrest by men waiting outside. The Govern- ment should reply to the appeals made to tbpm more fully tbau tbe Chief Secretary has. We ought not to leave this question until we have takeij, advantage of this great abuse of authority on iho part of a subordiuate, an abuse suggested by the fact that a similar thing was done last year—(hear, hear)—until we got an assurance that the arrest of members while going to and from their duties shall not occur again. (Cheers.) Mr J. LOWTHKR I think the Chief Secretary has given every reasonable assurance in this matter. The Chief Secretary has said he will carefully inquire into bis responsibilities and duties in the matter, and what action it is in the power of the Government to take to prevent the repetition of tips public scandal he will take. I do not see bow we are to Bet up the authority of Parliament against the couris of law. Mr T. P. O'CONNOR I am surprised that the right hon. geutiernan opposite (Mr Lowtber), who has himself been Chiof Secretary for Ireland, should be so ignorant as to suppose the courts of law are responsible for tbe action of tIlls police- man. This proceeding is an executive act, and has nothing whatever to do with the courts of law, unless, indeed, the right hon. gentleman means to assert that the acts of the courts and the acts of the executive are the same thing in Ireland. (Opposition cheers,) I should like to call the attention of the House to another occurrence that has taken place. Just as my hon. friend the member for East Limerick (Mr Finucane) was entering the ¡,.¡Ice yard this evening on his way to the House, he was served with no Jess than six summonses. Everybody knows that this serving of summonses is the repetition of scandalous occurrences that have taken place before. Several members have been arrested before just as they were coming to or leaving their parliamentary duties. I must say that I think the Chief Secretary is couniving at this kind of thing, and tho sooner he gives instructions that the feelings of the House are not to be outraged by this kind of thing the better. (Opposition cheers.) Air JOHN DILLON, who was received with Opposition ciieers, said I'repeat what has just been said by my hon. friend, that the Chief Secretary, and nobody else, has absolute control over this proceeding. (Opposition cheers.) It has nothing whatever to do with the action of the courts of law. I think it is high time for the Irish Secretary to answer the right bon. gentleman the member forBridgeton (Sir George Trevelyan), and give us an assurance that the Irish members coining t,o and going from their places in this House shall not bo insulted by Irish policemen. (Cheers.) Mr T. HEALY I had always supposed until now that every man in this House was in the enjoyment of the Queeu's peace, and on that account I regard this action as an insult to the sovereign. I am glad that this policeman has done this thing. It shows exactly what we have been trying to get into tho beads of Englishmen tha difference t,hr>,t exists in the in which the law is carried out in Ireland as compared with England. Here is a vulgar, ignorant Irish policeman with so little respect for your Parliament that he does not hesitate to outrage the privileges of this House; you condone the action of these men in Ireland, whether they shoot people down or whatever they do, be they right or be they wrong, they are backed up in this House by the Government. (Opposition cheers.) I have not the smallest doubt but that the conduct of this man will meet with the approval of the Chief Secretary for Ireland. I tell the right hon. gentleman that if ho were to exercise a spirit of moderation, it would do much more for him in the way of facilitating the busiuess of this House and the government of Ireland than the spirit which he loves to exhibit on every occasion of hatred and malevolence towards the representatives of the Irish people. (Opposition cheers.) Toe SPEAKER Order, order. I hope I may interfere. I have the fullest desire to promote the privileges of members, but I trust the House will not in any way prejudice this case—(hear, hear)—but will all iw this committee to enquire most fuily into all the circumstances of the case, and do what in their wisdom they think fit with regard to the privileges of members of this House. The question immediately before the House is the appoiutment of the select committee, and the terms of reference to that select committee, (Hear, hear.) Mr A. J. BALFOUB, who was received with Ministerial cheers, said It is only by leave of tha Houe that I can say another word, but since I last spoke I have made inquiries as tohow it came to be that it was au Irisn constable, and not an English policeman, who served this summons. I mention the matter because a great deal has been made of it by hon. gentlemen opposite. Unfortu- nately, it was necessary to proceed agaiust certain members of this House last year. That proceeding was by warrant, and at the request of members of this House themselves that proceeding, which involved arrest, was given up, and proceedings by summons substituted for it. Now, proceedings by a warrant may be carried out by a metropo- litan constable, but proceedings by summons must, as I understand, be carried out by an Irish constable. (Ministerial cheers and Oppo- sition cries of Oh, oh.) Therefore this thing which has been made a matter of complaint by the member for Longford is really the direct consequence of a concession that we made, and gladly made, to the feelings of hon. members opposite. (Oh, oh, and bear, hear.) Then, perhapj, the House will allow me, by way of personal explanation, to repudiate entirely certain expres- sions as to my conduct m this debate. I appeal to every member of the whether the first word I uttered was not my expression of profound regret that any incident of the kind should have hap- pened. (Ministerial cheers.) I followed this up by a pledge as clear, specific, and categorical as it could be made, that if the direction of such affairs does rest with the executive, no such incident shall be repeated. (Ministerial cheers.) I have not exaggerated. My first instinct was to give the pledge in the full and complete terms I have j.'iHt repented to the House. Mr LABOUCHKEK; We be preserved from the concessions ot the right hon. gentlemen, for if we are not, we may go ou from concession to concession until wo have our heads cut off. (Laughter.) What is it we cannot get from the right hon. gentleman ? A clear and specific assurance that this thing will uot happen to- morrow or the day jafter to-morrow, because we will take care of that ourselves, but that it should not happen to-nigot before the committee reports. The committee was then agreed to. Mr .MORLEY: I venture to suggest that the strength and character and authority of tho committee would be much greater if there were two more Irish members upon it. (Cheers.) I tiiarefore beg to move that Mr T. Healy and Mr John Dillon be auded to the committee. (Hear, hear.) Mr W. H. SMITH There will, of course, be no objection add to the hon. gentlemen if they are desirous of serving, but it would also be necessary to strengthen the committee by the addition on two other names. Sir W. HARCOURT: The right hon. gentleman's altogether mistaken. The object of my right bon. friend is to strengthen the committee by putting upon it a larger proportion of Irish members. I don't think this is a matter which is to be regarded as one of an exceptional party vote. (Hear, hear.) It is very desirable that it should not be. Under the circumstances it appears to me that what is wanted is that the Irish members should feel they are having fair play, if possible some- thing more thau fair play, in the consideration of this matter. Mr IJILLON said he was not very desirous of serving on the committee personally. He was quite willing to submit the questiou to a committee of English members provided extreme partisans were excluded. He thought, however, Mr Healy might with advantage be added to the committee. Mr Healy having been added to the committee, Mr W. H. SMITH I now beg to move that Mr Elton b« a ided co to the committee. (Opposition cries of li Haubury, Hanbury.") If it is the wish of the House that the name of the hon. member for Preston be substituted for that of Mr Elton, I have no objection. (Hear, hear.) Mr Hanbury was then added to the committee, and Upon tbe motion of Mr Sexton, it was resolved the committee should sifc forthwith. Mr W, H. SMITH then proposed that the House should resume the committee on the Laud Purcha SO Bill. Mr SEXTON pointed taut that there would be' inconvenience in going on with the bill in the absence of the members appointed on the privilege committee, awl Sir W. HARCOURT and Mr BRADLAUGH con- curred in tho objection. Mr W. H. SMITH impressed upon the committee the inconconvenience of interrupting- business at this period of the session, and remarked that would only sit I for a short tim-j r.n^t evening, to appoint a chairman aud arrange its course of proceeding. Mr DILLON suggested that the committee on bili should be adjourned for an hour. Mr W. H. SMITH was willing that the com- mittee on the bill should be adjourned till 10 o'clock, and then, at h;Uf.p0St eight o'clock, the I sitting was suspeuded accordingly. RESUMPTION OF THE SITTING. Vihen the sitting was resumed the consideration of the Lund Purchase (Ireland) Bill in committee was proceeded with, a.ud the discussion on Mr Parnell's amendment; was continued. After Mr MOLLOY had made some observations in its support, A division was taken, and the amendment was rejected by 154 to 111 majority. 43. ;[LKI"2 SITTING.]















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