Earl Spencer on Home Rule.
The ex-Liberal Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, entertained at a banquet by the Eighty Club, during a speech, said: They had had lately events of great political importance. For months their mouths have been sealed on a matter which was uppermost in their hearts. But their lips were now no longer sealed. They might talk now of forged letters—and his most pleasing duty that night was most heartily to congratulate him who for so long and so publicly had been subjected to bitter calumnies. (At this point the guests rose in their places and cheered Mr Parnell.) Earl Spencer, continuing, said Mr Parnell had been subjected to attacks which were unsurpassed in wickedness by any made on e.ny other man. They had no condemnation too strong for those who had so lightly brought these charges against him. They did not know yet what great issues might come from this affair. They had at the proper time to see that all those who had assisted in that attack might be brought to book. It would be the duty, he thought, of the Liberal party to see how far the Government had been concerned in the matter. He would like to ask whether they could disassociate themselves from ' Tho Times,' or whether they were not intimate allies of that paper ? How was it that members of the constabulary filled the Law Courts ? How was it that they heard of resident magistrates coming over and helping to rehearse witnesses in this case ? These gentlemen were paid by the Government for the whole of their time. How was it that ' The Times' had got hold of most confidential documents—documents which ought only to be seen by one or two members of the Government ? How could they have known of the existence of these documents without the closest allianco with the Government? How could they have obtained the evidence of Major Le Caron, whose name was altogether unknown to Sir William Harcourt? Did they subpeena Major Le Caron after consultation with the Government ? Tho Government contended that things were improving in Ireland, but were they so satisfactory as the Government said 1 In that country the tried and trusted representatives of the people were imprisoned and treated like criminals for their speeches and writings. The people of Ireland bitterly resented the treatment of these gentlemen, and he believed it was bitterly resented by the mass of the people of this country. He maintained that they wanted to go deeper than any Coercion Act would go in order to remedy the evils in Ireland. He might be told he had administered a Coercion Act, and therefore should not attack the Government for pursuing a similar course. But he denied that they (the Liberals) administered it in the same spirit as the present Government, and he was not ashamed to Say that he now saw the coercion policy he administered was wrong. It was not true to say that they had no policy, and he believed that Mr Gladstone's Bill, in spirit if not in detajl, would again be proposed in
Parliament. He wasas convinced as anyone that the social condition of Ireland was not satisfactory. Crime might be put down for a time, but national sentiment could not be choked. The policy of the Tories was for a time, but theirs (the Liberals') was enduring, and he was convinced that the Liberal party had never fought for a nobler cause than that of Home Rule for Ireland.
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Earl Spencer on Home Rule., Evening Star, Issue 7911, 20 May 1889
Earl Spencer on Home Rule. Evening Star, Issue 7911, 20 May 1889
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